Dog's Life - On the Road and In the Mood

report filed 11/23/00 - 7:28 am EDT - The holiday season kicked off a little early for the hardworking Anytime/Anywhere production crew last weekend, with an action packed road trip from Brooklyn to Poughkeepsie. The assignment: interview Bob Weir and members of Ratdog for an upcoming feature article.

Aside from some tricky lighting conditions which resulted in most of our photos suffering varying degrees of overexposure, things went well. Got to spend about a half hour with Weir and found him easy to chat with. Good sense of humor and very thoughtful. Our conversation focused primarily on his band Ratdog, how and why it started, the group's evolution through a number of lineup changes and an ever expanding repertoire of songs, all the way up to the band's current buzz, Evening Moods, Ratdog's brand new CD.

Did the interview after sound check, and was invited to stick around for some backstage food and drink. Soon it was show time. The Persuasions, a five voice accapella group opened the show with stunning versions of several Dead tunes, including a goosebump generating performance of the relatively obscure, "Must've Been the Roses," and an extremely fun romp through the JGB blues rocker, "Might As Well."

The Persuasion's vocal stylings shine a new light, and different brand of spirituality on the Dead's material. In fact, the stylistic juxtaposition works so well, the Persuasions have released a new album, Might As Well, the Persuasions Sing Grateful Dead, which consists entirely of Grateful Dead songs. Good stuff...

After a short intermission, Ratdog took the stage and caught their groove early. Whether it was due to following the Persuasions vocal mastery, or just that he's 'in the zone,' Weir's voice was strong from the getgo.

The band was in top form as well, putting on a spirited show that featured several outstanding versions of Dead tunes and Ratdog originals. A few of the highlights: a raucous, "I Need A Miracle" that absolutely rocked the house, a well played "China Cat > I Know You Rider" segue with nice dynamics throughout, and a super hot "Gloria" encore that sent the crowd home with a smile.

This was a very solid show, and one of the best performances from Ratdog I've seen over the years! Afterwards, I had the pleasure of sitting down with bassist Rob Wasserman and guitar player Mark Karan to get their input on the Ratdog story. Many thanks to all the guys in the band, as well as Chuck Randle, Dennis McNally, and the rest of the Ratdog family for the mighty fine hospitality...

Other than the Ratdog show, we've been keeping the live music down to a minimum here at Anytime/Anywhere Studios. Been focused on the Relix book and have been making steady progress on that front. It's a slow grind though. Got all the research, outlines and other misc. hooweenuwee already in the can. The next step is to land a publishing deal, and then bang the bad boy out...

Haven't been completely neglecting the magazine stuff though. Got a couple of real nice features in the current issue of Relix, one on Mecca Bodega, an up and coming band from New York with a strong percussion influence, the other shines the journalistic spotlight on one of our all time favorites, the David Nelson Band. Also have several concert reviews in there...

Another recent word product you won't find here is our current Points On A Line column, Tasty Scoop - Sweet tone and swirling melodic surprises are key ingredients connecting Ben(ny) and Jerry’s two seemingly unrelated musical flavors, which is posted exclusively at

Before you go bouncing thru cyberspace over to, or down the block to the nearest book or music superstore to pick up the current Relix, we do have a few items posted right here for your reading pleasure:

-Lucky Swing - In search of the perfect place to watch the big game, our traveling music scribe turns a nifty, post season, post-bop double play, which is our current column for the Las Vegas Weekly.

-Punch Clockers, Mystic Poets, and the Key to Successful Songwriting, our current column for the Las Vegas Songwriter's Association newsletter, and,

-Now We're Swingin' - Featuring a score written by the performance itself, post season baseball is a symphony of athleticism, last month's Point's on a Line column.

Let's see, what else... oh yeah - we've added a few new links. And although we haven't been doing any CD reviews in recent weeks, there has been some high grade, new music floating around lately. Here's a couple of top notch albums that standout from the crowd of new releases:

They Live, from Wise Monkey Orchestra is an exceptional record from Ocean Beach's six headed rhythm monster, full of high energy kinetic soul, sultry female vocals, horn driven funk, and scorching guitar riffs.

Geode, a new studio effort from The Recipe is an equally compelling album. Lots of great sing-a-long songs and rockin' acoustical rhythms from the West Virginia heart of America's jam nation.

Both of these CDs are available through the Home Grown Music Network.

Also want to also give the thumbs up to Alternate Realities, an edgy, instrumental outfit based out of San Diego. AR has released, Another State Of Mind..., a self-produced CD of moody, at times haunting, post rock soundscapes worth checking out. Visit Alternate Realities website for more information.

So there ya have it. At least for the now. Best wishes to everyone as the holiday season is now officially underway. Yes, our gratefully deadicated production crew is gonna feast, gobble a holiday bird or two, and exercise whatever recreational options they deem appropriate, but after the table's been cleared, and the football games are over, it's back to the word factory for the big, year end push...

We've got several interesting projects in the works. If all goes well, we'll be able to share them with you at some point in the next few weeks, when our adventure in music journalism continues...

'Figglethorp's Moon' - 2000 (c)