Former Grateful Dead rhythm guitarist Bob Weir and his band, RatDog, have canceled all of their upcoming tour dates, citing unnamed “circumstances” as the reason, according to a Facebook post by Weir’s other group, Furthur. The news affects his U.S. tour, which was set to begin in Boston this week, and an appearance in Jamaica that was set for January 2015.
“I love the guy and wish nothing but good health,” Weir’s former manager John Scher tells Rolling Stone. “He’s an extremely talented and very underrated musician. He’s an important guy. Bobby’s been having health problems for a while and now there are plenty of people who support him and want to help him get the care he needs.”
Ratdog played a run of U.S. shows earlier this year and, prior to that, Weir played a run of dates with Furthur. But the new cancellations recall April of 2013, when the guitarist had to be helped offstage during a Furthur concert in Port Chester, New York after he fell onstage while playing the Grateful Dead song “Unbroken Chain.” At the time, he finished out the song by playing in a chair before departing the stage altogether.
The next month, Furthur canceled their appearance at the inaugural BottleRock Napa Valley concert. A statement at the time reported that Weir would be “unable to perform in any capacity for the next several weeks.”
Earlier this year, Weir reported that he was keeping busy by working on a project with Josh Ritter and the Yellowbirds’ Josh Kaufman. “We’re going towards a real cowboy aesthetic and we’re going to see where that takes us,” he told Rolling Stone. “We’ve been writing songs, with the idea of making a record.” He also mentioned that he was working on a symphony project, for which he’s re-orchestrating Grateful Dead songs to be played in an orchestral setting, as well as an opera starring Miranda Jones that he’s “sort of producing.”
Weir also said he was excited to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grateful Dead in 2015. But he also recognized the logistics involved with getting a celebration together. “We have to do something commemorative,” he said. “I think we owe it to the fans, we owe it to the songs, we owe it to ourselves. If there are issues we have to get past, I think that we owe it to ourselves to man up and get past them. If there are hatchets to be buried, then let’s get to work.”