Bassist Rob Wasserman, famous for his work with Bob Weir in Ratdog, was once a member of an early version of Oingo Boingo.
"It was called the Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo back then," Wasserman said during a phone interview from San Mateo, Wash. "I was in it for a while. I was recruited to play the upright, electric bass. We were suppose to go to Broadway and do some things, because back then the band was more a theater performance. But nothing was going for us, so I quit."Rob Wasserman and his longtime compadre Weir will bring Ratdog back to Salt Lake City - or, more accurately, West Valley City, in the E Center, Sept. 14. The music will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale at all Smith'sTix outlets or the E Center box office.
"After I quit, I was feeling pretty disillusioned," said Grammy-winner Wasserman. "`I moved back to California and sat down to think of what I was supposed to do."
Wasserman decided to do solo work. "Back then, the bass wasn't an instrument you did solo records with. I made up my mind to also record the records live, with no overdubs."
That way of thinking eventually lead the bass man to record the Grammy Award-winning album "Duets" in 1988.
Artists like Bobby McFerrin and Ricki Lee Jones had heard Wasserman's music and were interested in being a part of it.
Through that album, Weir, who was looking for a side project from the Grateful Dead at the time, heard it and contacted Wasserman. "We hit it off and decided to do some music. We were first an acoustic duo, but things evolved and now we're up to a six-piece."
The last time the band moseyed into town was 1995. The lineup then consisted of keyboardist Vince Welnick, drummer Jay Lane, mouth harpist Matthew Kelly, Wasserman and Weir. But this time, Kelly won't be joining the band. "He's retiring from the road. And we've got a new group."
Saxophonist Dave Ellis joined the band and Jeff Chimenti replaced Welnick. The band is still auditioning for another guitarist.
"We will have a new guitarist when we make it to Utah," Wasserman said. "But I can't tell you who it is, yet. You'll just have to wait and see."