Robin Sylvester

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Robin Sylvester
Sylvester in 2009
Sylvester in 2009
Background information
Born1950 (1950)
Hampstead, London, England
Died29 October 2022(2022-10-29) (aged 71–72)
Occupation(s)Bassist, sound engineer
Years activeLate 1960s–2022

Robin Sylvester (1950 – 29 October 2022) was an English musician who was best known as a member of the American band RatDog. Although primarily a bass player, he played several instruments, including the guitar and keyboards, and did extensive arranging.[1]

Sylvester began his professional music career with the a cappella London Boy Singers chorus in the 1960s, and as a sound engineer in 1969.[2] Working as an assistant at Abbey Road Studios when The Beatles recorded their eponymous album, he was inspired by Paul McCartney to take up the bass guitar. He also used early synthesisers while playing with and producing Byzantium in 1971. While touring with Dana Gillespie, he moved to the United States in 1974. Clive Davis signed his folk-rock band The Movies to Arista Records; the band played around New York and Los Angeles in the late 1970s.[2] Then, as a session musician, he worked alongside Steve Douglas, backing the Beach Boys and Ry Cooder. He also played in live acts led by Marty Balin, Mary Wells, The Shirelles, The Coasters, The Drifters, Billy Preston, Christine McVie, Steve Seskin, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Freddy Fender, Del Shannon, and Vince Welnick's Missing Man Formation.[2][3][4]

In 2003, he replaced Rob Wasserman as RatDog's bass player. He played his first show on 4 March 2003.

Ongoing health problems and death[edit]

Sylvester missed RatDog's 2010 shows in Jamaica due to health concerns; Wasserman substituted. In February 2012, it was reported that Sylvester was awaiting a kidney transplant.[citation needed]

Sylvester continued to play occasional shows with jam band alumni like Stu Allen, Ghosts of Electricity, Melvin Seals and JGB, David Nelson & Friends, Jemimah Puddleduck, and the Rubber Souldiers.[5][6][7][8]

Sylvester's death was announced on 29 October by his RatDog bandmate Mark Karan and later confirmed by Relix.[9]


  1. ^ Robin Sylvester credits at Allmusic
  2. ^ a b c "Grateful Dead The Education of Robin Sylvester".
  3. ^ "R A T D O G".
  4. ^ Adam Perry interviews Robin Sylvester for the Boulder Weekly, 27 August 2009
  5. ^ "Setlist and personnel from Halloween 2009 Ghosts of Electricity show".
  6. ^ "2005 "Comes a Time" tribute show for Jerry Garcia".
  7. ^ "Grateful Dead Family Sidemen to Play the Music of Bob Dylan". 3 February 2011.
  8. ^ "List of jam band shows containing four by Sylvester".
  9. ^ "RatDog Bassist Robin Sylvester: 1950-2022". Jambands. 30 October 2022. Retrieved 30 October 2022.

External Links[edit]