Rob Stoner

Rob Stoner_opt.jpg

He is the cat who ensured that Don McLean’s Chevy made it to the levee despite the fact that the aforementioned embankment lacked sufficient water levels!

A dexterous player, to my ears, Rob Stoner revolutionized the folk-rock genre as Bob Dylan’s most adventurous bassist and musical director during the bard's legendary Rolling Thunder Revue era.  Stoner intuitively interlaced Dylan’s rudimentary chord progressions with modal basslines rendered with a rock feel. As such, Bob’s rotating cast of musicians – including rock guitar virtuoso Mick Ronson – had a firm foundation on which to improvise as evidenced by the Revue’s incendiary canon. Rob also shined on Roger McGuinn’s masterpiece Cardiff Rose (1976) which was produced by the ex-Spider.

An accomplished singer, composer, guitarist, and educator, Stoner’s live and studio resume is exhaustive. He has contributed to scores of classic albums including releases by Dylan (Desire/1976 , Hard Rain/1976, At Budokan/1979, Bootleg Series Volume 5/ 2002); Don McLean (American Pie/1971); Kinky Friedman (Lasso from El Paso/ 1976), Robert Gordon (Fresh Fish Special / 1978, Rock Billy Boogie / 1979, Bad Boy/1980, Too Fast To Live…/1982)); and  Link Wray (Bullshot/1979); among many others. Stoner also anchored the short-lived Topaz with guitarist Billy Cross and Jasper Hutchison, and released a under-appreciated solo album Patriotic Duty (1980).

I had the privilege of meeting Rob and appearing on the same bill at the Bowery Ballroom NYC in the early ‘00s. He rendered a blistering bass solo with his signature Fender Precision behind his neck ala Hendrix – how was I supposed to follow that?