Jay Lane's roles on drums have earned him a place in San Francisco's music history. He started performing in the Bay Area in the early 1980s in a band called Ice Age that featured childhood friend and current Spearhead guitarist Dave Shul. Another childhood friend, saxophonist Dave Ellis, got Lane his next gig with a local ska band, The Uptones, which he played with for two years before joining another popular Bay Area group, The Freaky Executives, in 1985.
After four years of steady gigging and a huge record deal with Warner Brothers that eventually was shelved, Lane met Les Claypool in the halls of the rehearsal space the bands shared. Claypool invited Lane to join his group, Primus, and they played together for about eight months—including a recording session for the Primus cassette "Sausage"—until Claypool was ready to hit the road and Lane needed to bow out due to prior commitments to The Freaky Executives.
Shortly thereafter, Lane co-founded the pioneering hip hop/jazz group Alphabet Soup with saxophonist Kenny Brooks, New York keyboardist Dred Scott, and rappers Chris Burger (The Mo'fessionals) and Zachariah Mose. Alphabet Soup recorded two albums—1994's Layin' Low in the Cut and 1996's Strivin'—and shot a video that featured regularly on BET.
During those years Lane reunited with old friends—seven-string guitarist Charlie Hunter and sax man Dave Ellis—to form the original Charlie Hunter Trio. The trio recorded two albums, the first on Claypool's Prawn Song label and the second—Bing Bing Bing!—on Blue Note records.
During Lane's tenure with the Charlie Hunter Trio, Lane started playing with Grateful Dead guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir and bassist Rob Wasserman in a side project that would eventually become Bob Weir and RatDog. Also during this time, Les Claypool reunited with Lane and Primus' original guitarist, Todd Huth, to put together a band called Sausage. They recorded an album, Riddles, on Interscope records in 1994, shot a video of the title track that was played on "Beavis and Butthead" several times, and did a tour with the Rollins Band and Helmet that summer.
When it rains it pours! After Jerry Garcia passed in 1995, RatDog began a steady touring band. Playing with a great like Bob Weir gave Lane the opportunity to meet and play with many incomparable musicians, such as the true father of rock and roll, pianist Johnnie Johnson (Johnnie Johnson Trio, which hired a then unknown Chuck Berry). Evening Moods (1999) and Live at Roseland (2001), featuring his work with RatDog, are available through Grateful Dead Records. In addition to performing in nearly every state, much of Europe, and Japan, he has appeared on Austin City Limits, VH1 Classic's All Star Jams, and The Today Show.
In 2002, Lane earned accolades from his peers and fans, winning "Drummer of the Year" at the California Music Awards. His beats are urban, funky, and fluid, and demonstrate the physical power and stamina he's built over a lifetime on the drums.
In 2005, Lane toured with both Les Claypool's Fancy Band (Skerik, Mike Dillon, Gabby La La) and Bob Weir & RatDog; layed down beats in his home studio; and played Bay Area shows with Alphabet Soup between tours.
In 2006, founding Soup rappers Zach Mose and Chris Burger formed a new group with Soup rapper Mike Blake and Mo'fessionals rapper Kingpin Rowski called The Band Of Brotherz, which continues the pioneering of hip hop with more of a reggae/world influence. They recorded a single, Down in Babylon, for a Katrina benefit CD that spawned a slew of great songs produced by Zach from his Golden Baboon Studios. Lane hopped on board right away, and they took it to the club. With a few recruits—Kenny Brooks, Dave Shul, DJ Teeko, Andre Marshall, Jeff Chimenti, and legendary sixe-string bassist Troy Lampkins (all Soup mainstays)—they've performed a few exciting shows. The forthcoming CD features the incredible Gabby La La on sitar, and Sikiru Adepoju (Mickey Hart's Planet Drum) on talking drum! Keep your ears out for 'em...