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Members: JOHN WEIDER

Lead Guitar - 1964-1965

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JOHN WEIDER (left) on a rare appearance in Germany.

John Weider (left) joined Johnny Kidd's Pirates after Mick Green defected to the Dakotas in 1964.

 

John Weider was born on April 21st, 1947 in Shepherds Bush London, and loved music from a very early age.  At the age of seven he started learning the violin at the Royal College of Music and made his first public appearance aged nine on the instrument at the Festival Hall, and left the College after having passed all his exams at the age of 12.  A very talented musician, he mastered violin, organ and piano, and by the following year had learned guitar to a good enough standard that on leaving the Christopher Wren School, Shepherds Bush he went straight into the world of pop, a decision taken because "There was more money in it and a bigger future."  At 14 he played with the Canons, and at 15 was with the Laurie Jay Combo and at 16 had graduated to lead guitar duties with Jet Harris and Tony Meehan.

On his sixteenth birthday his father had given him a gold-plated guitar worth 500 which John would never dare to use onstage, so only utilised it for practise.  Session-work beckoned and among the many jobs that came his way were "Diamonds" for Jet Harris and Tony Meehan, and one for the Rolling Stones' "Not Fade Away", playing one of the rhythm guitars.  In between the sessions he had residences in night-clubs, such as six months at the Tottenham Royal and a year at the Van Gogh Bar in Piccadilly, playing old standards and schmaltzy jazz as part of a trio.  He also spent time as a member of another trio, playing guitar and bass, with a drummer and leader Eddie Richardo on accordion: the group even made a couple of records under the leader's name.

Another band he played in was the Moments alongside future Small Faces Steve Marriott and Jimmy Winston plus Kenny Rowe.  With Marriot's young voice on vocals they recorded a ultra rare single for the American market, a version of the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" on World Artists 1032.  Weider's chunky style of chord chopping and severe string bending was developed in tribute to his hero Mick Green so was dead chuffed to receive an invitation in the summer of 1964 to join the Pirates from no less than the 'Guv'nor' himself.  During mid-season at Blackpool Green had decided to jump ship to the relative affluence of Billy J. Kramer with the Dakotas.  Stuart Taylor of the Tornados helped out while Kidd flew fast down to London to see who was available, and came up trumps with Weider.  The journey back to Blackpool didn't quite end smoothly; turning up just in time for the show was just too late in the eyes of the promoter Larry Parnes, who gave the crew four weeks notice despite the fact there was only seven to go.

John Weider in 1987.

John Weider in 1987.

 

Weider made his debut with the band at Blackpool and made his initial recording in October cutting "Don't Make The Same Mistake As I did", a commercially potential a-side that ended up as the flip to "The Birds And The Bees" in early 1965.  The band toured Hamburg for the month of January but as Weider was only 17 and no-one under 18 was allowed after 10 pm into the St Pauli area (just off the notorious Reeperbahn, where the clubs were located), he could only work two days.  Police patrols would systematically sweep the clubs at 10 o'clock for young musicians and club patrons so his place was taken for the rest of the tour by Barry Hammett of the Primitives, a group that supported Kidd & co. on a previous bill at Ammanford in November '64.

His guitar strings came under extreme pressure on Kidds' next outing "Shakin' All Over '65", probably prompted by Canadians the Guess Who, who made the US Hot 100 with it.  It failed to revive the group's fortunes, and the next session resulted in two great cuts - "I Hate Getting Up In The Morning" and "This Golden Ring" - which between them were potentially a great single - left in the can.  This left the band morale at a low ebb and during another spell back at Blackpool, Weider left the Pirates, replacing Eric Clapton for a short while in John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.  A fresh start came with Jimmy Winston (ex-Small Faces) and the Reflections, playing an original sound they'd dubbed "Pop Jazz".  Their debut on Decca "You Ought To Be Ashamed" came out in Feb 1966.  He spent a fair bit of time in Carnaby Street, and became noted for trying out all the latest Mod gear.  "Sorry, She's Mine" was their second single on June 3rd and like the first disc, it failed to make much impression on the charts despite an appearance on "Ready Steady Go!" to coincide with its release.

JOHN WEIDER (1976 Anchor LP ANCL 2018)

JOHN WEIDER (1976 Anchor LP ANCL 2018)

 

After this Eric Burdon recruited him for his New Animals who enjoyed a series of hits on MGM records including "Good Times", "Monterey" and "San Franciscan Nights".  One in particular, "When I Was Young" showcased Wieder's violin playing.  Eric Burdon noted on the 1968 "Winds Of Change" album that Weider was ".... Thin.  Was born with 95.10 ego loss.  Puts himself through ridiculous physical-endurance tests, i.e. wearing a pair of plimsoles during a whole U.S. tour. (temperatures ranging from 30 below zero to 90 in the shade).  Is completely aware of everything around him, and lives behind a wall of being an idiot and knows not that I have sussed him out.  Has perfect timing... even when he plays guitar".  When Ric Grech left Family and joined supergroup Blind Faith in April 1969 Weider moved in to replace him, and appeared at the Rolling Stones famous Hyde Park Concert in July.  He became a firm fixture on the next few albums, doubling up on bass and violin as Grech had done before him.  The rest of this creative band were Jim King (flute, sax), Rob Townsend (drums), Charlie Whitney (guitar) and Roger Chapman who had "haunting, quivering vocals". 

Weider has continued to work steadily with a vast array of individuals from John Entwistle and Nicky James to Keith West and Roger Morris.  After a brief spell with Brindsley Schwartz he joined Stud in 1971 and later joined Family, whose "quest for world domination never quite got past Leicester Polytechnic...." as well recording as some well-received solo albums.

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