Bob Weston (guitarist)

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Bob Weston
JonMoss2011.jpg
Bob Weston in 2011 with Culture Clubs Jon Moss
Background information
Birth name Robert Joseph Weston
Born (1947-11-01)1 November 1947
Plymouth, Devon, England
Died 3 January 2012(2012-01-03) (aged 64)
Brent Cross, London, England
Genres Blues/Rock/Pop
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1967–2012
Associated acts Fleetwood Mac (1972–73)
Website bobweston.co.uk

Robert Joseph Weston (1 November 1947 – circa 3 January 2012) was a British pop music guitarist, who was a member of the rock band Fleetwood Mac in the early 1970s. He also recorded and performed with a number of other musicians, including Graham Bond, Long John Baldry, Murray Head, Sandy Denny and Danny Kirwan.

Early life and career[edit]

Weston was born in Plymouth in the county of Devon on 1 November 1947, to a Royal Navy service family.[1] In his childhood he learned to play the violin, switching to the guitar at the age of 12, being influenced by the music of American blues artists such as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters.[2]

Moving to London from Devon in the mid-1960s (he retained a soft West Country burr to his voice for the rest of his life), in 1967 he became the lead-guitarist with a mod-beat band called The Kinetic, which was based at the time in Paris, playing as a support act to Jimi Hendrix and Chuck Berry gigs in France. The band signed to the French label Disques Vogue and released into the French market a long-player entitled Live Your Life (1967), with Weston being the band's principal song-writer,[3] and two E.P.'s, Live Your Life (1967),[4] and Suddenly Tomorrow (1967).[5] The Suddenly Tomorrow E.P. drew notices in the British music press to the act as having commercial potential, but no more recordings appeared, and it disbanded within a couple of years of its formation.[6][7]

After The Kinetic had broken up, having returned to London from Paris, in April 1968 Weston joined the British blues heavy rock band Black Cat Bones, replacing Paul Kossoff as its lead-guitarist, and played with it until quitting the act at the end of the year.[8] In the late 1960s -early 1970s Weston worked as a guitar for hire, performing and recording with a number of acts of the then in vogue British blues movement, including Graham Bond and Long John Baldry, and touring in continental Europe and America.[1] In 1971 he was performing with the Southern Rock act 'Ashman Reynolds' as its lead guitarist,[9] song-writing and playing on its long-player release Stop Off (1972).[10][11]

Fleetwood Mac[edit]

In 1972 Weston was resident in Ealing in West London, when he joined the British blues rock band Fleetwood Mac as its co-lead guitarist alongside Bob Welch, as a replacement for the recently dropped Danny Kirwan. The band was aware of Weston's talent having seen him performing when Long John Baldry had regularly shared the same billing at venues with Fleetwood Mac, and when the guitar vacancy had arrived in Fleetwood Mac's line-up Weston was approached by the band with the offer of joining, which he agreed to in September.[12]

In January 1973 Fleetwood Mac recorded the long-player Penguin, Weston playing the record's distinctive slide guitar on the song "Remember Me", and its harmonica and banjo tracks. He also sang a duet with Christine McVie's vocal on the song "Did You Ever Love Me", and wrote the instrumental that closed the album, titled "Caught in the Rain".[13] Later in 1973 the band recorded its next album titled Mystery to Me. Weston contributed more distinctive guitar work, such as the slide intro on the song "Why", and co-wrote the song "Forever" with Welch and John McVie. In retrospect, Weston felt that his contribution to the band's work in this period did not receive the formal recognition that it deserved.[14]

During a tour of the United States of America in 1973, when the band were beginning to gel particularly well in its live performances,[15] it emerged that Weston had started a clandestine romantic relationship with Mick Fleetwood's wife, Jenny Boyd.[1][16] Fleetwood had got on well before this with Weston, and tried to carry on with the arranged live performance schedule due to the legal and financial penalties that would be incurred by the band for a cancelled tour, but after a gig at Lincoln, Nebraska in October he informed the band in Weston's absence that he was no longer willing to work with him. In consequence the band collectively agreed to drop Weston from the line-up, Weston being told about the decision by the act's tour manager, with the rest of the tour being abandoned by the remaining members.[14] (It was this situation which gave rise to the "Bogus Fleetwood Mac" saga in which its manager Clifford Davis hired a new group of musicians, passed them off as Fleetwood Mac, and sent them out to complete the tour).[17]

Weston's involvement in the band had an effect beyond purely the musical, as the spin into which his relationship with Boyd had put it contributed to Bob Welch's departure from its line-up in 1974. This led to a vacancy filled by Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks, who brought to the band a more mainstream rock sound, which would in the late 1970s-1980s lead to its greater popularity and commercial success.[18]

Later career[edit]

On his return to London in late 1973 from the aborted Fleetwood Mac tour, Weston was approached by George Harrison about a possible collaboration together,[19] but this did not develop into anything of a practical nature. Weston went on to record and tour in Europe and North America with Murray Head, playing on his long-player Say It Ain't So (1975). In July 1975 he joined a newly formed band called the Steve Marriott All Stars, but when Marriott opted to play lead guitar himself with the act Weston departed in December of the same year,[14] and for the remainder of his career worked primarily as a solo artist or as a session musician.

In 1979 he wrote and recorded the blues rock long-player Nightlight (1980), which was produced by Alan Callan at Basing Street Studios and at Roundhouse Studio in London, and commercially released through the French record label AZ International.[20] However, with popular taste in music having moved on from the early 1970s, and British blues rock having become a small uncommercial niche market, on release the record failed to enter the charts. A single release from the album of the song "Silver Arrow" (1980) also failed to sell well enough to chart.[21]

In 1980 he recorded another blues-rock album titled Studio Picks (1981) at Eel Pie Studios,[22] produced again by Alan Callan, featuring his own material, and the song-writing of Phil Everly. Mick Fleetwood played drums on one of the record's songs, the first time that he and Weston had worked together since the acrimony of 1973. The record was again commercially released by AZ International, but like Nightlight (1980) it also failed to enter the United Kingdom albums chart, and Weston's contract with the label was subsequently dropped.[23] In the mid-1980's Weston made a foray into mainstream pop music with a single entitled Desire (1985), released by the French record company Underdog Records, but it also failed to chart and was his last solo commercial record.[24]

With a solo artist career having commercially failed to take-off, in the early 1980s Weston returned to working as a professional session musician, playing live on tour with a variety of acts, working in London studios, and intermittently in Europe and America. He played on the Dick Morrissey Souliloquy (1986) jazz long-player, writing one of its songs, and also worked in television music production,[25][26] being involved with the soundtrack for the French cinema film Diesel (1985), and acting as the musical director for the production of the British television film Palmer (1991).[27][28]

In the 1990's he retired from professional music for several years,[29] returning to it at the end of the decade with the release a self-produced album without a commercial contract entitled There's a Heaven (1999), which was engineered at 'Studio 125' in Burgess Hill.[30]

In January 2008 Weston announced that he had started working on recording some new material at Markant Studios in the Netherlands.[31] While working there he met Frank Baijens, a Dutch singer-songwriter who was recording his album Odd Man Out at the studio at the same time, and Weston played on one of the album's songs entitled "Where the Heart Belongs".[32]

In his last years Weston was resident in North-West London, occasionally playing in impromptu sessions at The Duke of Hamilton public house and gigging with a local band entitled 'Mad Dog Bites'.[33][34]

Death[edit]

Weston, who lived alone in his final years, was found dead in his flat by police officers in Brent Cross in London on 3 January 2012, who had gained entry to the property after his friends had reported concerns over not hearing from him unexpectedly for several days.[35][36] He was reported to have died on an unknown date from the effects of a gastrointestinal haemorrhage caused by cirrhosis.[37] He was 64 years old.[1][38]

Discography[edit]

Fleetwood Mac[edit]

Solo albums[edit]

  • Night Light (AZ International, 1980)
  • Studio Picks (AZ International, 1981)
  • There's a Heaven (Private pressing, 1999)

Solo 7" Singles[edit]

  • Silver Arrow (AZ International, 1980)
  • Desire (Underdog Records, 1985)

12" Singles/E.P.'s with The Kinetic[edit]

  • Live Your Life (Disques Vogue, 1967)
  • Suddenly Tomorrow (Disques Vogue, 1967)

Other long-players featuring Bob Weston[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Bob Weston". Telegraph. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Obituary for Weston, 'The Independent', 10 January 2012. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/bob-weston-early-70s-guitarist-with-fleetwood-mac-6287377.html
  3. ^ History of 'The Kinetic', 'Rockasteria' website (2018). http://rockasteria.blogspot.com/2013/07/the-kinetic-suddenly-tomorrow-ep-live.html
  4. ^ Entry for 'Live Your Life' E.P. on '45 Cat' website, a French historic records catalogue (2018). http://www.45cat.com/record/epl8544
  5. ^ Entry in 'Discogs' online database for 'Suddenly Tomorrow' E.P. https://www.discogs.com/The-Kinetic-Suddenly-Tomorrow/release/6322681
  6. ^ The Kinetic performing 'Suddenly Tomorrow', unidentified television show (1967/68). Published on Youtube 25 September 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pHEKUlaCdM
  7. ^ The Kinetic performing 'Live Your Life', unidentified television show (1967), published on Youtube 2 December 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goQ09ZJNAdc
  8. ^ Career profile of Weston, 'The Musicians' Olympus' website (2018). https://musiciansolympus.blogspot.com/2012/01/bobweston-guitar.html
  9. ^ Weston performing 'Taking Off' with 'Ashman Reynolds' on Beat-Club in 1971. Published on Youtube 7 May 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N2bHhlavflo
  10. ^ Entry for 'Stop Off' L.P., 'Fleetwood Mac.net' website. http://www.fleetwoodmac.net/discog/discog.php?pid=584
  11. ^ Entry in 'Discogs' catalogue for 'Stop Off' L.P. https://www.discogs.com/Ashman-Reynolds-Stop-Off/release/2008705
  12. ^ Online Q.& A. session with Weston, 6-19 December 1999. http://www.fleetwoodmac.net/penguin/qa/bobweston_qa1.htm
  13. ^ 'Fleetwood Mac: Behind the Mask', by Bob Brunning (Pub. Hodder & Stoughton, 1990).
  14. ^ a b c The Penguin Q&A with Bob Weston, December 6–19, 1999
  15. ^ Fleetwood Mac in concert playing 'Believe Me', 1973. Published on Youtube 7 January 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cMQZnfRcQiE
  16. ^ 'Fleetwood Mac: Behind the Mask', by Bob Brunning (Pub. Hodder & Stoughton, 1990).
  17. ^ 'Fleetwood Mac: Behind the Mask', by Bob Brunning (Pub. Hodder & Stoughton, 1990).
  18. ^ 'Fleetwood Mac: Behind the Mask', by Bob Brunning (Pub. Hodder & Stoughton, 1990).
  19. ^ Obituary for Weston, 'The Guardian', 8 January 2012.
  20. ^ Entry for 'Nightlight' (1980) on 'Fleetwood Mac.net' website. http://discog.fleetwoodmac.net/discog.php?pid=116
  21. ^ Entry for "Silver Arrow" single in 'Discogs' online database. https://www.discogs.com/Bob-Weston-Silver-Arrow-Hello-Goodbye/release/6954645
  22. ^ Entry in Discogs for 'Studio Picks'. https://www.discogs.com/Bob-Weston-Studio-Picks/release/7059045
  23. ^ Entry for 'Studio Picks' (1981) on 'Fleetwood Mac.net' website. http://discog.fleetwoodmac.net/discog.php?pid=117
  24. ^ Entry for 'Desire' (1985) in Discogs database. https://www.discogs.com/Bob-Weston-Desire/release/10774982
  25. ^ Obituary for Weston. 'The Independent', 10 January 2012.
  26. ^ Obituary for Weston, 'The Guardian', 8 January 2012. https://www.theguardian.com/music/2012/jan/08/bob-weston
  27. ^ "Online Q.& A. session with Weston, 6-19 December 1999. http://www.fleetwoodmac.net/penguin/qa/bobweston_qa1.htm
  28. ^ Entry for 'Palmer' (1991) in IMDb. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1365495/fullcredits
  29. ^ Online Q.& A. with Weston, 6-19 December 1999. http://www.fleetwoodmac.net/penguin/qa/bobweston_qa1.htm
  30. ^ Entry for 'There's a Heaven' on 'Fleetwood Mac.net' website. http://discog.fleetwoodmac.net/discog.php?pid=121
  31. ^ "Official Home Site". Bob Weston. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  32. ^ "Frank Baijens – ODD MAN OUT". Frankbaijens.nl. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  33. ^ Film of Weston at the Duke of Hamilton pub in 2010, 'Something's in the Air by Bob Weston & Friends', published on Youtube 6 January 2012. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VH-BXKUbu5I
  34. ^ 'Mad Dog Bites' in performance at the Hampstead Christmas Festival, 2011. Published on Youtube 1 December 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xoyBcvqQY8k
  35. ^ "Fleetwood Mac star dies | Showbiz | News | Daily Express". Express.co.uk. 6 January 2012. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  36. ^ Career profile of Bob Weston, 'Fleetwood Mac.net' website (2018). http://www.fleetwoodmac.net/fwm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=64&Itemid=35
  37. ^ 'Ex-Fleetwood Mac guitarist dies', 'Variety', 6 January 2012. https://variety.com/2012/music/news/ex-fleetwood-mac-guitarist-bob-weston-dies-1118048238/
  38. ^ "Bob Weston 1947–2012". Bob Weston official website. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 

External links[edit]