A bucolic childhood spent climbing the moors and tors of Devon doesn’t naturally segue to a life in rock n roll. But when the greatest familial influence on your adolescence also shaped the formative years of popular music, well, things start to make more sense.
The rustic upbringing of young Matt and Theo Weedon was pockmarked by visits of strange, shaggy haired rockers who would stop by to share tales of yore with their Grandfather Bert. At an age too young to understand most of what they heard, the boys would sit at the top of the stairs late at night, eavesdropping on stories told by the likes of George Harrison, Brian May and Jimmy Page. Ignorant to the envious position in which they found themselves and the historical importance of the anecdotes overheard, it was only as they hit their teens that Grandad began to share his own tales of 'life in the fast lane’ with the two impressionable boys.
It turned out that not only were the visiting raconteurs a pantheon of guitar gods, their Grandad held a pivotal place in music history.
Bert ‘Guitar Wizard’ Weedon was himself a child prodigy who formed his first band (Blue Cumberland Rhythm Boys) at age 13. Bert had performed hundreds of shows with the likes of Stephane Grappelli and George Shearing before he could legally buy a pint. The youngster recorded with Adam Faith and Billy Fury and toured with Frank Sinatra and Judy Garland thereafter launching his own very successful solo career and signature guitar sound. Eight UK Top 40 singles followed and Weedon’s ’sound’ went on to dominate the charts thanks to acolytes like The Shadows and The Dakotas. Weedon’s most impressive legacy however was cemented by a book, the multi-million selling Play In A Day, with which Western youth across the sixties and seventies learned to play guitar Bert’s way, focussing on rhythm, melody and tone. Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Pete Townsend and Paul McCartney are among the many legends who lay the credit for getting started firmly at Weedon’s door.
That impressive legacy is soon to ignite a new generation of music fans thanks to the coming of age of Matt and Theo Weedon, members of the band Tors, my reason for writing.
Much to their parents annoyance, the old man had a profound effect on the two youngsters. When Matt was little he was always in trouble at school and one day he came home with a damning school report. Matt was discouraged. "What am I going to do do when I grow up?" he asked. Bert looked hard at him for a long time then smiled and said “Be a pop star”.
“There was never any doubt in our minds what we wanted to do with our lives” says Matt. "Brian May was the first ‘rockstar’ I recall meeting. He looked so tall to us with wild hair and strangely cool clothes. We both agreed we were going to be him when we grew up.”
Theo adds “Oddly enough though it wasn’t playing the guitar that piqued our interest, it was the songs. We were too young to go to concerts, and not many bands played down our way, so it was radio that pulled us in and the magic of a well crafted melody that exercised our young brains"
Matt and Theo Weedon have always done everything as a pair. When Theo moved to London to study scriptwriting, Matt followed suit. While Matt was creating music for E4’s Skins, Theo joined the writing team. Matt spent his late teenage years fronting an indie band while Theo toured as half of a melodic comedy duo, winning the Musical Comedy Awards in 2013 and even made a brief living as Ewan McGregor’s body double. During this time they ran a company together promoting student music and comedy nights across the UK.
It was only a matter of time before they forged a career doing what they do best.
Songwriting was always something they did in the downtime. 'Driven’ is an apt description of the brothers once they set their minds to something and soon after resolving to earn a living from songwriting alone the cuts started to rack up. Weedon penned tracks are now to be found on albums across the world (USA, Sweden, Japan, Italy etc.). All good you might think. Well it was until a songwriting stint in Nashville and some choice words of wisdom from legendary producer and label boss Don Was brought them back to where they started; it was time to form a band.
Matt and Theo decided that their genetic musical inheritance wasn’t enough so they went back to school, music school, and, like The Kooks, Train and Imagine Dragons before them, there they met likeminded folk. A few rehearsals later and ‘Tors’ was born.
In addition to the Weedon brothers on lead and rhythm guitars, Tors features:
Sam ‘Dirty’ Pritchard on bass. Pritchard’s only notable musical achievement is being the last paid up member of the Travis Fan Club. Although the club was disbanded eight years ago, Sam is such a devoted fan that Fran and the boys decided that if he keeps sending in his subs, they will continue to publish a quarterly newsletter, just for him.
Andrew Humphries on keys and synth. Andrew spent his teens singing backing vocals for ancient soul diva Jocelyn Brown as well as being dog walker to her rare Alaskan Klee Kai dog ‘Kinston’. Unfortunately Klee Kai’s are intensely loyal dogs, to just one person at a time. Kinston grew to love Andrew more than Jocelyn, hence Andrew lost his place on the tour. Disco’s loss is Tors gain.
Jack ‘Math’ Bowden on drums. Jack's nickname comes not from his unrivalled ability to do mental arithmetic but from his addiction to ‘math rock drumming’. It is the greatest source of friction within the band, but as Jack is also an expert marksman and “even better with a shotgun”, expect him to sneak a few 7/8, 11/8, or even 13/8 time signatures into the band’s set.