GERRY JOE WEISE in SYDNEY
Gerry Joe Weise aged 4 in 1962.
1974 aged 15. Gerry Joe Weise's first electric guitar, a 1969 no name black Les Paul copy. His father bought it for Gerry's 11th birthday, for $95 in 1970, Gerry later sold it in 1974 for $100. Gerry's comment: "A great learning guitar, a lot of fun, and I wish I had it today !".
1974 / 1975 SKID ROW
Concert Saturday 13th December 1975, Ibrox Hall, Leichhardt, Sydney.
Photo: Michael Kennedy - lead guitar, Brett Edkins - bass/vocals, Smithy - drums, Gerry Joe Weise - lead guitar.
Gerry Joe Weise's first local newspaper photo clipping of a concert with Skid Row at St.Fiacre's Young Set Dance at Ibrox Hall in Leichhardt, Gerry is 16 years old.
Gerry's comment: "This was a great 500 crowd concert and all our friends were there to check us out, but we didn't know we were playing for a Socialist movement until we arrived to set up our gear. I just got kicked out of 5th grade High school for misbehaviour, as I was a real rebel-rocker-surfer back then, and I was treating the band as a semi-professional stint. The group started around 1974, and by 1975 we were playing a lot of local concerts. With Michael Kennedy, we were taking turns on lead guitar. He would dress up in black, being influenced by Ritchie Blackmore and play a white Ibanez Stratocaster; and I would dress up in white being influenced by Tommy Bolin and play a red 1971 Fender Mustang. We were born on the same day, same month, same year, only a couple of hours apart, and we started playing guitar around about the same time. We were forever trying to outdo each other, but bless his soul, I sure did learn a lot of guitar with him !"
The original concert ticket. Text: "St. Fiacre's Young Set cordially invites you to a dance to the music of: Skid Row, Saturday, 13th December, 1975, 7.30pm - 11.00pm, Ibrox School Hall, Derbyshire Road, Leichhardt, refreshments on sale at hall, (ticket) N° 301, members $1.00, single $1.50, double $2.00".
Note: The St. Fiacre's Young Set Dance was held at the 2nd Ibrox Hall on the other side of Leichhardt, away from the High School. The 1st Ibrox Hall, is situated in the Ibrox Park High School and is a different venue. Gerry played at the 1st Ibrox Hall several times too with Skid Row, and so did AC/DC ! ...Just before Gerry got kicked out of that High School and was still wearing the school's uniform; Bon Scott had recently joined AC/DC as vocalist, and one of there very early concerts together was at the Ibrox Park High School. Gerry's comment: "AC/DC with Bon Scott played at our school in 75. They parked their van right in the middle of our playground ! Angus and Malcolm were only several years older than me, they knew my school Ibrox Park High in Leichhardt, was a badly reputated school (as they were living in Burwood a neighbouring suburb). All the kids were making fun of them in the van, when Angus popped out the door, the kids in the van went wild, it was like "The Lord Of The Flies" ! Until weightlifter Carlos jumped in to calm things down, the kids ran off and Angus went back in. I was so embarrassed of my school ! Nevertheless AC/DC played an excellent concert in our school hall - Angus didn't wear his school uniform, I had to though !."
Gerry Joe Weise's 1971 red Fender Mustang, that he used in 1975 with Skid Row and 1976 with Siren.
Gerry Joe Weise left Skid Row to join his first professional rock band Siren as rhythm guitarist in 1976, when he was 16. They played important venues in Sydney and Woolongong, before Gerry left Siren as rhythm guitarist to join his next professional rock group, The Class as lead guitarist in 1977, at the age of 17.
Note: The famous Sydney Chequers Club's June poster has Siren, a whole lot of AC/DC concerts, Buster Brown (Angry Anderson's band before Rose Tattoo), Chain (with Australia's legendary blues guitarist, Phil Manning), Stevie Wright Band (ex Easybeats singer's new group, nb George Young, Angus and Malcolm Young's big brother, used to play rhythm guitar in the Easybeats).
Gerry's comments: "It is hard to remember much of this period, as everything was one big rush and a bit of a blur. I was very young, and being thrown in with a bunch of raging adult musicians in a pro-rock band, can only lead to be feeling a little intimidated. I had to learn all their songs in 3 days before the first concert. I was told what to do all the time by the lead guitarist, and I had the feeling I only got chosen for the group because of my red guitar (ed. Fender Mustang), which matched the lead guitarist's red guitar (ed. Hagrstom Suede). I was feeling very insecure at 16."
1978 / 1979 CORROBOREE
Gerry Joe Weise at 18, left the rock band, The Class, to join the progressive rock / a.k.a jazz-rock quintet Coroboree, with Craig Colling on drums (ex Manfred Mann) and keyboardist Cezary Skubiszewski (film composer "Two Hands", ex Alexis Korner). Gerry was playing an all maple 1976 Gibson L6S throughout his tenure with Corroboree.
Gerry's comment: "For Corroboree, I needed a guitar with a different feel and different cutting-edge from the Strats. The Gibson L6S just recently came out, I was really into maple at that time, and I saw Carlos Santana, Angus and Malcom Young of AC/DC use them. So I bought a second-hand one, I put a Dimarzio humbucker pick-up in the rhythm position and I was ready to play John McLaughlin influenced guitar !"
AC/DC's Angus Young in 1976 with a double-cutaway maple Gibson L6S, Bonn Scott is on vocals.
AC/DC's Malcolm Young in 1975 (far left), with a maple single-cutaway Gibson L6S. Yes that is Angus Young in the middle !
STRATS 1977 / 1978 The CLASS
After playing rhythm guitar for Siren, Gerry Joe Weise joined the rock group The Class as lead guitarist in 1977 at the age of 17. He used two different Fender Startocasters for The Class, a 1965 sunburst rosewood neck, and a 1973 sunburst maple neck.
Gerry's comments: "My first Fender Startocaster, was the rosewood necked 1965 one I bought in late 1976 while still playing in Siren. A great vintage guitar, which would be worth a lot of money these days if I still had it now ! I would plug that guitar into a 400 watt Overeem Australian made amplifier with 4 quad cabinets (the cabs I sold later to the Angel's guitarist). We were playing at high volume, I had musical freedom, we were touring around in our purple truck, we had a big fan club following, and lots of groupies - what else can a 17 year old guitarist hope for !"
About Tommy Bolin. Gerry's comments: "I got this really easy playing 73 maple necked Strat, in late 1977. It was the closest guitar I ever had to getting Tommy Bolin's sound. I was a big fan of Tommy Bolin in the 70's. Tommy Bolin had three sides to him, rock, jazz and blues. His James Gang, Deep Purple rock records influenced me with Skid Row, Siren and The Class. The jazz-rock Billy Cobham "Spectrum" album which featured Tommy Bolin on blistering lead guitar influenced me in Corroboree. Tommy Bolin toured as second guitarist for Albert King, so there is a blues aspect of Tommy's, that you can hear on all the above mentioned records, as well as with Zephyr and his solo records, that later influenced me in my blues career. I saw Tommy Bolin in 1975 at the Sydney Hordern Pavillion when he was playing with Deep Purple, a year before he unfortunately died."