10 Q’s with Weapon’s Jeff Summers

Weapon are back with their first single in thirty years, ‘’Ready 4 U’ and here we catch-up with guitarists and founding member Jeff Summers…

1. What are you currently up to?
WEAPON have just released their first new music in just over 30 years! Our new single “Ready 4 U” is now available for download on itunes, Amazon and Tesco. The accompanying video is now available to view on Youtube. We have also recorded a number of backing tracks for a new album to follow on from “Ready 4 U” and will hopefully be supporting all this with some live shows in the late summer.

2. What made Weapon get back together?
Well, in 2003, we were approached by a few record companies and asked if we would be interested in putting out all of our recordings from 1980/81 on one album. We thought this would be a nice legacy for the band as most of our recordings, although mastered were never released. The album “Set the stage alight” was released later that year on Zoom Club Records and was reasonably successful. On the back of this, we were invited to play the “Headbangers Open Air” festival in Germany and this along with some preceeding warm up gigs meant that we got the buzz from playing together again. However, we were also all really busy playing with other bands, Bruce and I were still recording and gigging in STATETROOPER and he also in Andy Scotts SWEET. Danny was gigging regularly in “Paddy Goes to Hollyhead” and Baz (Bass guitar) has been unwell for some time so it seemed impossible to continue with the initial interest.

When all had settled down and we had a little more time, Danny and I decided that if we were going to get back together some new music was required…We didn’t just want to survive on the stuff we had written when we were kids. We decided to make a new album and see what lie ahead. At this point Bruce confirmed that he would not be able to give it 100% because of his commitments to SWEET and Baz was still too ill to play live. Danny and I then decided that if (and only if) we could find talented enough replacements that would ensure the band continued at the same level we would reform the band. Ian Sweeting (ex Stone Catz) and Gavin Cooper (Ex Paul Dianno and STATETROOPER) were consequently asked to join the band once we were given the blessing of both Bruce and Baz.

3. The new single ‘Ready 4 U’ is out now. How have the band gone about promoting it and is there more music to follow?
It is indeed Jason and we are extremely happy with it. We are doing it all ourselves basically. It’s not that record companies are not interested, because they are, but we wanted to be in control a little more at this time. Just prior to the release of “READY 4 U” We became aware that last year had seen the worst showing for Rock music in the charts since the early 1960’s, pre Beatles in fact. Apparently there were only 2 tracks deemed to be Rock in the charts last year…Pretty poor showing I think. Knowing this, we went about trying to find a song that would have all of the instantly recognisible sound of WEAPON, but be radio friendly for todays Rock orientated fans, consequently “READY 4 U” was the outcome. We have been marketing it ourselves via all of the online sites available to us and utilising as many music business contacts as we can. We started a group on facebook called “Help “Weapon to put some ROCK back in the charts” and Rock fans all over the world have been very receptive of this.

As I mentioned earlier, we are hoping to follow up “READY 4 U” with a full albums worth of brand new material, but I don’t have any definitive dates as of yet!!

4. With many NWOBHM bands reforming and gigging of late have you seen an increase in interest in Weapon? Which bands from that era impressed you most and why?
Well, we kind of did this before most of the others, 2003 to be precise…And Youtube ensured that the band stayed at least a little in the public eye. The album release in 2003 helped also to increase the awareness of the band as an on-going project.
From that era, I really liked many of the bands. They were so varied and all had different influences…I tended to gravitate towards the song based bands with an exciting delivery and charismatic front men. I liked the Tygers of Pan Tang (John Sykes era) Grand Prix, FM, Gaskin, Lautrec, Praying Mantis and of course Maiden. But generally I was still listening to my heroes: Deep Purple and offshoot bands, Uriah Heep, This Lizzy, Led Zepp and Van Halen etc.

5. Were the band surprised at the influence the band’s music had on bands like Metallica? With music going in cycles do you think we could ever seen another wave of young metal bands take hold in the UK?
We were!! After all, we were only initially together about 18 months and only released one single “It’s a mad mad world b/w Set the stage alight” I met Lars, James and Cliff (RIP) in 1983 when playing with my band WILDFIRE in London. Metallica came to one of our shows and asked to play a set prior to our own. We agreed and began to talk. Lars asked Bruce which previous bands he had played in and Bruce mentioned WEAPON!! Well you could have heard a pin drop. Lars mentioned that Metallica used to open there set with “Set the stage alight” as they thought it was the most dynamic intro to a rock song they had heard! The guys were great and were very complimentary to us…
“Set the stage alight” has since been covered by (to my knowledge) at least 5 different bands and released in cover form by at least 3. There are youtube files of other bands playing it live and it never seems to be far away from anybodys top list of NWoBHM songs. Add this to the fact that Metallica “Borrowed” the intro, chord sequence drum fills and all and this all adds up to a fairly big impact by us.

I think the time is right for a “new wave” of young British bands to create another movement. Normally when the groudswell of interest in Rock music is building and the country is in recession, the British seem to respond. There is an opportunity for a back lash against what s happening currently. With the domination of TV shows like X Factor coupled with Hip Hop dominated music in the charts and all over the airwaves, this atmosphere normally brings out the desire to be individual in young people

6. Statetrooper – are there any plans for gigs and/or new music any time soon?
No, I’m afraid not Jason, Gary is still buy with MSG and Bruce with SWEET. I wouldn’t work as STATETROOPER without them.

7. How easy/hard is it to get a decent run of live dates? Ideally which bands would you like to tour with and why?
Very difficult, not many promoters are understandably prepared to stick their necks out financially. The band usually wants some kind of guarantee as gigging is expensive (Rehearsals, travel, hotels, expenses, wages etc.) and people are financially a little strapped at the moment with the recession and all. We have spoken to a few promoters who seem to be willing to put the feelers out for us, so hopefully we can promote “READY 4 U” Live at some point.

Not sure who would be best to tour with, something fresh and different would be good, perhaps the Foo fighters or Muse. That would give us the opportunity to play to an audience that could partially relate to what we were doing but also give us the opportunity to workhard to win them over.

8. Have magazines like ‘Classic Rock’, ‘Power Play’ and ‘Fireworks’ being available in High Street stores helped raise the profile of rock and metal music?
Absolutely, but conversely the fans and bands have helped create a demand for these magazines…It’s a two- way Street. Talking to the young people who are into our music suggests that they discovered Classic Rock by going through their Parents record collections. The magazines you mention help maintain the flow of interest, they give rock fans both young and old a reference point for the music that still seems underground to them. Personally, I prefer to read an online or less commercialised mag like GRTR. You tend to get less cynicism and more understanding towards the musicians that perhaps haven’t been as lucky as the ones that have already made it

9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time away from music?
It’s all based around Music, family and work…I am an avid reader when I’m not writing, playing or working and also love to watch football. I’m a spurs supporter :o )

10. What were the live highlights for the band in the 80′s?
Pretty much all of it really…Supporting Motorhead on the “Ace up yer sleeve” tour in 1980 a 32 date tour of the UK which took in some of the best venues around at the time. The our culminated in a four night stint at the Hammersmith Odeon. That was a dream come true for all of us” We played the “Venue” and Camdens Music Machine just prior to the Motorhead tour and then did our own headline tour in the early part of 1981. There were some fabulous dates on this tour and we even broke attendance records at some of the shows. The Marquee in Wardour Street was always an absolute joy to play in those days. The musical history of that club read like a who’s who of the music business. You could see scrawls and graffiti from some of the most famous names on the back wall in the changing rooms…Great days!

Message for your fans…
Thanks to all of you who have downloaded our new song “READY 4 U” we hope you enjoy it and at the same time try and “Help Weapon put some rock back in the charts” There’s still life in the old dog yet, keep supporting the Rock. You are the lifeblood that ensures it’s survival. Always download legally when you can, this is the only way the modern musician can survive and keep progressing his art. Thanks for listening and I hope to meet you all some day along the road!!


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