The Weir Brothers- Graham and Neil

Graham and Neil Weir were born on 22nd December 1960 and 10th November 1961 respectively, in Dingwall on the Scottish Highlands. The majority of their childhood was spent on the West coast coast of Scotland in Stranraer- coincidentally, where a young Andy McCluskey would 'go caravanning every summer' with his family.

 

Because their parents were music teachers, both Graham and Neil became interested in music from an early age; Graham took up the trombone when he was eight years old, whilst Neil started by playing the trumpet. The Jazz influences from their childhood would stay with both brothers even throughout their teens, where they would have been, like most other teenagers, bombarded with glam rock and guitar based music.

'I would play [an old acoustic guitar] along to Bowie and Led Zeppelin records' says Graham. 'I still kept up jazz, though, as my main interest, playing trombone in jazz bands until I was about seventeen'.

By the early '80s, however, both preferred pop music to the jazz and classical music they had started out playing. At this point, Graham was at Edinburgh University, whilst Neil went to music college in Glasgow and then Leeds, but Graham recalls them both feeling quite bored with it all at the time. 'We'd had it up to here...! We were just sitting around playing h runs and doing session horn-playing in Edinburgh.

However, in another coincidence, Graham just happened to be sharing a flat with Chic Medley of Fiction Factory (most famous for their 1984 No. 6 UK hit '(Feels Like) Heaven'), so himself and Neil were invited by the band to play on their upcoming album.

Having obviously sufficiently demonstrated their brass-playing abilities, both Graham and Neil were then asked by Fiction Factory's management company to appear on Top of the Pops with OMD- for their new single 'Locomotion'. The appearance were so successful that after the performance, they began to rehearse full-time with the band with a view to accompanying them on their British tour during the May of that year.

The Weir brothers were not just brass players, however. They could sing backing vocals, play bass-electric guitar, and even had a 'unique dancing dancing style [that] complement[ed] Andy's', as well as, according to Mal Holmes, a 'great sense of humour'.

Eventually, both Graham and Neil ended up having more influence on OMD than either they or the band themselves perhaps ever imagined. One important example is the 1986 album 'The Pacific Age', which not only has a huge amount of brass included on it (particularly on tracks 'Stay' and '(Forever) Live and Die'), but also represents the first time that the band would record a whole album as a six-piece, rather than a four-piece or, as it was in the beginning,two young men and a tape recorder.