Like father like son – only different. They are both musicians. Dad is a trombonist. The son plays the guitar. The father is Douglas Weeks, who in addition to being coordinator of music and associate head of HUA, conducts theWPI Orchestra, Brass Ensemble, and Concert Band. The son is Jedidiah “Jed” Weeks, who besides being the manager of the Music & Arts store in Milford, is a member of the band, Whiskey Church.
The two generations are about to rock on one stage. In a unique collaboration called, “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll,” they will perform tunes by such classic bands of the 1980s as Aerosmith, Motley Crue, Europe, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Guns N’ Roses, Journey, and more.
“We have been wanting to put this show together for quite a few years,” says Jedediah. “We just looked at tunes that would work well with this combination — songs that could highlight the Concert Band as well as the rock band.”
Whiskey Church is a popular band based in Central New England. They play the local circuit at such clubs as the Central Tavern in Milford, JJ’s Sports Bar in Northboro, and the Hawk’s Nest in Whitinsville. In addition to Jed, the group features vocalist Chip Zale, guitarist Rob Keeler, bassist Chip Hill, and drummer Kevin “BamBam” Gallagher. They are the recipients of the 2014 WMRC music award for “Best Local New Act.” See: https://www.facebook.com/thewhiskeychurch/.
Who: Whiskey Church with the WPI Concert Band
What: “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” Concert
Where: Alden Memorial
When: Friday, Feb. 13, at 7:30 p.m.
Cost: $5. WPI students free with ID
“The biggest challenge we have faced is the weather and getting to rehearse,” says Jed. “The quality of the Concert Band is so high that we have worked very easily together. By the way, they rock.”
A quick check of the Whiskey Church set-list tells you that they too are from the school of hard rocks – “Welcome to the Jungle” by Guns N’ Roses, “You Shook Me All Night Long” by Led Zeppelin, and “Smokin’ In The Boys Room” by Brownsville Station, by way of Motley Crue — to name a few.
Putting it all together – organizing the Concert Band, complete with brass, saxophones, and its own rhythm section, required some serious writing and arranging. That’s where Doug stepped in.
“No such arrangements exist,” he says. “So, a few of us have been doing the writing for this program, trying to adapt the songs as closely as possible to their original versions. My assistant (Samantha McGill), two students (John Arnold and Andrew Strout) and I have been doing the arranging.”
Doug says having heard the band and knowing their material helped to expedite things. “There are several reasons this fell together. They’ve come in and practiced with us. It is very tricky coordinating the two types of seemingly disparate ensembles, but it is a challenge that is a lot of fun.”
The two bands will play about a dozen pieces together. The Concert Band will be featured on a few alone, and Whiskey Church will do the same. Professor Weeks says that the music of the ‘80s “Hair Bands,” has both nostalgic and current audience appeal.
“Many of today’s college aged young people are still quite familiar with the music and many of the artists are still travelling and performing–Bon Jovi and Axl Rose to name a couple. In many cases these bands, Aerosmith as an example, have hooked up with orchestras in concert. Metallica even toured with the San Francisco Symphony.
“I’ve often thought that it would be interesting for WPI students to have the opportunity to perform music of that period with a live ’80’s band. And, as we offer a course in the history of popular music at WPI that I initiated many years ago and now taught by Al Vaudreuil, it’s of particular interest to host such a performance on campus.”