Music is a family affair for the Rock group Weirz

The Weirz, a rock group, would like you to forget that they are a family -- for the time being. It's not that they don't get along. On the contrary, the nine brothers and sisters get along better than members of most nonrelated music groups.

The problems comes up when people spend more time thinking about the implications of a "family group" than in enjoying the group's original, jazz-influenced rock.

A few years back, guitarist -- singer -- composer Larry Weir (the eldest of the Weirs) needed extra musicians for a music/theater project at Ventura College. With eight musical brothers and sisters to call upon, Larry realized that maybe his siblings should get into the act.

Some did, and when the project was finished, as all-Weir rock banks was formed.

In the course of working up to headliner status at Los Angeles clubs like the Troubador and others, the Weirz has recorded and released an album (titled simply "The Weirz"), "American Dream" and "Special Friend," have gotten airplay in the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas, with other markets showing interest as well.

A recent West Coast tour has confirmed the group's contention that it can please audiences outside the Los Angeles club scene. The tour has also proved once again that the Weirz brand of complex yet driving rock can move an audience as noticeably as does the "New Wave" sound of many L.A. groups now being signed to major record company contracts.

The group's avoidance of heavy "family" labeling is understandable. A musical group most well known for its appeal as a family unit of somewhat look-alikes can have a limited life expectancy (both creative and financial). The Cowsills, for example, produced a handful of gold records in the late '60s and are now upon hard times. The Cowsills have, in fact, been opening act for the Weirz at one of its Los Angeles engagements.

The Weirz "familyhood" and progressive sound combine to make for some interesting backstage questions and comments from fans.

According to bassist/singer Maria, of the fans who work up the nerve to hang around backstage long enough to meet someone from the band, "Most are women . . . there are some guys, most of them are pretty young." And most of the fans ask one of two questions. Says sax player/singer Theresa, "A lot of the girls can't believe that we're sisters."

Is that so hard to believe? Maria says, "I don't think I'd believe someone else, it they told me it [the group] was nine brothers and sisters."

The other question comes from concerned admirers. As Maria describes it, "They come up and say, 'You poor thing, did your patients force you into this?'"

The Weirz is not going unnoticed by the press, either. Says Daily Variety, for example, "Tunes like 'Boxcar Living' need no refinement, and are a perfect expression of power-house rock-'n-roll." And Robert Hilburn of the Los Angeles Times writes, "The band avoids leaning on the novelty charm of many family outfits, but its lively, wholesome manner on stage makes the band seem a natural for television."

The Weirz has gone from opening act to headliner, and gained fans up and down the West Coast -- all on its own. The Weirz members have always been a family. That's no cause for adjustments.

It's being a well-known rock group and family that will take some getting used to.

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