I'm just a regular white guy Who's afraid to rock so hard I'd break my guard And give myself away
General Info[/u][/size] Current Lineup Brian Bell (guitar) Rivers Cuomo (vocals, guitar) Scott Shriner (bass) Patrick Wilson (drums)
Former Members Jason Cropper (guitar, 1992-1993) Matt Sharp (bass/vocals, 1992-1998) Mikey Welsh (bass, 2000-2001)
Genre: Alternative/power pop/geek rock Sounds Like: Somewhere between Kiss, the Beach Boys, the Cars and Cheap Trick. Similar Artists: A partial list of acts Weezer has toured with over the years is telling: The Pixies, Foo Fighters, Blink 182, No Doubt, Tenacious D, Jimmy Eat World, Dashboard Confessional, Live, Everclear, Veruca Salt, that dog., Lush, The Fray, Hot Hot Heat, the Kaiser Chiefs and The Get-Up Kids. Similar Past Bonnaroo Artists: Ben Folds, Death Cab for Cutie, Fountains of Wayne, Franz Ferdinand, Superdrag, Cage the Elephant Similar Bonnaroo 2010 Artists: Tenacious D, They Might Be Giants, Avett Brothers, OK Go, Tokyo Police Club, Manchester Orchestra Side Projects, present: Rivers Cuomo solo, The Relationship (with Brian Bell,) The Special Goodness (with Pat Wilson & Scott Shriner) Side projects, past: The Rentals (with Matt Sharp and formerly Pat Wilson,) Homie (with Rivers Cuomo & Matt Sharp,) The Space Twins (with Brian Bell)
Major Discography & Suggested Listening
Weezer (aka "The Blue Album,") 1994
[/b] [Deluxe Edition also available] The triple-platinum debut which helped define an era. Weezer's unique blend of catchy hooks, big guitars, and vocal harmonies take center stage in a synthesis of power pop and arena rock. Songs deal with universal subject matter - heavily focused on relationship and family problems while at times acknowledging anxiety and yearning for escape - while placing their personal mark on it, displaying the unrepentant geekiness which endeared the group to legions of fans. A rock-solid effort from start to finish, this album should be considered essential listening.
[tr][td] [/td][td]Pinkerton, 1996 A concept album inspired by the Puccini opera Madame Butterfly and named for one of its characters, Pinkerton captures a darker, more visceral side of the band. Echoing the opera, the album thematically incorporates issues of emotional isolation, romantic disappointment, and sexual frustration in the context of an outsider's interaction with the Orient. Autobiographic and confessional in nature, the album reveals Cuomo at his most emotionally vulnerable. Released to lukewarm critical and commercial reception, the album steadily amassed a cult following and has come to be regarded in retrospect as a contemporary classic.
[tr][td][/td] [td]Weezer (aka "The Green Album,") 2001 The band re-established themselves with this back-to-basics effort, a marked change in direction from its predecessor. The Green Album once again saw the band work with producer Ric Ocasek, under whose guidance songs became tighter, shorter and and more focused. The songs are short and sweet, packing a poppy punch, filled with catchy melodies and hooks to echo them. Lyrically as is the case musically, The Green Album pursued a more universal, relatable appeal with relationships continuing to be prominent subject matter. The album's more joyous, exuberant and optimistic tone stands out among the band's overall body of work.
[tr][td][/td] [td]Maladroit, 2002 Weezer's heaviest album, rocking and raucous while maintaining a polished sound. Big guitars and heavy riffs dominate the album without entirely abandoning the group's pop sensibilities. The album's writing and recording process was innovative and interactive, with the band regularly posting in-progress studio tracks online for fan feedback. This process led to some tensions between the band and its fans, as is lyrically evident on several of the album's tracks. Taking its name from a French word roughly translated as "inept; awkward," Maladroit lives up to its title. Arguably the most underrated album in the band's catalog.
[tr][td][/td] [td]Make Believe, 2005 Make Believe as a whole unveils a mellower, more mature side of the band, with the band returning to the more personal songwriting style apparent in their earlier work. Producer Rick Rubin introduced Rivers Cuomo to Vissipana meditation as he worked with the band, which became apparent in the resulting album. Regret and forgiveness are frequently-occuring lyrical themes. Their longest album to date includes the slickest production of the band's catalog, showing a willingness to integrate keys into their songs. "Beverly Hills," the lead single from the album, was the group's first to reach number one the Billboard Modern Rock chart.
[tr][td][/td] [td]Weezer (aka "The Red Album,") 2008 [Deluxe Edition also available] Quite possibly the band's most polarizing effort, Weezer's third eponymous album finds band more comfortable with itself than ever before. Songs on The Red Album are more experimental, with longer, looser, less-traditional structures than previous efforts. Weezer collaborates in unprecedented fashion on this album, which finds band members swapping instruments and sharing lead vocal/songwriting duties for the first time since their debut. The album is aggressive and playful in some moments, sentimental and nostalgic in others.
[tr][td][/td] [td]Raditude, 2009 [Deluxe Edition also available] The spirit of collaboration continued on Raditude; the band worked with a variety of outside co-writers - including Dr. Luke, Butch Walker and members of All-American Rejects - and a variety of producers. The diverse influences make for a less cohesive album, with the band often exploring stylistically. Raditude starts with the requisite upbeat, catchy single before wandering into fist-pumping party anthems, sitars, and an appearance by Lil Wayne.
Further Listening[/u][/size] Suggested non-album tracks and unofficial releases for those already familiar with the Official Discography. The last link should be of particular interest, with Bonnaroo just over the horizon...
Songs from the Black Hole, 1995 This unreleased, intended follow-up to The Blue Album is somewhat of a holy grail for Weezer fans. Meant to be a "space rock opera" featuring multiple voices and liberal use of synthesizers, the album exists only in a combination of previously-released tracks and unfinished demos. The official state of the album is unknown to fans - only three copies of the intended album in its current state of completion are known to exist. However, the passage of time and fan efforts have led to an approximation of the album circulating online. I personally wouldn't directly link to a download containing copyrighted material here... but if someone else did, I would let you know (wink wink, nudge nudge)
[/b] Weezer's comeback tour in the summer of 2000 featured an album's worth of new material, much of which never saw official commercial release. A fan-led campaign eventually led Rivers Cuomo to release a version of the album for online release. This version included the intended tracklist for a ten-song album - plus b-sides and a studio outtake - taken from the band's soundboard recordings during this tour. The third album that never was, Summer Songs 2K is arguably the rightful successor to Pinkerton.
The Black & Blue Album[/i][/size] Both Jay-Z and Weezer are playing Bonnaroo 2010, which makes for a perfect excuse to check out this mash-up between Jay-Z's Black Album and Weezer's Blue Album-era material. This might help you get into a Bonnaroo mood. Jay-Zeezer The Black & Blue Album
Biography[/u][/size] Weezer is an American alternative rock band formed in 1992. The band has released seven full-length albums, racking up cumulative sales of over eight million albums in the United States, and are best known for songs including "Buddy Holly," "Undone - the Sweater Song," "Beverly Hills," "Island In The Sun," and "Pork And Beans." Led by enigmatic frontman Rivers Cuomo, the band displays a quirky sense of humor and geeky charm backed up by melodic, hook-heavy power pop. Weezer's unconventional ways have found them at odds with their record labels, music critics, their fans and even themselves at various times. Over the years, the band has endured several lineup changes and seen their fortunes rise and fall, exhibiting a staying power which has lasted close to two decades. Cuomo summed up the band's everyman appeal to Milwaukee's Shepherd Express in late 2009, proclaiming that "if you’re looking to feel artistically or intellectually superior to others, then you probably can’t be a Weezer fan."
1990s Weezer was formed in 1992 by a like-minded group of friends in the Los Angeles music scene. The band's first-ever practice took place on Valentine's Day, 1992, with their first gig supporting Keanu Reeves' band Dogstar. The band played the Los Angeles music scene, earning themselves a recording contract with DGC Records after being discovered at a showcase in 1993. That fall, the band began work on their eponymous debut album with producer and former The Cars frontman Ric Ocasek in New York's Electric Lady studios. Founding guitarist Jason Cropper left the band shortly before the band entered the studio, citing the need to concentrate on his impending fatherhood. Days before recording commenced, after a brief interview in which he was asked to name his favorite Star Wars action figure, guitarist Brian Bell joined the group. The debut album was recorded in fall 1993 and released in May 1994 without an official single. Radio stations took notice of the album, particularly "Undone - the Sweater Song," which became the album's first single. Weezer teamed up with director Spike Jonze on music videos for "Undone" and the follow-up single "Buddy Holly." The latter was a groundbreaking music video, splicing footage of the television show Happy Days to feature the band performing at Arnold's Drive-In. The standout video helped put Weezer on the map, making "Buddy Holly" the biggest single from the album. Declaring their affinity for comic books, Dungeons & Dragons, and Kiss, the band made it clear they didn't care whether people thought they were cool, striking a chord with a fanbase who could relate. The band toured throughout 1994 and into 1995 in support of the album, at times sharing bills with Live or Lush, releasing a third and final single for "Say It Ain't So" before temporarily adjourning in summer of 1995.
The band members pursued their individual interests for the remainder of 1995. Matt Sharp and Pat Wilson released an album that fall with their side project, New Wave revivalists The Rentals. Rivers Cuomo enrolled at Harvard University, had surgery to correct the uneven legs he'd had since birth, grew a beard and became a recluse. During this period, he continued work on the intended follow-up album, Songs from the Black Hole, a "space rock opera" featuring multiple characters/voices (both male and female) telling the tale of the crew on an intergalactic mission. The ambitious project was eventually abandoned due to writers' block, existing in various forms from demo tapes to studio tracks recorded while on tour. A letter from a Japanese fan spurred Cuomo to begin writing again, leading the material in a new direction inspired by the Puccini opera Madame Butterfly. New songs detailing Cuomo's experiences at Harvard were combined with repurposed Songs from the Black Hole songs. The band reconvened in early 1996, going into the studio during Cuomo's Harvard breaks to complete their second album, Pinkerton.
Released in September 1996, Pinkerton was met with underwhelming, often-times hostile reception. Shortly before the album was released, legal action was taken by the security firm Pinkerton's, Inc., seeking to prohibit the use of the name by the band and their record label. Though the court ultimately decided in favor of Weezer, the legal entanglement prevented DGC from promoting in advance an album bearing the name. Complicating matters was the lack of a catchy, instantly memorable single à la "Buddy Holly" and the band's reluctance to once again rely on music video gimmickry and let their music be judged on its own merits. To the band's dismay, Pinkerton proved to be a more difficult and abrasive album than its predecessor, with sales a fraction of the debut's. The album's first two singles, "El Scorcho" and "The Good Life," failed to generate traction for the album; a third single ("Pink Triangle") was planned but scrapped due to lack of radio and label interest. Initially, the album received a number of harsh reviews. Rolling Stone magazine went as far as to proclaim Pinkerton "the worst album of 1996." Despite the lackluster critical and commercial reception, the band soldiered on, going on a headlining tour in support of the album in the winter of 1997 and a stint opening for No Doubt that summer. In July 1997, Mykel and Carli Allan - friends of the band, presidents of their fan club, dedicatees of the band's first b-side - died along with their sister in a car crash returning from one of the band's shows. Weezer went on hiatus at the end of that summer tour, emerging only to play the sisters' memorial concert the following year. After that, the band went their separate ways. A side project, Homie, including Cuomo and Sharp with members of Soul Coughing and Cake, was scrapped. Brian Bell worked with his side project The Space Twins. Matt Sharp quit the band altogether that fall, preferring to focus on The Rentals. By the end of 1998, the future of the group was in question.
Early 2000s Weezer's reputation and fanbase grew during their absence, aided by word of mouth and the advent of online file sharing - as seen in RIAA complaints that the band was one of the artists most frequently downloaded illegally during the decade's early Napster controversy. The passage of time demonstrated that what Pinkerton's initial impact lacked in breadth was more than made up for in depth. Part of this renewed interest in the band was a lucrative offer to headline a festival in Japan in August 2000. The offer was tempting enough to rouse Cuomo (who, by this point, had secluded himself in a windowless LA home scribbling potential songs on its walls and analyzing songs by Nirvana, Green Day and Oasis in a series of journals) and the rest of the band back into action. Bassist Mikey Welsh, formerly with Juliana Hatfield, was recruited to replace Matt Sharp. The band played a short series of warm-up gigs that spring under the pseudonym Goat Punishment, sometimes playing entire sets of the aforementioned influences' material. That summer the band got into a van, playing a handful of West Coast dates on the Vans Warped Tour, attracting large and appreciative crowds. Surprised by the reception after their absence, later that summer the band embarked on their first headlining tour in years around their trip to Japan, selling out small venues nationwide in a manner of minutes. The shows were a consensus hit, with sets heavy on an album's worth of new material and old favorites from The Blue Album - and a noticeable distancing from Pinkerton. Cuomo explained his personal aversion to the group's sophomore album, telling Entertainment Weekly in 2001: "It's a hideous record... It was such a hugely painful mistake that happened in front of hundreds of thousands of people and continues to happen on a grander and grander scale and just won't go away. It's like getting really drunk at a party and spilling your guts in front of everyone and feeling incredibly great and cathartic about it, and then waking up the next morning and realizing what a complete fool you made of yourself." Weezer's fanbase, while generally in disagreement with this statement, were glad to see their return and eager for a new album. In the fall of 2000, the band returned to the studio with Ocasek to record their follow-up. In the spring of 2001, between the recording and release of their third album, Weezer embarked on a Yahoo-sponsored tour of larger venues with fan-selected openers Ozma and the Get-Up Kids. Grateful fans threw oversized, decorated "granny" panties at them at every date of the tour as a simultaneous expression of appreciation and nod to the band's self-deprecating ways.
Weezer's second self-titled album was a burst of back-to-basics power pop, with a combination of Ritalin and tequila attributed as an inspiration for several songs, taking a different direction than Pinkerton and the largely-scrapped new material from the summer 2000 tour (lead single "Hash Pipe" was the only one to make it onto the album.) The Green Album was released to a warm reception in May 2001, debuting at #4 on the Billboard charts - higher than the peak positions of their previous releases. The band continued touring upon the album's release, appearing at that year's Coachella festival to begin their tour in support of the album. That summer, bassist Mikey Welsh had a nervous breakdown, suddenly departing the band before the filming of a music video; he was replaced by Scott Shriner, whom band members knew through mutual friends. Undeterred, the band continued to tour, with Tenacious D joining them on the road later that year. Weezer continued to follow their momentum, preparing their fourth album on the road and eventually the studio by year's end. The recording of the fourth album, Maladroit, involved the fans heavily - the title itself was a fan suggestion. Songs in progress were regularly uploaded to the band's website, with feedback from fans solicited there and on a special invitation-only message board. This unusual arrangement led to some animosity between Cuomo and his fans, with several lyrical barbs directed at fans appearing on the album. Tensions also arose between the band and DGC, when "Dope Nose" wound up released to radio stations without label authorization. Former bassist Matt Sharp joined in the action, suing the group for songwriting royalties he felt he was owed; the suit was settled out of court. Weezer continued to tour throughout the year, touring with Dashboard Confessional, Sparta and enough support acts to merit a side stage. This tour was unique among the band's tours in its setlists, in which songs were randomly selected by a method devised by Rivers centered around twelve-sided die. The band released a limited-edition EP largely consisting of live tracks from the Japanese leg of the tour, The Lion and the Witch, before once again going on hiatus at the end of the year.
Late 2000s In 2004 the band resumed their activity. A DVD compilation - Video Capture Device - was released, featuring music videos, live performances and assorted rare footage from over the years. The band entered the studio with legendary producer Rick Rubin to begin work on their next album, Make Believe. Rubin, who noticed an unhealthy interpersonal dynamic within the band, successfully urged Weezer to undergo group therapy sessions while working on the album. During these sessions, Rubin also turned Cuomo onto vissipara and other meditation techniques, influencing the subsequent album. Some songs on the album were written after Cuomo's hours-long meditation sessions and twenty four-hour fasting periods. Despite mixed reviews, Make Believe became Weezer's third platinum album, reaching #2 on the Billboard chart - the highest position of any album in the group's catalog - and spawning two singles which topped the Modern Rock charts. The band toured relentlessly throughout 2005, with a main stage slot at Coachella, a co-headlining tour with The Pixies, headlining Lollapalooza in its inaugural festival incarnation, and concluding with a co-headlining tour with the Foo Fighters. The whirlwind year required another break in 2006, with band members focusing on side projects, fatherhood, and Cuomo completing his Harvard studies to earn a bachelor's degree in English.
Weezer returned in 2008 with their third eponymous color-coded album, The Red Album, their first with new label Interscope. The album was more daring, collaborative and experimental than the group's previous albums, to such an extent that representatives from Interscope ordered the band back into the studio in order to include more commercially appealing material after hearing an early version. In the collaborative spirit of the album, the brief initial tour for the album consisted of a "hootenanny" format, with fans invited to bring their own instruments in joining the band for brief sets. This carried over into the proper tour for the album, with the band inviting fans onstage to perform select songs with them during the encore. The band utilized the internet to engage its fans once more, filming a series of webisodes starring band members and again soliciting fan input on creative matters. Weezer was quick to follow up on The Red Album, releasing the much-maligned and misunderstood Raditude (the title was suggested by The Office star Rainn Wilson) in late 2009. The band continued to tour, adding drummer Josh Freese to their lineup for flexibility in swapping instruments and vocal duties. A bus crash in December 2009, in which Cuomo was injured, required postponement of the tour while he healed. Late in 2009, Weezer announced that they had parted ways with Interscope and had begun to explore new opportunities for continuing to release music.
On the Horizon[/b] After Bonnaroo, the band's tour will take them to Europe, including an appearance at this year's Reading & Leeds Festival. Currently in the works are a Pinkerton deluxe edition and a rarities collection entitled Odds And Ends. Brian Bell plans to release an album with his side project The Relationship later this year.
Live Show/What To Expect[/u][/size] Weezer puts on a rousing, entertaining show which will be sure to have fans singing along and rocking amongst themselves. Setlists span the course of their career, with old favorites prominently featured alongside more recent hits, supplemented by other selections from the band's repertoire and a cover or two - there should be plenty of room for a trick or two up the band's sleeve. On their recent tour, covers included Black Sabbath's "War Pigs," MGMT's "Kids," Lady Gaga's "Poker Face," Radiohead's "Creep" and Pink Floyd's "Time." Some of the band's recent material lends itself to guest appearances; we should not be surprised to see a female singer or rapper join the group during their set. The following songs are among the band's concert staples; expect to see them performed on the farm.
"My Name is Jonas," live in Japan 2002
"Why Bother?/Dope Nose," live 2009
"Undone - the Sweater Song," The Jon Stewart Show 1994
"The Greatest Man That Ever Lived," live 2008
"Perfect Situation," live 2005
"(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To" featuring Sarah Bareilles, live on The Jimmy Kimmel Show 2009
"Hash Pipe," 2001 MTV Movie Awards
"Surf Wax America," live 2002
Cultural Footprint Television Weezer has appeared on shows including Saturday Night Live, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O'Brien, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Yo Gabba Gabba.
Pat Wilson once received a visit at home from Jay Leno during a Jaywalking segment:
Film Brian Bell & Pat Wilson portrayed, respectively, the Velvet Underground's Lou Reed and John Cale in the 2006 film Factory Girl.
Weezer songs have appeared in the films Mallrats, Angus, and the upcoming Shrek Forever After.
Video Games Weezer songs have been featured in Rock Band, three editions of the Guitar Hero series, and DJ Hero.
Tributes/Covers The band's influence can be seen in the variety of ways they have been paid homage. The band's early material has been mashed up with Jay-Z's The Black Album, there exist multiple string quartet tributes, a punk tribute, a Japanese tribute, and more recently a classic video game-styled tribute entitled The 8-Bit Album.
Some famous fans of the band include YACHT (who recently recorded a cover of "Holiday,") the Deftones (known to perform "Say It Ain't So" in concert regularly,) Sugar Ray (who wrote a song, "Rivers," dedicated the band's frontman,) and Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen (who recorded a cover of "Island in the Sun.")
Fun Facts[/u][/size] Rivers Cuomo turns forty on June 13th and may possibly be celebrating the occasion at Bonnaroo. Matt Sharp's overly amorous overtures earned him a reference in the Lush song "Ladykillers." Beavis & Butthead mocked a music video by Brian Bell's previous group, Carnival Art. On the television series The Wonder Years, Paul owned a hamster named Weezer.
Weezer will play Bonnaroo 2010 at the Which Stage @ 7pm on Saturday, June 12th.
A Thieve's Parade 2/24 Conspirator 2/26 Kevin Smith 3/11 Keller 3/17 Papadosio 3/18 JJ Grey 3/25 Bela Fleck/Edgar Meyer 3/26 Toubab Krewe 3/27 O'Death 4/11 Budos Band 4/22 EOTO 4/28 Summer Camp 5/6-29 All Good
Nice job. That's how a band a day should be done. Although doesn't Pat play guitar now and someone else plays drums?
I did mention in the Biography section that the band added Josh Freese as a touring drummer during their 2009 dates... I didn't know if that merited inclusion as an actual member of the band, though. It did lead to more flexibility with instrument/lead vocal sharing, and that's part of it. Part of that is Pat is playing more guitar lately, but not exclusively. They didn't stop in Wisconsin on the Red Album tour, so I went from Foozer 2005 up until this past December without seeing them play. I'm not sure how things typically work with this configuration - I imagine it changes from show to show - but I'm quite curious to find out myself.