Weezer (formed 1992)
Weezer is an American alternative pop-rock band. The original line-up of the band was: Rivers Cuomo on guitar and vocals, Matt Sharp on bass and backing vocals, Patrick Wilson on drums and backing vocals Jason Cropper on guitar and backing vocals. Matt Sharp was later replaced by Mikey Welsh, who himself was replaced by Scott Shriner.
Weezer: The Early Years
After forming in 1992, Weezer played their first gig as the opening band for Keanu Reeves' Dogstar. Their debut album was produced by Ric Ocasek at the legendary Electric Lady Studios in New York.
Weezer was released in May 1994, with 'Undone - The Sweater Song' being the first single. Spike Jonze directed the video for the single, which became hugely popular on MTV.
The second single from Weezer was 'Buddy Holly.' Jonze directed this video as well, which spliced footage from Happy Days, the 1970s sitcom, with footage of the band playing in the setting of the diner from the series. The third single was 'Say It Ain't So.'
The second Weezer album was titled Pinkerton and was released in September 1996. In comparison to the success of the first album, Pinkerton performed badly.
Following the release of Pinkerton, the band disbanded temporarily and its members followed up their various side projects; Matt Sharp returned to The Rentals, Patrick Wilson worked on The Special Goodness and Brian Bell worked with his group Space Twins. Rivers Cuomo returned to Boston and put together The Rivers Cuomo Band, which played a number of gigs, with Mikey Welsh being a constant member of the ever-changing lineup.
In April 2000, Weezer were offered a lucrative deal to play the Fuji Festival. This spurred on a renewed creativity for the band. For a while, they only played under the name Goat Punishment but returned to using Weezer when they joined the Vans Warped Tour.
In 2001, the band released another album entitled Weezer. The debut would soon become known as 'The Blue Album' and the latter as 'The Green Album', due to their distinctive colouring. The singles 'Hash Pipe' and 'Island In the Sun' proved to be hits for the band.
Scott Shriner filled in for Mikey Welsh in 2001 when Welsh went AWOL and later checked into a psychiatric hospital.
Maladroit, the band's fourth studio album, was released in 2002 and was met with positive reviews, if not as many sales as its predecessor. The band released the singles 'Dope Nose' and 'Keep Fishin'', the video to which featured The Muppets.
In May 2005, Weezer released Make Believe. The album received a mixed response from the music press and online music communities. Due to MTV refusing to play the song, Weezer changed the title and lyrics of 'We Are All On Drugs' to 'We Are All In Love.'
In 2007, Rivers Cuomo released a number of home recordings, including the songs that never made it onto Weezer's second album. The release was called Alone: the Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo.
Weezer released a third album entitled Weezer in 2008. This one is known alternatively as the Red Album. The album features Rick Rubin on production and songwriting credits to band members other than Cuomo.
Weezer: Online Ventures
In September 2008, Weezer fans launched a site called Weezerpedia, a take on the popular encyclopedic site Wikipedia. Weezerpedia is an online community site based on facts about the band. In-depth articles about the band are included, as well as song lyrics and details of side projects.
Many years ago, I was working in a recording studio with a guy who'd engineered Weezer's classic 1996 album 'Pinkerton'. On learning of his involvement with the record - a longtime favourite of mine - I probed the guy to spill the anecdotal beans on what it was like to work with the band and to be involved in such a project. He said that it was a thoroughly pleasant experience but that one thing he always remembered about it was that when he and Rivers Cuomo were playing around with guitar tones and effects, Rivers would be cranking out old Slayer riffs and doing some serious skiddly-widdle shred. I was very surprised to hear this, mainly due to the relatively straight-forward style of the band's music, and I wondered why Rivers had never let this 'metal-axe-god' element really come through in Weezer's music, particularly since he apparently is highly proficient in this area. I guess he just likes to keep his cards close to his chest.
Fast forward to Weezer's new record entitled 'Everything Will Be Alright in the End' - their 9th! - and Rivers still seems to leave everyone second-guessing about where the band is going to venture next, at least sonically speaking. For years, a large portion of the band's fanbase have hoped that Weezer would one day return to the crushing overblown despair and triumph of 'Pinkerton' but instead the band have stayed in fairly safe territory over the last few albums, generally sticking to the saccharine pop formula perhaps better associated with the two self-titled albums. Perhaps sensing that they had been treading increasingly shallow water with the last two - 2009's 'Raditude' and the following year's 'Hurley' - 'Everything Will Be Alright in the End' marks quite a departure into unexpected theatrical 'rock musical' territory.
Irregular Weezer collaborator Ric Ocasek has returned to the producer's chair behind the desk on this one, perhaps to inject the record with some of the spark and vivaciousness they'd lost in recent years. Opener 'Ain't Got Nobody' is pleasant enough - pretty typical Weezer fare - and the production is killer. Really powerful and, in contrast with most major-label rock records made in Los Angeles in 2014, they actually just sound like a band playing in a room. The second jam and lead single 'Back to the Shack' is an early low-point on the album, revisiting the kind of mid-paced 'Weezer arena-arm-waving' vibe a la 'Beverly Hills'. They pull it all back together with 'Eulogy for a Rock Band', however, which hints at the odder, positively Eurovision-istic moments to feature later in the record. There follows, a double whammy of two unprepossessing pop tunes which you wouldn't be surprised to hear in some Jason Segal movie or such.
Continue reading: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End Album Review
Ex-Weezer bassist Matt Sharp and his collaborative band The Rentals re-group with The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and unveil new album 'Lost In Alphaville'.
Newly signed to Polyvinyl Records, Matt Sharp's pop supergroup The Rentals are back after fifteen years with a new line-up featuring The Black Keys' Patrick Carney and their brand new album 'Lost In Alphaville'.
The Rentals are back with 'Lost In Alphaville'
The Rentals are the latest addition to the Polyvinyl roster, along the likes of Xiu Xiu, Generationals and Japandroids, with a line-up that has been shaken up and now includes Matt Sharp from Weezer, The Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, Lucius vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig, Ozma frontman Ryen Slegr and The Section Quartet viola player Lauren Chipman. Like a revolving door, artists are constantly leaving and joining the band with Sharp making an effort to surround himself with a variety of new musicians with each release. With Patrick Carney and the Lucius girls becoming some of the latest members, the new set-up seems especially exciting.
Continue reading: The Rentals Are Back With Members Of The Black Keys And Lucius [Listen]
Weezer - Budweiser presents Made In America Festival 2014, the event was founded by American rapper Jay-Z the even is held in Philadelphia and L.A. - Los Angeles, California, United States - Sunday 31st August 2014
We hit the Minnesota music scene in the run-up to Jay-Z's new summer festival.
Budweiser Made In America Press Conference at Los Angeles City Hall on April 16, 2014 in Los Angeles, California - Photo by Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Budweiser
Budweiser Made in America festival is on its way and, to celebrate, the beer brand unveil a series of music documentaries in different States: this week we explore Minnesota!
Being such a huge part of the world, America has always borne a massively diverse music ethos. In almost every part of the country you can come across a different musical culture and it's with this idea in mind that world famous rap star Jay-Z decided to create Budweiser Made in America festival. It's sole purpose is to bring together a choice selection of both up-and-coming and well-established artists spanning all genres including rock, hip hop, R&B, electronic, punk... the list goes on.
Metallica are choosing to replicate Jay Z in performing a version of Wonderwall at their Glastonbury headline slot, but what are the best Oasis covers?
In a similar fashion to the announcement of Jay Z in 2008, metal titans Metallica’s headline slot at the iconic Glastonbury Festival has been met with a wave of criticism and derision from commentators who have deemed the Metallica’s headline position as both a lazy, predictable booking and one that is incompatible with Glastonbury’s demographic. However, whereas criticism towards Jay Z in the vein of what was unleashed by the Gallagher brothers was a scathing attack on hip hop as a genre, laced with a degree of barely concealed racism, Metallica’s backlash largely stems from elsewhere.
Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher performing at the Universal Ampitheatre in 2000. [Photo: Getty Images, Credit: Dan Callister]
Firstly, this is a band that hasn’t produced an album of any merit for well over a decade and what’s more, considering they were announced long after tickets had sold out, how many of Glastonbury’s middle class bohemians will actually want to watch the band? Metallica have themselves responded to the criticism by announcing they may open their set with a cover of “Wonderwall”, copying Jay Z’s act of protest back in 2008. However, it does appear that Jay Z’s version carried a greater amount of symbolism, given that it was the Gallagher brothers who were the most vocal opponents of his appearance.
Music Midtown is growing once again with a new stage and a bigger and better line-up.
It looks like Atlanta's Music Midtown festival is on its way back up as 2013 brings us the biggest line-up since its return from a six year hiatus.
We are back to where we started with Midtown, which takes place on September 10th - 21st at Piedmont Park, as we see a 2 day, 2 stage event just like its debut in 1994. We've still got a long way to go before it's back at its peak with 3 days and 6 stages, but the line-up hasn't far off doubled from last year and another stage has been added too. The excitement when it was announced that Midtown was making its return in 2011 is hard to beat, but we reckon this year's line-up could reel in an even more impressive overall ticket sale.
Continue reading: Music Midtown Festival Continues To Grow After Successful Rebirth