Weezer

  • Alternative rock band formed in 1992, from Los Angeles California. Members since the early 2000s are Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Brian Bell (rhythm guitar, keyboards, backing vocals – Bell replaced founding member Jason Cropper), Patrick Wilson (drums, backing vocals), and Scott Shriner (bass guitar, keyboards, backing vocals – Shriner replaced Mikey Welsh in 2001, and Welsh replaced founding member Matt Sharp in 1998). Cuomo is the main songwriter, with occasional contributions from the other members.
  • Frontman Cuomo was raised and went to school at a Hindi monastery in Connecticut. In public high school, he sang in choir and performed in musical theater. He became a member of a glam metal band named Avant Garde. The band moved to Los Angeles when Cuomo was 19 years old, changing their name to Zoom. The following year, the band dissolved, leaving Cuomo to work at a record store, write songs and play in bands. Meanwhile, the other founding members of Weezer played in various short lived bands in LA, including groups called Fuzz and Sixty Wrong Sausages. By 1991, Cuomo and Wilson were working together on a “50 song project,” where their goal was to write 50 new songs. They showed the songs to Sharp and Cropper, and Weezer was officially created in February 1992.
  • Weezer made some demo tapes and performed in local venues. By June of 1993, they signed a record deal. During the recording of the debut album, Cropper was replaced by Bell – Cropper’s girlfriend was pregnant, and apparently this was impacting his focus on the band. The self titled Weezer album (also called The Blue Album) was released in 1994. It quickly gained popularity on alternative rock stations and 3 singles received heavy airplay on MTV – Undone – The Sweater Song, Buddy Holly and Say It Ain’t So (see my August 20, 2017 post on the video for Buddy Holly for more information on this award winning video). All 3 songs reached the top 10 of the Alternative Songs chart, with Buddy Holly peaking at #2. The album was certified 3x platinum in sales.
  • In 1995, Cuomo began writing songs for Weezer’s next album. He wrote about his disillusionment with rock stardom – this led to the Pinkerton album, released in 1996. The album was darker and more abrasive than their debut album. Initially it did not sell well, and critics had mixed reviews of it, but over time it gained a cult status, and it now makes many “Best of” lists. The singles El Scorcho and The Good Life were modest successes on the Alt Songs chart.
  • After Pinkerton, the band went on hiatus. They attempted to record new music in 1998, but creative disagreements among the members derailed their efforts. Finally, a lucrative offer to play at a Japanese music festival in the summer in 2000 led to productivity, and the band played at shows with new songs. Their third album, the self titled Weezer (also called The Green Album), was released in 2001. The song Half Pipe reached #2 and Island In The Sun reached #11 on the Alt Songs chart, and Weezer was back.
  • Weezer released 4 albums between 2002 and 2009, including another self titled Weezer album – called The Red Album. Seven songs from these albums broke into the top 10 on the Alt Songs chart, with Beverly Hills, Perfect Situation and Pork and Beans all topping the chart. Beverly Hills also crossed over into the Hot 100 chart, reaching #10. Pork and Beans garnered Weezer’s only Grammy award, for Best Music Video.
  • The band remained prolific going into the 10s. They released 4 more albums between 2010 and 2017 (including a self titled Weezer White Album). In 2019, self titled Weezer albums (The Teal Album and The Black Album) were released in late January and in early March. Weezer’s cover of Toto’s 1981 hit Africa reached #1 on the Alt Songs chart in 2018 – the song is included in The Teal Album, which consists entirely of covers of hit songs from the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. 2017’s Pacific Daydream album included the song Feels Like Summer which reached #2 on the Alt Songs chart – impressive that Weezer continues to produce relevant alternative songs 25 years after their first hits.
  • Billboard Magazine puts Weezer at #8 of the Greatest Alternative Artists of All Time (based on sales). I’m a big fan – catchy, simple, nerdy songs that are fun. Their videos are all fantastic, and generally hilarious. Here is their Grammy winning video, Pork and Beans. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.