Tickets for weezer's first Australian tour in 16 years go on sale today, and to celebrate, we caught up with the band themselves - (L-R: bassist Scott Schriner, frontman Rivers Cuomo, drummer Pat Wilson & guitarist Brian Bell) to pick their favourite moments of their colourful, two-decade long career.
Rivers - "First rehearsal in ’92" "Jason was naked" recalls Rivers Cuomo of weezer's first ever rehearsal 20 years ago. The nude member in question being Jason Cropper, the band's original rythm guitarist and founding member. Cuomo's over favourite moment came not long after, "our first meeting with the record company, when, at the very least, we knew we were going to get a record deal, and be able to make a record."
Pat - "Finding our record at the local mall on the day it was released" Released on May 10, 1994 - weezer's self-titled album, now colloquially known as The Blue Album, was the album that arguably kick-started the 'geek rock' phenomenon and most certainly the band's career; spawning popular singles 'Buddy Holly', 'Undone - The Sweater Song' and fan-favourite, 'Say It Ain't So'. It's also the album that weezer will be playing in full for their 2013 Australian Tour.
Rivers - "Hearing 'Undone' for the first time on radio" Drummer Pat Wilson fondly recalls hearing their song "for the first time in our truck on (radio station) KROQ in Los Angeles." 'Undone' remains one of the most enduring songs in weezer's catalogue, but Rivers has noted it was originally intended to be "a sad song"; about "the feeling you get when the train stops and the little guy comes knockin' on your door. It was supposed to be a sad song, but everyone thinks it's hilarious."
Pat - "Meeting Spike Jonze" The alternative filmmaker would go on to direct some of weezer's most iconic videos (including 'Buddy Holly' and 'Island In the Sun'), but Jonze first worked with the band on the quirky video for 'Undone - The Sweater Song'. Filmed in a single unbroken take featuring band silliness and dogs being unleashed on set.
Brian "The vocal harmonies" Lead guitarist Brian Bell recalls how the band took harmony classes in their early days, "I am also very fond of the way Weezer used to rehearse around a piano for about 5 hours a day," to focus on their barbershop quartet harmonies. They used to perform "homework songs", such as the early B-side 'My Evaline', " I wish we still gave our vocals that much attention to detail," says Bell.
Brian - "weezer fan picnic" Bell's favourite memory? "Anytime that I got a glimmer of what it must have been like to be in the Beatles," says the guitarist, "from being chased by a crying 14 year old girl at Weezer’s first fan club picnic, to having to escape a crowd in Germany by climbing out of a fire escape onto a rooftop!"
Pat - "Having Fonzie acknowledge me in 'Buddy Holly'" Using a combination of archive footage and clever visual trickery, director Spike Jonze managed to insert weezer into an episode of 70s TV show, Happy Days. As the house band for Arnold Drive-In Diner, the band stole hearts and won the respect of The Fonz. Wilson also counts "having Henry Winkler introduce us onstage" at a later show as another career highlight.
Scott - "The release of 'Hash Pipe'" Bassist Scott Shriner wasn't technically in the band when they released 'Hash Pipe', with Mikey Welsh providing bass for the band's long-awaited third album - the eponymous 2001 release known as The Green Album. Its lead single, 'Hash Pipe' - along with the sumo-starring video - became one of the band's most commercially successful hits.
Rivers - "Making the 'Island in the Sun' video with the animals" Returning to work with director Spike Jonze for a third time, the music video for weezer's 2001 feel-good hit was prompted by the executives at MTV, who disliked the original version from Marcos Siega of a Mexican wedding. You need only see Jonze's adorable footage to see why the weezer frontman is so fond of it!
Scott - "Making a video for The Muppets" Longtime fans of Henson's creations, the band finally got the chance to work with The Muppets in 2002, for the single, 'Keep Fishin'. In the video drummer Pat Wilson is captured by Miss Piggy, while the band struggle to contain the joy on their faces as they play for Kermit, Fozzy, Gonzo and the rest of the loveable crew.
Scott - "Meeting Rick Rubin" The epicly-bearded producer sat behind the desk for weezer's 2005 LP, Make Believe. He even called frontman Rivers Cuomo a wellspring of songs, "he writes more than anyone I've ever met." High praise coming from someone who's worked with music's biggest names - from Johnny Cash to Jay-Z and the Chili Peppers. Adding that Cuomo's creative methods were prolific: "There was a period where I would get a new CD from him every day with one or more songs."
Scott - "Headlining Lollapalooza" Shriner nominates the band's 2005 headline slot at the touring festival as a 'warm n' fuzzy' moment in his career. With a lineup that included the legendary Pixies, an on the rise Death Cab For Cutie and The Killers.
Scott - "Touring with the Foo Fighters" In 2005, the two rock bands embarked on a nation co-headline tour dubbed 'Foozer'. Dave Grohl also took the opportunity to play several pranks on Rivers Cuomo and co. Including sending several male exotic dancers onstage during an encore, each with a letter spelling out weezer on their chests. In kind, weezer began covering 'Big Me'...
Scott - "Release of the 'Red Album'" The third of weezer's self-titled albums, again dubbed by fans as simply The Red Album, the band's sixth record - released in 2008 - was the first in which the other band member's had a chance at recording lead vocals. In fact, both Brian Bell and Pat Wilson were frontmen in their own side-projects for years, in the form of The Space Twins and The Special Goodness respectively.
Brian - "The Wuggie" The ultimate bit of merchandise for the discerning fan, the weeze snuggie or 'The Wuggie', was introduced in 2009. "The people at Snuggie are doing it with us and promoting it," enthused Cuomo at the time, "it's a totally legit Snuggie!" The quartet even recorded a hokey, 3am-worthy infomercial for their 'luxury item'.
Scott - "Making a video for Jackass 3" Shriner counts the 2010 video featuring the stunt shock-jock team amongst his favourite career moments. Released in the wake of the death of Jackass member Ryan Dunn, the video for 'Memories' features footage from the movie Jackass 3D as well as the cast on backing vocals.
Scott - "Representing the USA soccer team with 'Represent'" Originally written as the unofficial theme for the US Men's Soccer team and released on the deluxe version of 2010 album, Hurley; 'Represent' was eventually adopted by the football squad as the anthem it was intended. With a chorus of "It matters how you play the game/It matters that you can take the pain"
Brian - "Ukelele at Bonnaroo" Another fond memory for Bell? "There’s the weird memories like being interviewed in Spain by a famous transvestite to having a guest ukulele player on stage at the Bonnaroo festival who was playing in the wrong tuning." The group's 2010 setlist featured not only a wonky uke, but an encore that included a mashup of MGMT's 'Kids' with Lady Gaga's 'Poker Face'.
Rivers - "80s prom night on the Weezer Cruise" Earlier this year, weezer sailed on the Carnival Destiny between Miami and the Gulf of Mexico, with bands (Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh, The Antlers), events (midnight movies, diary readings, Q&As) and very special themed parties. Rivers' favourite? prom night, where he dressed up in full sea-boat captain regalia.
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