an Epitaph for Rivers Cuomo & Co.
BY RON HART
Having signed to stalwart California punk label Epitaph Records for
their eighth full-length – Hurley, released
last week and featuring Lost star
Jorge Garcia on the cover no less – Weezer officially joins the ranks of
indiedom following a lengthy run in the majors. (Read the BLURT review of the
album here.) We exchanged electronic transmissions with enigmatic frontman
Rivers Cuomo about the new record, the deluxe edition reissue of 1996’s Pinkerton and more. While a number of
his responses were clearly crafted on autopilot (leading up to the Hurley release, Cuomo did a slew of
interviews via email, often echoing comments from one session in another), he
did offer a few candid peeks at the inner workings of his band – and his brain.
BLURT: The news of you guys recording an album and jumping
from Geffen to Epitaph was kept under wraps quite well. How did you guys pull
that off in this day and age?
RIVERS CUOMO: We’ve
got all kinds of secrets up our sleeves. We know our fans love to be
surprised from time to time with good news.
What was the reason behind making the move to Epitaph?
They offered us an incredible record deal, and we felt that Brett
Gurewitz was somebody who really appreciated alternative rock, and that it
would be a good match culturally.
What are some of the key differences behind making this new
record at Epitaph vs. recording for Geffen?
We had a smaller budget to record but weezer doesn’t need a ton of
money to sound great.
How did you guys go about approaching this new record in
comparison to how you wrote and recorded your last couple of albums?
previous response…Let’s leave this one unanswered.
Rather than repeat the same answer to the same question in every interview it
is probably better to leave it out of some.
Did working on this deluxe edition reissue of Pinkerton harbor any kind of inspiration
sonically for the new record?
when we were working on the bonus material for the Pinkerton Deluxe Edition, I got to go in and listen to those
sessions, those multitrack sessions, and it was really inspiring to hear that
kind of energy and emotion, and how beautiful it can sound when it’s just the
band running through the song in the studio, and we couldn’t help but be
reminded of how great that can be.
What are your thoughts on Pinkerton 15 years later? How has your perception of it changed?
I think it’s a totally brilliant and super strong unique personal statement,
which is exactly how I felt about when we made it.
In going through the Pinkerton outtakes, was there anything left off the original LP that you felt should
have made the cut?
one song called “Tragic Girl” that is as good as any song on Pinkerton, and better than quite a few
of them. It certainly could have earned a spot on the record. I was
unsure about a few details in the song, and getting away from it for many years
and coming back to it in the studio recently, I was able to hear clearly how
those details should be resolved. I took care of it, and now it finally
gets to be released.
Did you guys collaborate with Matt Sharp at all on the Pinkerton reissue? [Founding member and bassist
Sharp left the band following the release of and subsequent tour for Pinkerton.]
What kinds of stuff can we expect on your forthcoming Odds & Ends b-sides compilation?
first of all, it’s been officially titled now: Death to False Metal. And these are the oddest songs that Weezer
has ever recorded. Either too weird, too quirky, too heavy metal, too pop, or
too something-or-other to have made the cut for any of Weezer’s seven Geffen
records. So it’s fitting that now they all have a home together.
What is your all-time favorite punk album on Epitaph and
Smash by The Offspring.