Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The band formed on February 14th, 1992 in Los Angeles, California with original members Rivers Cuomo (pronounced KWOH-mo), Patrick Wilson, Matt Sharp, and Jason Cropper. Five weeks later they had their first gig, opening for Dogstar (featuring Keanu Reeves) at Raji's Bar and Ribshack on Hollywood Boulevard. Weezer began playing clubs to small audiences around L.A. and recording home-demos. Soon the band began to receive attention from various A&R reps, and was signed on June 25, 1993 by Todd Sullivan, an A&R rep from Geffen Records. The band was signed onto the DGC label (later became Interscope).
The Blue Album
The band began recording their debut album in late August 1993 at Electric Lady Studios in New York City. Ric Ocasek, former singer/songwriter for The Cars, was chosen as producer. After the recording of the album, guitarist Jason Cropper was fired from the band by Cuomo. Cropper was replaced by guitarist Brian Bell, a former member of the band Carnival Art. Cropper's guitar parts were rerecorded by Cuomo, and Bell replaced Cropper's vocals. The recording of the album finished in early October 1993, and the band headed back to L.A.
On May 10, 1994, Weezer released their self-titled album, which became known as The Blue Album (see 1994 in music). The Blue Album included the hit singles "Buddy Holly," "Undone (The Sweater Song)," and "Say it Ain't So." The video of "Buddy Holly" was included on the CD-ROM of Windows 95.
In late December, 1994, Weezer took a break from touring for the Christmas holiday. Rivers Cuomo traveled back east to his home state of Connecticut, and using an eight-track recorder, he began piecing together demo material for Weezer's next album. Coumo's original concept for Weezer's sophmore effort was to be a space-themed rock opera, Songs from the Black Hole. The album would feature songs that flowed together seamlessly, and end with a special coda that briefly revisited the major musical elements of the piece. The band began demoing and working on Rivers' concept through intermittent recording sessions in the spring and summer of 1995. Ultimately, the Songs from the Black Hole album concept was dropped, but many of the songs from the sessions were used on their second album.
Weezer's sophomore effort, Pinkerton, was released on September 24, 1996 The album was given lackluster reviews by critics (see 1996 in music), and sales of the album were low compared to their debut. The title of the album was inspired by a character in the opera Madame Butterfly written by one of Cuomo's favorite operatic composers, Giacomo Puccini. Songs like "The Good Life" and "El Scorcho" were scribed during Cuomo's time at Harvard, and feature personal reflections on the change from rock star to anonymous student. From an industry perspective, the album was not originally seen as a critical or financial success . Over the years, the album grew in popularity, and is often now pointed out by major rock critics as an alternative rock masterpiece. Rolling Stone Magazine, which in 1996 labeled Pinkerton the Worst Album of the Year, updated their view in 2004 and inducted Pinkerton into its Album Hall of Fame, giving a brand new five-star review rating.
Weezer completed their touring for Pinkerton in the summer of 1997. The members of the band took a break, with drummer Patrick Wilson returning to his home in Portland, Oregon to work on his side project, The Special Goodness, Matt Sharp left to complete the follow-up album for his group The Rentals, and Brian Bell went to work on his group The Space Twins.
Rivers Cuomo returned to Boston, but dropped out of Harvard to focus on songwriting. He formed a solo group, The Rivers Cuomo Band. Cuomo used the group to try out songs intended for the next Weezer album. The band played their first show at T.T. the Bear's on October 8, 1997. Future Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh was part of the solo band's line-up. The Boston songs were later abandoned and not used on the next Weezer album, but live recordings of the Boston shows are openly traded on the internet. In February of 1998, Rivers left Boston and Harvard academia behind and returned to Los Angeles.
Pat Wilson and Brian Bell joined Cuomo in L.A. to start work on the next album. Matt Sharp did not rejoin the band, and officially left the group in April of 1998. The group decided on Mikey Welsh as Sharp's replacement. Weezer continued rehearsal and cut demos until the fall of 1998. Frustration and creative disagreements led to a decline in rehearsals, and in late fall of 1998, drummer Pat Wilson left for his home in Portland pending renewed productivity from Cuomo.
The band would not reunite until April of 2000, when the Fuji Fesitval in Japan offered Weezer a high-paying gig to play in August, 2000. The festival served as a catalyst for Weezer's productivity, and from April to May, 2000, the band rehearsed and demoed new songs in Los Angeles. The band returned to live shows in June, 2000, but without the Weezer name. Instead the shows featured the group's first use of the pseudonym Goat Punishment.
On June 23, 2000, the band, now back under the Weezer name, joined the Warped Tour for eight planned dates. Weezer was well-received at the festival, leading them to book more tour dates for the summer.
Eventually, the band went back into the studio to produce a third album. Weezer (2001) was self-titled again to signify a sort of rebirth for Weezer. This album quickly became known as The Green Album. Shortly after the release of The Green Album, Weezer went on another American tour, attracting many new fans along the way. A fourth album, Maladroit, was released in 2002 (see 2002 in music), and served as a departure from the catchy pop-influenced music of The Green Album. In the summer and early fall of 2004, the members of Weezer recorded a large amount of material intended for a new album to be released in the spring of 2005. The first single off the new album, "Beverly Hills" was released on March 29, 2005. The new album, Make Believe, will be released on May 10th.
Weezer has also played several shows under the pseudonym Goat Punishment. Their first shows under the pseudonym featured the new Weezer lineup (now featuring Mikey Welsh) playing covers of songs by Nirvana and Oasis. Later the name Goat Punishment was used while the members of Weezer recorded a show for the HBO concert series, Reverb.
Weezer is also very well known for their music videos. While "Undone (The Sweater Song)" was big on MTV, it was the Spike Jonze-directed "Buddy Holly" video, which used footage from various episodes of Happy Days, that made them pop icons. The video is akin to other defining videos of the 90s such as Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight," because all three of these videos helped the artists reach an audience not often reached by alternative rock bands. However, Weezer's Pinkerton videos didn't obtain as much airtime compare the videos on their major label debut album. The music video for "Hash Pipe" off of the The Green Album featured sumo wrestlers. They then recorded two videos for "Island in the Sun," the first focusing on a Mexican wedding, and the second involving Weezer with animals in a wildlife reserve. Their video for "Photograph" had heavy rotation on Much Music USA (now Fuse). Maladroit's "Dope Nose" featured people riding motorcyles and it was put into a rather regular rotation. The following music video for "Keep Fishin'" combined Weezer with The Muppets and had heavy rotation on MTV.
In March of 2004, Weezer released their first DVD. Titled "Video Capture Device", the DVD contains all of their current music videos, live concerts, and homemade movies. The DVD hit hard on the DVD compilation charts and was declared "Gold" on November 8, 2004.
As of July 2002, Weezer had sold more than 5,000,000 copies of their albums.
The band currently consists of the following members:
- Rivers Cuomo — vocals, guitar
- Brian Bell — backing vocals, guitar
- Scott Shriner — backing vocals, bass (since Maladroit)
- Patrick Wilson — drums
- Jason Cropper — guitar (up to September, 1993)
- Matt Sharp — bass (on The Blue Album and Pinkerton)
- Mikey Welsh — bass (on The Green Album)
- Weezer, a.k.a. "The Blue Album" (May 10, 1994) - #23 UK
- Pinkerton (September 24, 1996)
- Weezer, a.k.a. "The Green Album" (May 15, 2001) - #31 UK
- Maladroit (May 14, 2002) - #16 UK
- The Lion and the Witch — a live EP, recorded during the Maladroit tour in Japan (September 24, 2002)
- Make Believe (May 10 2005)
- Undone (The Sweater Song) (1994) - #35 UK
- Buddy Holly (1994) - #12 UK
- Say It Ain't So (1995) - #37 UK
- El Scorcho (1996) - #50 UK
- The Good Life (1997)
- Hash Pipe (2001) - #21 UK
- Island in the Sun (2001) - #31 UK
- Dope Nose (2002)
- Keep Fishin' (2002) - #29 UK
- Beverly Hills (2005) - #13 US
- Jamie appears on the compilation album DGC Rarities, Vol. 1 .
- Suzanne is a song by Weezer of the Mallrats movie soundtrack.
- An extensive library of rare Weezer recordings can be found at WeezerNation.com in the Media section.
- Homie (side project of guitarist Rivers Cuomo)
- The Rentals (band of former bassist Matt Sharp)
- The Special Goodness (side project of drummer Patrick Wilson)
- Space Twins (side project of guitarist Brian Bell)
- Ozma (opened for Weezer on several occasions, including the Outloud and Maladroit tours)
- Avant Garde (pre-Weezer Rivers Cuomo band, 80's metal band, later renamed to Zoom)
- Zoom (pre-Weezer Rivers Cuomo metal band, name changed from Avant Garde, band based in Los Angeles)
- Official site
- Weezer Media Archive - official media resource
- Rivers Cuomo
- Matt Sharp
- The Space Twins
- The Special Goodness
- Weezer Bandnews
- Bornbackwards review
- Weezer Picture Archive
- Across The Sea - for french fan
- Make Believe
John D. Luerseen: Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story (2004), ISBN 1550226193 An unofficial history of all things Weezer up to the year 2004.
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