Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Band Has Turned and Left Me Here

As many of you know or may have guessed, I like Weezer. A lot. A whole lot. I've been a fan since 1994. That's 14 years of loyalty.

And it may have come to a bitter end Tuesday night.

I discovered the Blue Album my senior year of high school.
weezer blue album
Produced by Ric Ocasek of The Cars, the album housed all sorts of deliciously upbeat melodic gems with an ever-so-slight pinch of angst. I played that album over and over and over again. The unmistakable intro of "My Name of Jonas" always meant a good time was ahead. I fancied myself as the girl from "No One Else." And "Say It Ain't So" felt as anguished as I felt during my teenage years.

The Blue Album sustained me through my freshman year of college, much to the dismay and eventual delight of my roommates. I totally converted one of my roommates. She, too, became a fan -- a true coup, considering she adored crap like Hootie & the Blowfish.

That roommate accompanied me to my first Weezer concert ever in a little club on Lansdowne Street. There I crowd-surfed for the first time to "Surf Wax America."
You take your car to work
I'll take my board
And when you're out of fuel
I'm still afloat
Could there be a better song for this? I crossed my arms over my chest to protect myself from would-be molesters. I kicked some rowdy people in the head as I drifted over scores of strangers' supporting hands. The lyrics weren't earth-shattering, but the music was loud, and I was deliriously happy, cruising on a sea of people.

It was liberating. I was away from home. This was the beginning of my young adulthood. Weezer was my soundtrack. Anthemic.

A long two years later, Pinkerton arrived. I was intrigued by the cover. So Japanese. So not the Blue Album. Then I listened. And I listened again. And again.
weezer pinkerton
Pinkerton indeed was not at all like the Blue Album. Something happened to Rivers Cuomo. Something bad, something sad. Whatever it was, it made the music amazing and poignant. Pinkerton was not the shiny fun and games that comprised much of the Blue Album. And I loved that. I loved Pinkerton almost as much as I loved the Blue Album but in a very different way.

Critics, however, did not agree with my burgeoning quasi-emo self.

After the commercial failure of Pinkerton, I suffered a long new-Weezer-less dry spell. Word had it that Rivers was now at our college, so I thought, "Hmm. Maybe I'll see him on campus, even if he isn't making new music."

And I did.

I saw him walking down Plympton Street every Tuesday and Thursday morning. We passed each other many times. He wore a full beard and donned somewhat shabby-looking clothing. He walked with a slight limp. He looked like a homeless guy.

All those times I saw him, I never said hello. I figured, with that get-up, surely he wanted privacy. I respected that.

But now I really regret being so polite.

Years passed. I graduated from college with only the Blue Album and Pinkerton in my Weezer arsenal. Yet that was enough for me. There was no question that, even with just two albums, Weezer was my favorite band in the whole wide world.

It wasn't until 2001, the year I graduated from law school, that the Green Album debuted.
weezer green album
By this time, original bassist Matt Sharp had left, and Mikey Welsh assumed the role. This disturbed me a bit. I sensed this could be a pivotal point for the band. "Photograph" and "Island in the Sun" were rather delightful, but I wasn't wowed by the rest of the Green Album. I especially detested "Hash Pipe," which was released as a single and lauded by the know-nothing masses. Ugh. This was a pop-infused meaningless mess. This was not the Weezer I knew and loved.

Still, I kept the faith. I continued going to numerous concerts and listening to my first two babies on heavy rotation. Concerts remained a pleasure, even with the additions from the Green Album.

The year 2002 birthed Maladroit.
weezer maladroit
It made me want to hang myself. Mikey Welsh left the band, and Scott Shriner became the third bassist. I hated and continue to hate this album. Ironically, this tripe was critically acclaimed. Insanity.

Make Believe arrived three years later.
weezer make believe
It was an average offering -- better than Maladroit but nothing remotely close to my favorites. In my book, it was perhaps comparable to the Green Album, and I didn't even like the Green Album that much. I was so starved for new Weezer, though, that I ended up adoring "Perfect Situation" and "This Is Such a Pity." It's hard to say whether these are even good tracks, as the best among crap is really still crap.

I couldn't tell what was good and bad anymore.

And now we have the Red Album. Oh, Red Album, where do I begin? In two words: you suck. Ok, maybe that's too simplistic. After Maladroit, I didn't think the band could sink to new depths. But it did.
weezer red album
My main problem with the Red Album is that other members of the band sing. Hearing anyone other than Rivers Cuomo on a Weezer album is like nails on a chalkboard.

It's grating.
It's unnatural.
It's wrong.

Weezer is not The Beatles. Scott Shriner is not Paul McCartney. Brian Bell is not George Harrison. Pat Wilson is not Ringo Starr.

And even The Beatles knew better than to have Ringo sing excessively.

I liken Weezer to The Cure. The Cure is Robert Smith. Weezer is Rivers Cuomo. Nobody wants to hear anybody in those bands other than Smith and Cuomo. It's not a difficult concept.

Weezer, however, seems not to understand this today or is intent on changing a good thing.

This leads me to the travesty that was Tuesday's concert at The Forum.

Now, I am neither stupid nor unreasonable. I went to Tuesday's concert knowing full well that this was the tour for the horror that is the Red Album. Obviously, the set would showcase those songs. I was ready to sit through all the turds sung by Scott, Brian, and Pat on the Red Album.

The Forum went black. The crowd cheered. My heart filled with bliss when I heard the famous first few bars of "My Name Is Jonas." Then the singing started.

It was fucking Scott Shriner.

I wanted to cry. I wanted to rip my hair out. I wanted to slit my wrists. Vertically. I turned to my brother, and he was just as incredulous and disgruntled. My brother's friend was appalled, too. We were shocked. Angry.

It only got worse from there.

We were completely aghast that Scott sang "My Name Is Jonas," "Perfect Situation," and "Dope Nose," and Brian sang classics like "Susanne" and "El Scorcho." I was especially livid about "Susanne" and "El Scorcho," two of my favorite songs. I dare say that I enjoyed Dashboard Confessional's cover of "El Scorcho" at Rock Band Live on Friday night more than Brian Bell's karaoke version.

That's what it was, really. Karaoke. I didn't pay good money to watch karaoke. And this karaoke was particularly offensive because the real guy who should've sung these songs was standing just a few feet away.

Of course, I hated every single song that Rivers didn't sing. I knew I was going to, and I was ready to weather the Red Album shit. But I wasn't prepared to have my old songs butchered, too.

The worst part of the night was probably Pat's cover of Pink Floyd's "Time." I'm sorry for all the profanity here, but WHAT THE FUCK?! Brother Monkey thought this was a good time to take a bathroom break, as did hundreds of other people.

When I go to a Weezer concert, I do not want to hear the fucking drummer singing Pink Floyd. Can I make this any clearer?

"Undone (The Sweater Song)" was ruined by the guest singing of Angels & Airwaves' Tom DeLonge, and then we had to sit through the ridiculousness of amateur musicians accompanying the band on "Island in the Sun" and "Beverly Hills." I don't even like "Beverly Hills." Trombones, accordions, electric cellos, and maracas made me hate it even more.

Again, I went to see Rivers Cuomo. Rivers Fucking Cuomo. If your name is not Rivers Cuomo, shut your piehole and get off the stage.

Can you feel my rage? Can you? Now imagine it 10 times stronger than what you think it is. Why? Because the thought of at least 75% of the audience thinking this dog-poo of a concert was actually good boiled my blood even more. These people probably didn't even notice that Rivers didn't sing. These people were idiots.


The question now is whether I continue holding out for more greatness, or if I give up after 14 years of loyalty. This is so stupid. But it actually torments me. I don't know if I can handle being any more disappointed than I was Tuesday night.

Very dramatic, yes.

[bigger sigh]

The setlist (starred songs sung solely by Rivers):
My Name Is Jonas
Pink Triangle*
Perfect Situations
Say It Ain't So*
Keep Fishin'
Undone (The Sweater Song)
Pork and Beans
Dope Nose
El Scorcho
Time [by Pink Floyd]
The Greatest Man That Ever Lived
Island in the Sun
Beverly Hills
Sliver [by Nirvana]
Buddy Holly*

Do you see the stars? A measly three stars. Three! Unreal. Argh.

After all this, I owe you some clips, but my clips won't even show you just how awful the concert was because I didn't want to memorialize the mangling.

Here we go....

Pink Triangle. SWOON! Such a rarity that this is performed!

Say It Ain't So. Classic. Weezer at its best.

Susanne. Sung by Brian. I still recorded it because I love this song. It was a B-side that was later featured on the Mallrats album.

Undone (The Sweater Song). This was only amusing because of the trampoline. I fucking hate Tom DeLonge.

The Greatest Man That Ever Lived. I give the band credit for this one. Somehow they pulled this off in concert. Very interesting and impressive, so much so that it merited two clips.

Island in the Sun. Is this Hootenanny nonsense irritating or what?

Buddy Holly. Thank God this was good.

As for the other bands that night, Tokyo Police Club gave an excellent performance. The actual music of Angels & Airwaves was great, but Tom DeLonge's voice remains as terrible and nasal as ever. He also dances like a flamboyant ape who doesn't understand the notion of rhythm.

I don't know what else to say. The concert pained me greatly. It was like a huge Fuck You to longtime fans.


  1. In further evidence of the dopplegangerness, Susanne is my favorite Weezer song, and Pinkerton is my favorite Weezer album. It's a sad sad day. I feel your pain, except I didn't spend the good money to realize an end of an era has passed. Viva the Mallrats soundtrack!

    Also, I am one of the millions of visitors that visit your blog regularly. :)

  2. Wow, I'm sorry. How very disappointing.

    I remember how much I loved the Blue Album back in high school. (Still do.) But for some reason I never have heard Pinkerton, only some random songs off Make Believe and the Green Album. I'll have to check that one (Pinkerton) out.

  3. Awwwww. I'm really angry for you. After 14 years of following you deserve better than this. A band should be getting better every year, not worse.

  4. I am now very glad I didn't go to the St. Paul concert.

  5. :( :( this makes me very sad for you.

  6. Very sad. I totally understand your disappointment -- this happened to me years ago with a different band, and now I almost never listen to their albums that I loved, and haven't been to one of their concerts in 15 years.

  7. "'Undone (The Sweater Song)' was ruined by the guest singing of Angels & Airwaves' Tom DeLonge"

    And I died :x

    Since the green album, I have acknowledged that I don't like Weezer (as a band). I like the blue album and Pinkerton. I have hated everything else. I didn't think it could get worse than Beverly Hills, but then it did with the new one on the radio. Ugh!

    Also, in my friend's FB profile one of his interests is "explaining why I used to love Weezer but hate them now"

  8. Your writing has succeeded at making me feel complete rage for a group I previously knew nothing about.

    Poop on them!

  9. That totally blows. I'm sorry it sucked. I'm pissed off for you.

  10. what jane said. and amber, too.

    actually, the only thing i ever knew about weezer was that they sang that "buddy holly" song that used "happy days" for the video.

    sorry, dude.

  11. Your coverage saved me a trip. I haven't purchased an album since Green. (Talk about fuck you. Make us wait all those years and give us less than 30 FUCKING MINUTES OF MUSIC?!?)
    I saw them between Pinkerton (my fav) and Green. It was depressing then, too.
    Rivers is an asshole.
    If you love charismatic front men, have you listened to the Pixies or Frank Black solo? Love em.

  12. Does this mean that you're gonna change your name? JK ;( I think you would've had more fun at the NKOTB concert :) :)

  13. Wow. That sounds worse than I ever could have imagined. I'm outraged at Weezer on your behalf.

    I understand your sense of disappointment and "what now" predicament. I went through the same thing with a different band. I eventually gave up on them. :-(

  14. I am sad and angry for you and I don't love any band as much as you love Weezer. It seems like you've supported a band that's only given you two albums you really like over the last 14 years. You'll always have Blue and Pinkerton.

  15. That sucks, I'm sorry. As I was reading, I wondered how many songs DID Rivers Cuomo sing? And you provided a list, which was helpful and also added to my disappointment on your behalf.

    FWIW, although I don't know much about Weezer, I also despised Hash Pipe.

  16. how you feel after the concert is exactly how i felt on saturday after the game.

  17. How disappointing! As a huge DMB fan, I know how upsetting it is when you don't get what you know the band is worth... when you get a shitty album... when you're left wondering if the greatness of your band will ever reappear...

    Sorry you had to suffer through it. Geez, you're on a roll... crappy Dodger games and now this?

    Stay home tonight :)

  18. weezer was one of my fave bands in high school + college, but i have been indifferent about them since the green album. it sounds like the concert was a new low. :-( cheer up -- there are lots of fantastic bands out there that deserve your loyalty!

  19. i loved "susanne" in mallrats when it showed the monkeys. lol

    other then that. eff weezer and their river-less songs at concerts

  20. To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, you never left Weezer. Weezer left you. What do you think will happen to their fan base?

  21. well, i feel your pain. i'm as angry as you are. i don't understand what happened to my 90s music heroes--there are quite a few who have done me wrong over the years. i feel like you do about weezer, a huge part of my coming-of-age years... same with liz. but i think rivers is self-destructive. he's ruining his genius.
    i have to say, though, that i'm jealous you heard pink triangle and suzanne. that's my sister's name and i sing it to her all the time.
    i still love make believe. i feel like it was a return to old weezer. but green album, maladroit, and especially the red album can suck it. and i definitely DO NOT understand anyone singing but rivers, occasionally backed up by brian.

  22. Ugh. This is the worst. I know exactly what it's like to live and breathe a band only to be horribly let down when they falter in such a disappointing way. But you'll always have that true-blue first love.
    Random question: did you go to Harvard? (Ever see bands play at The Middle East?)
    :) Robin
    cinnamon & honey

  23. Wow.

    Dude, I am SO outraged for you. I so know how you feel. This really, really blows. I'm sorry. :-(

  24. I read this aloud to the guy who shouts over my shoulder and watched him nod in agreement at every paragraph. And then we got to the set list and the stars and he started swearing too. He wants you to post this on their website. Hopefully before tomorrow night if that's not too much trouble for you. He keeps insisting we're going to have a good time anyway and he's a bit relieved that Tokyo Police Club were good.

  25. Oof, that really sucks. Only three songs? Really?!

    That said, I really enjoyed this post and hearing your take on the Weezer evolution. I'm just sorry for you it ended this way.

  26. I didn't really understand any of that, but I liked that last sentence.

  27. You just put my EXACT feelings about these guys into words.

    "Hash Pipe" totally sucked.

  28. This makes me sad. Like you, I was a big fan at the beginning -- I was even a member of the Weezer fan club back when Carli sent out the newsletter that had all of the fans' names and addresses in the back.

    I am a far less loyal fan, though. Although the Green Album was good, the Blue Album is the only true Weezer album, IMHO.

    Sorry the concert was a let down. :(

  29. I am sorry :(

    When we attended the concert here in Saint Paul, it was my first Weezer concert and Tim's third or fourth.

    He is the huge Weezer fan, I like Angels and Airwaves and Tom (ducking my head in shame). A&A was HORRIBLE. I was very disappointed.

    Tim thought that Weezer was ok, except for all songs off of the red album but Troublemaker. It was actually painful listening to the one guy sing. Painful.

    My favorite W singalongsong is "Pink Triangle" so that made me happy. Tim's is "Surf Wax America" and he was left hanging, although "Suzanne" was a good consolation prize.

    I read somewhere that one of the reasons for Weezer's long time between albums and especially leading up to the red album is that Rivers is so uncomfortable being the leading man in the band. By having the other members sing, he is relieved of some of the pressure and is more into writing/recording/touring. Not sure if that's true, but it doesn't seem to be going in a direction that makes the longtime fans happy.

    I like the pp who said that you aren't leaving Weezer, Weezer has left you. What a bummer.

  30. i not into music like you are so not sure what to say. expect wah!

  31. I'm sorry to hear that. I read the Register article the next day - they said the concert was 'weird.'

    It's very frustrating that the band's desire to cure apparent boredom was more important to them than their fans...


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