Every nerdy, indie, glasses-wearing music snob has something to say about Weezer, good and bad. The band's sound hasn't so much changed since its first two releases as much as its fans' tastes have. Drummer Patrick Wilson explains this, one of the great musical mysteries of all time.
"I wonder sometimes about it," he says of the phenomenon. "Sometimes if you go online, five people saying something can feel like the entire world. I really don't know what to think about it."
Wilson muses, "Let's say you're a fan of the first couple of records; I think it'd be weird to remain a fan and not like any of the other records, and that's kind of what they've done. They'll find songs on the later records that they like. I think just being around this long, any band is going to have people saying lots of different things about them." And they've definitely been around a long time.
Oddly, for all of the shit talking on the web, Weezer has, if anything, regained and retained steam over the past decade. After the immense success of 1994's Weezer, also known as The Blue Album -- which Wilson says is his favorite -- and the release of Pinkerton soon after, the band fell off for a period. If memory serves (and it may not), we remember reading that frontman Rivers Cuomo hated Pinkerton. "I think he sort of intended it to be looked at a certain way, and then when it didn't do as well as The Blue Album initially, I think he probably felt like it was a failure," Wilson says. "But ironically, our most fervent fans think of that as our best album."
Though the drummer hasn't written much for Weezer since the first album and claims to hate writing songs, he still helms his own alt-rock act, the Special Goodness. He just released a fourth album, Natural, with this other project and admits he's thinking about placing the songs for free on his website. "I'm just excited if anybody listens to it and digs it," he says. "It's a weird thing about modern life. It's a weird thing to hear an album that's start-to-finish rad.
"I kind of like the way the Smiths used to do it. They were constantly recording, and then, every once in a while, they'd gather a bunch of their singles and call it a record." So he won't be making any rock operas soon? "I thought about writing a concept record about how there aren't any bands that I really love anymore," he laughs, then considers the weight of this statement and adds: "The pendulum swings both ways. It's just a matter of time. Once the kids start realizing that dubstep's just not that cool."
He admits to having an affection for certain electronic acts, like Boards of Canada, Photek, and DJ Shadow. "I'll hear some stuff that I think is really cool, but I just can't listen to 15 minutes of Skrillex, I guess 'cause I'm not in a club surrounded by hot chicks on ecstasy. Maybe if I was 22, on ecstasy in a hot club, I would enjoy it more. I would never put it on. Dubstep doesn't seem that new to me. It seems like aggressive computer rock."
Lately, he's been watching videos of Peter Gabriel-fronted-Genesis concerts, and though they produced "amazing classic songs," not many people were watching them live, Wilson says. "That kind of, sort of artistic rock, is a slow burn. I think it picks up people over time." Today's musical marketplace caters to short attention spans, he points out. "I don't think this generation is going to have a bunch of classic albums that they look back to. I think they're just going to think about songs." Though he reflected upon the rise of the album with Sgt. Pepper, and its demise in the late '80s, early '90s, "now I just think they're just dead."
Last time Weezer made it this far south was for the 2012 Weezer Cruise which featured Dinosaur Jr. and Yuck, among others. "I loved walking up on the deck drinking beer with people. It was fantastic. It was like the entire boat wanted to buy me a beer," he admits. "We actually brought our own private stash. And by we, I mean myself." As to why not a repeat this year, he adds, "I guess we just want to be cool about it and not ruin a magical time for everyone." With
kids at home, none of them are trying to burn themselves out, trapped on a tour bus for months.
Even though the Weezer of yesteryear has grown up a bit, Wilson lights up remembering his past devilish stunts. "I used to take a longboard to the top of the hill" at amphitheaters. "Typically, you'd come down these hills into the loading part of the venue. I would just lie down and luge the whole thing. Looking back on that, I think I wasn't fully aware of the risks of failure." He chuckles.
"I'm looking out at the street in front of my house, and they just paved it. It's a really nice gradual hill. I'm thinking about going to the top, getting the longboard, and just see what happens."
Weezer, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, November 8, at Hard Rock Live, 5747 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $40 to $70, plus fees. Call 954-797-5531.