Psychedelic Lunch

Welcome to our “Psychedelic Lunch”series, Holiday Edition where we find out how deep the rabbit hole really goes and explore music and musicians from the 60’s to today. Enjoy the trip!

Weezer was formed on Valentine’s Day 1992, but were not named yet. On the original tape, a slew of band names were all crammed on the label, a joke on how no one could decide on the name for the band yet. Some were old names, such as Fuzz (a band formed by Cuomo in 1991, featuring, among other members, Cuomo on vocals and guitar and Pat Wilson on drums), but there were also such notables as Meathead, Outhouse, Hummingbird, The Big Jones and This Niblet.

In 1993, after 16 months together playing shows and recording demos in Los Angeles, DGC records (Geffen) signed Weezer. The band moved to New York to record at the famed Electric Lady Studios under producer Ric Ocasek from The Cars. Ocasek produced their first and third albums.

Cuomo went into seclusion in 1998. He painted his walls black, disconnected his phone, and went months without speaking to anyone. Two years later, he came out of it and Weezer made their third album.

Their first, third and sixth albums are all called Weezer. They are known as The Blue Album, The Green Album and The Red Album, respectively.

The band members are unabashed geeks, whose leisure activities have included a good game of Dungeons & Dragons.

Cuomo has a thing for female newscasters. His childhood crushes include Connie Chung and Maria Bartiromo.

Welsh arrived from Juliana Hatfield’s band; Bell from a band called Carnival Art.

Cuomo’s right leg has always been shorter then his left – at least until an operation allowed the leg to grow longer. Cuomo had to wear a leg brace for a time, and an x-ray of his brace can be seen in the inside picture of the EP The Good Life‘s booklet.

After their first album, Cuomo enrolled at Harvard. He left still needing two semesters to graduate and finally finished his bachelor’s degree in English in 2006. Five days later, on his 36th birthday, he married Kyoko Ito.

Sharp started a side project called The Rentals in 1995. He went solo in 1999 and released CDs in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, he filed a lawsuit against the other members of the band over royalties from The Blue Album and Pinkerton.

Rivers Cuomo’s side project was called Homie and released one song in 1999. Brian Bell’s side project is called The Space Twins and has released two albums. Pat Wilson’s side project is called The Special Goodness.

Rick Rubin produced the band’s fifth album, Make Believe.

Weezer’s 2010 tour rider reveals that the band wants to be provided with a quiet dressing room for meditation. The rider also shows that the band cares about the environment as the guys do not want styrofoam anywhere. As for food, they ask for only vegetarian and organic dishes.

The album Pinkerton was conceived as a rock opera, similar to Tommy from The Who, and was going to be called Songs From The Black Hole. When Cuomo went to Harvard for a year in ’95-’96, he changed course. Some of the original songs were used on Pinkerton, others were used as B-sides, and the song “You Won’t Get With Me Tonight” was released on a compilation CD called Gimmie Skelter.

“Rebel Weezer Alliance” (=rwa=) is what Weezer’s official website started as in 1995. It was a fan site.

The “RCB” was a members-only Weezer fan message board notorious for all kinds of shenanigans from 2002-2004, which earned it a rather nasty reputation, sometimes for good reason. It got its start as a board that Cuomo sometimes posted on in 2002. The board turned into The Really Cool Board, then the Really Cool Baseball board, shunning all activity unless it was about baseball. In mid-2005 it blinked out of existence. However, some former RCBers started a replacement board, the “Really Really Cool Board.”

“Weezer” was Cuomo’s asthmatic childhood nickname.

Cuomo has had some articles published. His first two were for Details magazine. “Life In The Fast Lane” was published in the January 1995 issue (Stephen Dorff on the cover), and “Road Worriers,” published in the April 1995 issue (Trent Reznor on the cover). The third article appeared in the February 1995 copy of Chart, a small Canadian magazine. The issue had Eric’s Trip and Suede on the dual cover, and the article was one page with a promo photo from the Blue Album era.

The first 600,000 copies of the US version of Maladroit were individually numbered.

Cuomo: “Because I’m so terrible at expressing my feelings directly, and because no one really cares, and because anything real is impossible to talk about, I’ve come to rely on music more and more to express myself.”

Growing up in Connecticut, Cuomo was in a band called Avant Garde. After the band moved to LA, they changed their name to Zoom. When Zoom broke up in 1990, most members besides Cuomo returned to Connecticut. Around this time, Cuomo was starting to write his own music.

The band’s first show took place on Thursday, March 19, 1992, at Raji’s, a club on Hollywood Boulevard, later made famous from the photo on that Nirvana 7″. The show happened quite suddenly. The band somehow got offered an opening slot for Keanu Reeves’ band, Dogstar. Apparently there was no show booked that night at all, and when Dogstar asked to play, there was a need for some opening acts to try and beef up the draw earlier on in the night. Meanwhile the as-yet-unnamed Weezer was itching to start playing out and started calling around that day to try and book some gigs. The guy at Raji’s said, “How about tonight?” and so it was. They only needed to come up with a band name at this point, and a major brainstorming session ensued. In the end, Cuomo stuck with his “Weezer” suggestion, and no one could beat it. The band called everyone they knew and got 17 people to show up and watch.

Cuomo to Rolling Stone on the band’s clean lyrics: “I don’t like to use real swear words. Weezer came up at at time when Jane’s Addiction released “Nothing’s Shocking” – everyone was trying to be controversial. We looked back to rock & roll’s pre-drug days – to the clean images of the Beach boys – that felt, ironically, rebellious.”

Cuomo take a very scientific approach to lyrics, keeping a spreadsheet with thousands of lines with data on syllable counts that he can call up when needed.

Rivers Cuomo was raised in a Connecticut ashram run by the master yogi Satchidananda Saraswati. He recalled to Q magazine: “Yoga and meditation were part of school every day. We had chores like feeding the ponies and clearing the brush (shrubland) for construction.”

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