|Demo by Rivers Cuomo|
|Album||Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo|
|Released||December 18, 2007|
|Recorded||February 1995 in Hamburg Germany|
|Live debut||August 19, 2011|
|Rivers Cuomo song chronology|
|Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo track listing|
|Songs from the Black Hole cover|
Cover for SFTBH
"Blast Off!" is the eighth track off of Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. Previously leaked online, the song is one of Rivers Cuomo's most storied demos, as it was originally intended as the opening track to the unfinished rock opera Songs from the Black Hole. The song has had a long life, from fan holy grail to eventually being given a full-band arrangement and played live.
- Songs from the Black Hole (Tracklist 1)
- Songs from the Black Hole (Tracklist 2)
- Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
- Not Alone: Rivers Cuomo & Friends Live at Fingerprints (Live Video)
The melody for "Blast Off!" originates from an earlier composition by Cuomo written in May of 1993, titled "Negativland", about the experimental music band of the same name. An early draft of Songs from the Black Hole retained some lyrical elements from "Negativland" for the song that would later be named "Blast Off!". This version consisted of a conversation between band members Jonas, Wuan, and Dondó following a performance at the club The Black Hole.
The lead-off track (Act 1, Scene 1) for Songs from the Black Hole takes place on the main deck of the spaceship Betsy II on May 10, 2126. The lyrics are a conversation between the main character Jonas and his shipmates Wuan and Dondó. Jonas is excited yet reserved about the prospect of doing what he thinks is his dream job, that is, going out into space to save Nomis from being swallowed by it's sun. Wuan and Dondó are much more upbeat about the experience. In the middle of the song, M1 interjects via vocoder to remind them of the task at hand. In the last verse we find that a female character, Maria, the ship's cook, has entered the scene and that Jonas has a history with her from back at Star Corps Academy.
The song was initially released to fans online by Cuomo in 2002. In response to a thread on the Rivers Correspondence Board analyzing the song alongside "Death and Destruction," Rivers (posting as 'ace') mentioned "blast off is one of the greatest melodies ANYONE'S ever written. pure billy joel." He went on to add, "BO is a better melody. D+D is a better song."
The version found on Alone is edited in some areas, as the original master tape was damaged. It has a "fixed" intro, as the original demo had the word 'blast' truncated. It also segues directly into "Who You Callin' Bitch?." According to Karl Koch, a full-band version was attempted during the sessions for Pinkerton and was in consideration for release on the Deluxe Edition of that album in 2010, but Cuomo and drummer Pat Wilson ultimately decided the performance wasn't adequate. 
"Blast Off!" was played live for the first time with the full band on August 19, 2011 at a concert at WaMu Theater in Seattle, WA. It was the encore song after a "Double Memories Night", during which the band performed both the Blue album and Pinkerton in their entirety.
The success of Weezer's first album stirred up a lot of mixed feelings in me-- "Yay, I'm happy" as well as "I'm not sure this is the life I want to lead." I set about exploring and expressing those feelings in a rock musical called Songs from the Black Hole. I had the perfect opportunity to work on this project when Matt had to go back to the United States because of a family emergency leaving the rest of Weezer in Hamburg, Germany, in the middle of a tour, with nothing to do for a week. Karl and I rode the subway to a studio every day in the outskirts of the city. [Today, we still remember some of the subway stops that were called out by the monotone, automated, male German voice: "Kristuskirche... Osterstrasse."] At the studio, I recorded "Blast Off" which I had re-worked and expanded from a 1993 songlet "Negativland". The song was to be sung by the four male lead characters in the musical, Jonas (me), Wuan (Brian), Dondó (Matt), and our mechanoid M1 (Karl). MI's part I sang with a vocoder. The song expresses the characters' different feelings about heading out on space mission, or, in other words, my different feelings about heading out on tour and up the charts with a rock band. From my 1995 notebook: Act I 10 May 2126 Scene I (The Main Deck) Betsy II blasts off with a 5-person 1-mechanoid crew aboard, bound for ...? Captain Jonas feels a strange sense of trepidation that his mates, Wuan and Dondó, do not. They are simply stoked to be on this ship, partying, bound to return as heroes. Mechanoid M1 warns them not to forget the mission: ...?
- Weezer concert: 10/03/2005 - Rosemont, IL - Though not an official performance by the band, this performance is a great moment in Weezer fandom history. At the the time, the band was inviting audience members on stage to play chords and sing on "Undone - The Sweater Song." At this show, the fan invited on stage took the mic and began singing the first verse of "Blast Off!"
- Weezer concert: 08/19/2011 - Seattle, WA
- Weezer concert: 01/19/2012 - The Weezer Cruise
The music video was directed by Karl Koch and released via iTunes and YouTube to promote Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo although it saw it's debut on Yahoo! on January 11th 2008. The footage is of Rivers in Japan visiting Kyoko's family in December 2007. It was the first time fans saw Rivers with a mustache.
- Rivers Cuomo – lead guitar, lead vocals, percussion, rhythm guitar, bass guitar
Blast off! Up to the stars we go!
And leave behind everything I used to know
Somebody's giving me a whole lot of money
To do what I think I want to
So why am I still feeling blue? Oh Wuan and Dondó!
[WUAN and DONDÓ:]
Goddamn! Get your head out of your hands!
Here's to all the times we're gonna have
Cooped up for a year
With the two best looking babes I've seen all year
Get me another bottle of beer, 'cause I'm feelin' fine!
Go ahead and waste your head
We've got the time
I hope you don't object that I
Speak my mind
Don't forget the purpose of the mission
Or Nomis will get swallowed by its sun
Each one of you is a top graduate
Of the Star Corps Academy
It's up to you to reach for a dream! Oh Wuan and Dondo!
Go ahead and waste your life
On silly fears
I hope you don't object if I
Crack another beer, yeah!
Hold on, who is it here that I see?
Wasn't she your favorite bitch in the academy?
I don't know if I wanna lead on this woman
You know, I've done that before
She's actually a good girl
Or at least a cheap ho...
This verse originates from earlier drafts of "Blast Off" and replaces the M1 segment during live performances of the song
Sit back and light up a fat one, man
It's gonna be a long, cold trip if you act like that
Think of all the chicks and the money and the news crews
Waitin' back home for us
Let me off the magic bus
I don't think I belong
I'm so sorry Wuan and Dondó
I sang really bad tonight you know
I'm off to the corner of the room I don't wanna face another living soul
Tell me when you wanna go, Wuan and Dondó
No way! That was a good one man.
Yeah, we really rocked 'em hard tonight
For that I deserve another shot of the stuff I was doing 'fore I went on stage
Or at least a pretty girl. So whaddaya say, Jonas?
There's Maria and her little sister
Betcha won't have to work too hard to take her home
I don't know if I wanna lead on a woman, you know, I've done that before
She's actually a good girl
Underneath it all.