Edmonton Sun interview with Scott Shriner - April 22, 2002
Easy Weezer; L.A. Rockers Keep The Mystery Alive
By Mike Ross
The "new guy" in Weezer, bassist Scott Shriner, fends off every attempt to analyse the mystery of the appeal that is the magic of the rock band that is Weezer.
Queries on matters like "Why does Weezer sometimes play small bars under an assumed name?" or "What do the lyrics in Hash Pipe mean?" or "Are you really just a bunch of brainy nerds with guitars or what?" are met with basically the same answer:
"I don't know and I don't care. I just wanna rock."
The score now stands at Weezer: 100, media: Zero. Shriner has passed the test. He says there wasn't any sort of special ceremony or initiation rite when he joined the Los Angeles band last fall, replacing previous bass player Mikey Welsh, who departed under mysterious circumstances - but perhaps doing a whack of phone interviews is his initiation. The enigmatic singer Rivers Cuomo apparently isn't talking.
So what do we know? They wanna rock. That's super. Weezer makes its Edmonton debut tomorrow night at the Northlands AgriCom.
Shriner is apparently on a "need to know" basis when it comes to Weezer's secret plan for world domination. Basically, there isn't any plan at all, not that he knows about anyway. He already has his hands full anyway. Joining such a successful band in mid-flight was akin to leaping on a speeding train, he says.
"It wasn't really discussed what was going to be the plan next month or next year or the next day, it was just do what's in front of me that day. That's how I operate in life in general. There's not some kind of game plan. We work on songs as (Cuomo) brings them in, we record them when they're ready to be recorded and then when it's time to go on tour, we go on tour. There's no philosophy or strategy behind it. It's pretty simple."
Shriner turns out to be an enthusiast of the heavy-metal genre, especially fellow Ohioans Slipknot. The bassist moved to L.A. in 1990 and distinguished himself as a member of an "old-school hard-rock band" called Bomber. Asked whether this influence brought a new energy to Weezer, he says Weezer has always been a metal band, which might come as a surprise to its fans.
"It was that song Say It Ain't So that got me hooked on the band," he says. "It was one of the heaviest things I heard on the radio at that time. I love heavy music."
The fact that Weezer seemed utterly unconcerned with things like labels or image was the main appeal.
"They seemed like guys who weren't trying to come across one way or another. They were just being themselves. I guess that's why people are into it. There's nothing worse than something that's posed, unless it's overly posed to the point of being funny."
It's a fine line.
"I guess the key for me is not take myself too seriously. That's part of the deal - I really don't care. I joined this band because I love the songs. So I'm basically a Weezer fan that gets to play the songs. It was every dream I've ever had in my whole life coming true."
Maybe Weezer shouldn't be analysed. Maybe it's like trying to remember a dream that evaporates faster the harder you try. We certainly won't get many clues from the band's forthcoming album, Maladroit, in stores May 14. The lead-off single is the incredibly catchy Dope Nose (not Dope Noise as misprinted in advance copies of the CD). Sample lyric: "Cheese smells so good/On a burnt piece of lamb/Fact of the year/Who could beat up your man?"
Hash Pipe, Dope Nose ... sensing a theme here? Do you have to be high to understand Weezer?
Shriner will reveal one thing, at least, "If you like those titles, you're going to love a song on the next record called Coke Ass."
The mystery deepens.