Emopop.com interview with Karl Koch - February 22, 2001
Aerial Theater - Houston, Texas
emopop (Courtney): So how was the show last night?
Karl: The show last night was really good. Where were so many things that we had to figure out so fast, but we did have the day before that was like rehearsal so we kinda still had...
(Car honks at us.)
Karl: Hey, shut up! We still had a couple problems here and there but I thought it sounded good. It looked really good, I was really happy about it.
emopop (Courtney): Was the Yahoo! thing that good?
Karl: Well they kinda had their own scene. Like they have their own crew and their own busses and their own everything, so the only place it all interacts is the offices and stuff where we all have to use the same phones and stuff. But it seemed like people were liking the stuff. Nobody was like kicking over displays or anything so it was alright.
emopop (Matt): Did Yahoo! let Weezer have a lot of control?
Karl: Yeah, yeah, we kinda dictated that they couldn't get those booths too close to the stage and stuff and some things kinda slipped by like, we're not too particularly pleased with the poster that they did. We tried to change that but they said, "Well it’s too late." It's been a little bit of a tug of war but usually what we say goes for the most part. There's a lot of stuff that we don't even know exactly what they're up to but it’s not really affecting the band so it's okay. I just think like with the cardboard cutout - these things that people get to stand next to and get their picture taken - that's pretty funny. There's some cool things.
emopop (Matt): Are they catching a lot of flack with the Yahoo! things?
Karl: Well, there was initially a lot of flack and in the end it kind of seems like more people decided they didn't care and they didn't mind it at all. But then there's a very vocal minority that just thinks that any band that does something like that is just doing the wrong thing. I don't still see how that makes sense really. I mean it’s like, yeah, it is sponsored and stuff but, you know, it’s the first time we've ever tried something like this and we might never do it again. Let's just see what happens.
emopop (Eric): Ozma ended up saying that they like it because it drives down ticket prices and things like that.
Karl: Oh yeah, it’s a huge benefit. There's no way to do a concert, a concert like this, at the prices that we're charging. Because the service charges are usually like five to eight bucks, are all included. So a lot of these places, if you don't count that, the tickets are like ten bucks. And it’s like yahoo basically enabled the prices to be cheap. It’s a huge thing because you don't wanna rip people off.
emopop (Eric): Like the Get Up Kids are playing tomorrow night at a little club, I don't know if you knew that or not, but the prices are not much different, it’s like two dollars different from the price for the Aerial Theater. So I was really impressed with the ticket prices.
Karl: I think that was kind of one of the big things that got everybody okay with it. It's like if it's gonna be all this stuff and it's gonna be forty bucks, what's the point? But because it’s cheap it's like, if you don't like the displays and the stuff they're bringing in, don't look at them. You're only paying fifteen bucks or whatever anyway, so we definitely think it's really cool. If we can do more of that stuff in the future. The worst thing is high ticket prices, it's so stupid.
emopop (Courtney): So what are your responsibilities on this tour?
Karl: Well, I no longer have to fix Rivers' guitars and stuff so that might make me a little less on the stage. Like people aren't gonna see me walking around before they play and stuff. But on the other hand, I'm totally mobile to do stuff like this. So, basically, my job is to do things for the band and with the band which could be anything in the course of the day or nothing depending on what's going on. And then film everything and take pictures of everything and then do the website every night or every night I can get a phone line. I dunno, it’s sort of evolving. I do a lot of stuff that’s like that’s behind the scenes. Like, I'll be on my computer half the day, sometimes doing new things that people don't even know.
emopop (Matt): Is the drummer from Rocket from the Crypt like a roadie or something?
Karl: He is Pat's drum tech right now.
emopop (Matt): Did he quit Rocket?
Karl: Yeah, he did quit Rocket. It was personal reasons.
emopop (Matt): It didn't have anything to do with being on the road with Weezer?
Karl: No, no. I guess he quit last year sometime and then he was kinda floating between a couple of other bands because he couldn't decide what to do. Then Pat asked him to join Special Goodness. He technically did but then a month later, "Oh, Weezer's ready to get back and rehearse again." This was last spring, so then it was like "Well we're not doing Special Goodness for a while so do you wanna be my drum tech?"
emopop (Matt): Cause I saw him on stage at the last Weezer show and was like "That's the drummer from Rocket." I thought that was weird.
Karl: His name's Atom and he's cool, the greatest guy to have around. He's funny, fun to hang out with. We have little skateboard scooter wars and stuff all the time. He's just totally a good man on the team. He might join some other band and then he's gone but for now it’s great.
emopop (Courtney): We were talking to Mikey earlier and he actually said that the Blink 182/New Found Glory tour that’s coming up is not gonna happen.
Karl: Well, I think they asked us to do it, and we enjoyed the New Year's show a lot, but I think what it is is that there are so many good things on the table for the summer for this summer that there's not enough time to do everything. So, probably, if they had the opportunity to do a headlining tour, they would do that before they did that tour. That might be what's happening so, or there might be some Warped Tour dates. But... if we do it, I don't know what we're gonna be on. I think we might be on half of it, or who knows. I don't think we'll be doing the whole thing.
emopop (Courtney): So with all this work that you are doing, is that your job right now, or do you have another job or what?
Karl: No, Weezer pays me. It’s fun being on tour especially when, up till two show ago, I'd be in early loading in gear, doing all that stuff, and I was also trying to do the website and still trying to do stuff with the band all the time. It was just hard to do both. It was almost impossible, I could barely keep up. This way it’s like, "Well, we got a couple of extra crew guys now, so you don't have to do that, so do what you like to do a little more." It's kind of like that fan liaison/website guy, I guess.
emopop (Eric): We really appreciate what you are doing. I haven't seen any other bands that do it quite as well as you do. You are constantly updating and I know how much of a pain in the butt that is because we are constantly updating our web page also.
Karl: I'm really happy that people appreciate it. It's weird, I was up till six AM last night, just to do a video, it’s like, I gotta put it all together, you know, capture it, put it in the editor, and then get it ready, code it, post it, got a bad phone line so that takes an hour. But I wanted to do pictures and a video every day so that's my challenge, trying to do that every day.
emopop (Eric): Now is that all gonna be on the Outloud site or is it gonna be on your site?
Karl: Oh, it’s on my site. The Outloud guys, basically we work with them, like I provided a bunch of pictures and video early on and putting up that kind of stuff. It’s like, they just wanted to be a part of it. They didn't want to be an outsider on their own tour. It’s like we're working together, we supplied them with a bunch of stuff and info, and some of the things that I wrote, and they started developing the site. For a while it was like nothing was happening there but now a bunch of stuff is happening.
emopop (Eric): Yeah up until a month ago it was just like a front page.
Karl: Yeah, then they kind of got serious about it, and now they're pulling a whole bunch more clips out of the video I gave them, that we shot with the band a while ago. I guess their thing is that "We're pulling in people that you wouldn't normally have and I personally don't have any statistics so I don't know what's happening, like who's getting what from where, like people that never knew about Weezer, I dunno.
emopop (Eric): I don't see that as anyone coming to this tour that really hasn't heard of Weezer.
Karl: Yeah, I dunno. Like that's their thing. They deal with like billions of people at a time so they think that they are affecting and honestly, maybe they are. I don't know, I don't have the data to back that up. I have no clue. I think they're doing a good job but it’s like they are a computer company, and internet company, they’re not really a rock and roll company, so they kind of have their own weird way of doing things. I'm not gonna say bad things about them because I don't really have anything bad to say...
Girl: (to Eric, holding the camera) Excuse me, may I ask you something? Are you Karl?
emopop (Eric): I'm not Karl. That's Karl.
Girl: Oh. He just wanted to ask.
Guy: I just wanted to see if it was really you.
Karl: Oh, it's really me.
Girl: Can we get a picture with you real quick?
Karl: Well I'm doing a little interview, could we wait a minute is that cool?
Girl and Guy: Yeah, yeah.
Scalper: Any of ya'll have any extra tickets?
Everyone: No, no.
Karl: Nah, man. (Under his breath) I've got some backstage passes. (Everyone laughs.) I got some laminates. Well, I've got my laminates, that's all.
(Everyone laughs again.)
emopop (Courtney): I wanted to ask, how did you come into [being] with Weezer and everything? How'd you guys meet?
Karl: Well, it was a dark and stormy night. No, we just had mutual friends and I got out of college and one of my friends, was living out in LA, and he said "You gotta come out here man. Whatever you want to do, this is the place to do it." I was like, "Alright?" So I kinda, packed up, against my own parents wishes and his roommates were Pat Wilson and Jason Cropper and what was the other guy? Cause Rivers didn't live there, he lived somewhere else. And Matt wasn't actually living in town but we all knew him. But we all like hung out. It was really weird. Like Rivers was in school and we were all having like these shitty jobs, just doing our thing and living in this really nasty-ass apartment, and having fun. Everybody had a band with somebody at some point. It was like this band to that band to this band to that band. Like every night it was like " Oh I'm playing with Joe Shmoe and we're playing this show with this band." And one of those bands that eventually formed was this Weezer thing. Eventually everything else just kind of fell by the wayside, somehow. So I just started driving them all around cause nobody had a car and they needed some way to get their gear there. I never dreamed it would ever turn into anything really. It was just...
emopop (Eric): Just a bunch of friends?
Karl: Yeah, it was just like hanging out with your friends. I mean like they had all these schemes like everybody wants to get a record deal, everybody wants to make records and be a band but so many of the early bands, it just wasn't gonna happen for them. It just took a long time for a combination to click.
emopop (Courtney): Were you in The Special Goodness at any time or was that...?
Karl: Well Pat has always been writing his own songs on the side and took him a while to get his groove on but several years ago he really started writing stuff and when he did The Special Goodness, it was always a solo deal under his Gefen Records thing. And then they never put that out but they got that Japanese company to put it out. But before that, it didn't really have a name it was just him demoing songs whenever he had the chance. And he's a great songwriter there's no doubt about it but I never really played with him. I went out two times with them in '99 to tour. That's the only real chance he's ever had to do it because since then Weezer has really gotten crazy again.
emopop (Eric): Can you talk about that for a minute, like how Weezer has kinda gotten?
Karl: Well, it was weird, because, as of last spring, you know, there was a big question as to whether anything was really gonna happen or not. They started to rehearse again, and uh, Rivers was kinda happy with his songs after a long period of writing songs and not being sure of them or really knowing if he liked them or whatever. So somehow, out of the blue, we got this great offer from Japan, for later in the summer that was good shows, good money, everything is good about this, you are a fool not to do this. Like "Wow, Japan, let’s do it." And to warm up for that, we should play some shows in the States right? And that turned into all of a sudden, finding out that all of these cities were offering really good shows. It's like "Wow, they really have confidence in the band that they can sell some tickets here." So we just slowly got our act together and started doing these little tours last year. And then the Warped tour thing happened. We asked to get on that because seemed like, sorta the place to be at that point. Green Day was headlining and we know them and that was cool. The response is what kinda took everybody off guard. We were thinking that if we play small places we'll do pretty well because there's still a fan base. But the thing selling out instantly was not expected. And then for it to continue at bigger places like this, is even more of a surprise. Everybody has really had their eyes open wide.
emopop (Eric): So when you did the club tour, you were pretty shocked?
Karl: Well, not shocked, but "Oh great, there's still people. We were hoping for this but, you know, we never really knew until we started hearing that the places were selling out." So, that was a big confidence booster, like "Oh cool man, people are still into it. Let’s go out and kick some ass." And now we're here man, and I dunno, its gonna be a crazy year being on tour all year. So hopefully, they got the record together, after many points that we thought we had all the songs, we found the new ones are better than these ones so let’s do this, leapfrogging. Let’s do these songs, oh these ones are good, let’s do these ones. The old ones just kinda got left behind because you can't do a hundred songs on a record, it just doesn't work. It's like, forty five minutes or whatever, and that’s the album. And you can't do more than that. It just doesn't make sense.
emopop (Eric): Well you could do like the Smashing Pumpkins did a couple years back, and make a double.
Karl: Yeah. I personally like double records if their all good. And inevitably, there are some liberties taken where it’s like "Well we have this kind of goofy song that’s kind of not really- I dunno. It just seems, it’s probably better to keep it concise but I think that there have been some great double records in the past too. I don't know.
emopop (Courtney): What's with the Record Company pushing the release or whatever?
Karl: Yeah, they haven't told us what they want yet. I suspect personally that there won't be a big delay or anything. But they have not told us a date. It just kinda sucks.
emopop (Courtney): Is there still not a title or anything?
Karl: Yeah, there's just now been talk of a title and I don't know if it's going anywhere or it’s serious or not. I'm sworn to secrecy but uh-
emopop (Courtney): Pat told us about Champions of All Time.
Karl: Well, that's kind of our joke title, but, it'd be a great title. It's funny as hell, but, yeah, it’s probably gonna come down to the wire. Hopefully they'll decide on one at the very last minute, before they have to take it to the pressing. That's the way everything works with this band.
emopop (Eric): Yeah I was hearing that the record had to be done the next day and you guys were still working on it the night before.
Karl: Yeah that was a rough night. That was a real rough night. I mean that’s when I stay up all night. Like I'm sitting there and Rivers is like "I wanna hear what this sounds like with an extra bridge." So I'm on my computer making a kind of a rough remix. It doesn't even sound that good cause it’s not a quality dub you know. I'm sitting there cutting and pasting stuff. Like "alright, if the bridge was here," and then like fool around for a little while alright no I gotta burn a CD and get it to him and he's got to listen to it, and he's got to think if he likes that or not. So all these last minute things: "Is this right, is this right, should it be these chords," and it was like "I just want to be done." Cause every night I'd be up like burning these like, practice discs, to see what the stuff sounded like and I'd be up till like four or five delivering the CD to him and collapsing.
emopop (Courtney): How come no like Fuzz songs have turned up? Have they? Rivers' other band?
Karl: Oh Fuzz, well when Weezer was doing those way early on it was because they didn't have very many songs of their own. And he was like, I got these songs, let’s just do these as part of the set and see what happens. I mean those are fun songs to play, but they are not like Weezer. They're not like gross but they're pretty heavy. They are pretty intense songs. They'd be more like a Soundgarden song or something like that. Good songs, he was a good writer even then, but it didn't sound like Weezer.
emopop (Courtney): Can you talk about the period where you guys weren't really talking to each other?
Karl: Well, I got kind of off on my own trip. I actually set up my own home studio, sort of recording my own stuff, like all samples and stuff like that, having fun with it, and doing a bunch of other stuff. I just got used to not being on the road and after like a year of it, it was kind of like, "Well what's gonna happen? Is this it or what?" And for a while, Rivers was just like hunkered down, writing, never really talking to people, and I just figured "Well he's gonna eventually realize he doesn't want to do music cause it's driving him crazy or he's gonna come out with a batch of songs. And as it turns out, he came out with a batch of songs. He came out with tons of batches of songs. It was just kind of a necessary period. It just had to be like that. Now we're in a new phase and we'll see what happens.
emopop (Courtney): Was Geffen like a major influence on putting out the new album because Weezer was signed for three records?
Karl: Well, I think Geffen expected a third album but they were being extremely patient and also the whole reorganization of the major labels and stuff that happened. Once it became apparent that Weezer wasn't getting dropped, at that point it was "Okay they want us, so I guess that means that they want us to do an album." But we really didn't have a contact person because that guy got let go when the whole restructuring thing happened. So it was like "Who do we know here at this company that we're on?" Nobody, so it took a while to reestablish what its like with the lines of communication.
emopop (Courtney): Okay, you saw Limp Bizkit a while back right?
Karl: (laughs) Yeah I did see Limp Bizkit.
emopop (Courtney): How was that?
Karl: Well, I don't think their robot worked right. They had this giant transformer robot that the DJ guy was on one shoulder and the drummer was on the other shoulder, and it opened up, and they came out, and stuff. But I think it was supposed to move. It had big arms and it didn't really move. I heard from somebody that had been a crew person on that tour that yeah, they had huge technical problems, and for some reason they couldn't solve it.
emopop (Courtney): Woah! Look at that jacket.
(A guy walks by with a windbreaker on bearing the infamous Weezer =w=.)
emopop (Courtney): Do you guys sell those?
Karl: I don't know what that is. Its probably homemade. There's a lot of homemade shirts. But yeah that show was insane. If I didn't have earplugs, I wouldn't be able to hear today. It was just so crazy and loud. Surprisingly though, that show, with all the acts in that show, the funny thing I noticed was that the pacing was so slow. During like Eminem and stuff, there were periods where they'd be talking and talking and it was like, "Don't people just want to rock out?" He was just going on and on, with this and that, I just want to hear your Stan song. Then Fred Durst comes out there and he's got all these speeches and he's got all these moments where he's introducing people and they got the break dancing dudes and they got all this other stuff and its like, would you just play your songs. In the end they did like 13 songs for like two hours. It's just like, geeze.
emopop (Courtney): It's been a real honor.
Karl: Thank you.
emopop (Courtney): This is Karl for Weezer and I'm Courtney from emopop, and we're out.