The Hiatus Demos were a series of recordings made by Weezer during their so-called "hiatus" between mid-1997 and mid-2000.
Weezer's hiatus, the period between the end of the Pinkerton tour in August of 1997, and the Summer Songs of 2000, was not quite as inactive as the word implies. In fact, the band made quite a few recordings, and even played two live shows under the name Goat Punishment. The vast majority of the activity was in 1998, beginning with the recording of "American Girls" for the Meet the Deedles soundtrack. While technically not a Weezer recording, all four then-members of the band participated, so it is included here. They also recorded their cover of The Pixies' "Velouria" for the 1999 compilation Where Is My Mind? A Tribute To The Pixies.
Early 1998 sessions
"American Girls" session
Early 1998: "American Girls" recorded for the Meet the Deedles soundtrack. This was recorded in Boston at a "pro" studio, but I do not know where. This "American Girls" is quite different than the version that was played at the 'solo' shows. The older version of the song was a very up-tempo rocking song. When the "Deedles" version was released (on March 24, 1998), many were surprised to find that it was now a much slower song, smoothed out on the R&B/country tip with a pop feel appeal to it. The line up of Homie that recorded this song was:
- Rivers Cuomo - vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, lyrics, and melody
- Yuval Gabay (of Soul Coughing) - drum loops
- Matt Sharp - co-producer and background vocals
- Sebastian Steinburg (of Soul Coughing) - upright bass
- Patrick Wilson - miscellaneous, drum playing (what got looped)
- Greg Brown (of Cake) -- electric guitar (lead and solos)
- Brian Bell, Justin Fisher, Adam Orth (both ex-Shufflepuck) and Todd Sullivan (Weezer's a+r guy from Geffen) -- backing vocals
Early 1998 Demos
Late February 1998: Weezer records demos in LA.
- "The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World" (Pat Wilson bassline version)
- "The Prettiest Girl in the Whole Wide World" (regular bassline version - probably a different mix)
Contrary to conventional wisdom on the matter, it seems these two songs were given serious consideration for formal "weezer-ness" . They were practiced for a little while and recorded at "J.J.'s home studio". "J.J." being owner of a certain Hollywood rehearsal space that the band often used at the time.
Note that at this time the band had no bass player, as Matt had left the band late in 1997, and try-outs for a new bass player would soon commence, ending with the selection of Mikey in early summer 1998...
Late 1998 Sessions
Early summer-November 1998 Weezer rehersals and sporadic demo recording, with Mikey: Los Angeles.
After a lengthy process of trying out new bass players, Mikey was finally installed by summertime. While master tapes of lots of demos recorded during this period do exist after all, none have been mixed down to a listenable format to date. This section should get a lot bigger when that happens, as there are many hours of tapes to go through.
The bulk of these recordings were done at TK Rehearsals on L.A.'s west side. There also exists a rather rambling tape of just Rivers at TK brainstorming on a bunch of song ideas. However this is not listed here as the tape is very confusing and there are few complete ideas on it.
According to coversations with band members, I estimate as many as fifty or more practiced, demo'd songs to exist. However, at this writing, only a small amount is known. Some of the songs were 100% Rivers's writing, some were jam session collaborations, some were Pats (later pulled back for the Special Goodness), and some were Brians (see below for a recording session of his songs.)
A few known titles from this period:
...of the multiple songs of Rivers's, there are three known (non-final) titles. These songs come from later in the summer of '98, when Rivers started writing heavier and heavier material. '
"Velouria" recording session, Mouse House Studios, Los Angeles. This recording session yielded "Velouria", for The Pixies tribute CD Where is my mind?, which was released in early 1999. Several other songs were also recorded, but apparently the "non-Velourias" didn't come out too good. This is apparently due to the songs being somewhat unfinished at the time of recording (thus really being demos). Mixes from the session:
- "Trampoline" ("sped up")
- "Trampoline" ("normal")
- "Disco Queen"
- "Velouria" (Mikey's 1st released track with Weezer)
These titles appear on a cassette from this time but it is unclear if they are misnamed or changed titles from the above 5 songs - or totally seperate tracks from another session around that time.
Late summer 1998 Brian Demos
Brian had four songs that everyone enjoyed playing at rehearsal. When it was suggested that they could record these as a demo, Rivers decided that he didn't want to do them for Weezer. So Pat and Mikey played on it and it became a kind of Space Twins demo that sounds like Weezer playing the songs. Details on this should come when the summer/fall 1998 tapes are examined at last.
- "Butterfly Collector" (previously a Space Twins song)
- "Seventeen" (later became a Space Twins song)
- "Lara" (later became a Space Twins song)
- "Trudy Truelove" (later became a Space Twins song)
Fall 1998 More Weezer Demos
The above 2 songs fall in right about the time Pat Wilson packed up and went back to Portland, unsatisfied with how rehersals were going. Mikey's freind Todd Phillips (also an alumnus of Juliana Hatfield's band) filled in on drums from then untill Early 1999 (when rehersals were finally put on hold), and also played in the two Goat Punishment shows (see below).
Fall 1998 "Random Demos"
These demos seem like full band recordings from their sound...its possible that these were also recorded at "j.j's" home studio.
- "Sunshine" (Sludge version - apparently a separate recording form above version, but not confirmed either way)
- "Girls Soccer"
- "Average Town"
- "Crazy One"
December 1998 Demos
Further demos late 1998:
- untitled 12/3/98 ("1/2 song")
- untitled 12/10/98 ("1/2 song")
- "Bonfire" 12/14/98
- "Average Town" 12/14/98
At an undetermined point in 1998, Weezer recorded the following songs: