interview with Pat Wilson - May 24, 2001

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liveDaily Interview: Weezer drummer Pat Wilson
Published May 24, 2001
By Don Zulaica / LiveDaily Contributor

Nice guys finish last? Don't tell the guys in Weezer. The band's latest self-titled effort, its first studio effort since 1996's Pinkerton, debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart, with the single "Hash Pipe" currently resting at No. 2 on the Modern Rock chart.

For this album - known as "The Green Album" - the group reunited with Ric Ocasek at Los Angeles' Cello Studios. Ocasek produced Weezer's 1994 self-titled debut -known as [[The Blue Album] - which went double-platinum and spawned the hit singles "Buddy Holly," "Say It Ain't So," and "Undone - The Sweater Song."

The group originally formed in Los Angeles in 1992 with vocalist-guitarist Rivers Cuomo, guitarist Jason Cropper, bassist Matt Sharp and drummer Pat Wilson. In 1993, Cropper left the group to be with family, and was replaced by Brian Bell, at the time playing bass for a group called Carnival Art. Sharp left the group after the release of Pinkerton to focus his attention on his band, The Rentals, who had a modest hit in 1996 with "Friends of P." Sharp was replaced by Mikey Welsh, formerly with Juliana Hatfield's band.

Cuomo, Wilson, Bell, and Welsh are currently on the Hooptie Tour which, after an early June show in New York's Times Square, will shuttle the quartet off to Canada, Germany, the U.K. and the T in the Park Festival in Scotland.

Drummer Pat Wilson spoke with liveDaily correspondent Don Zulaica while on the way to a Milwaukee in-store signing.

liveDaily: Did you guys have a stockpile of songs before you started recording Green? You did this last December at Cello Studios in Los Angeles, right?

Pat: Yeah, we started in late December and went through January. As for the writing, the batch that got on the record are all relatively recent songs. The oldest one is "Hash Pipe," which is about a year old.

liveDaily: You're working with Ric Ocasek again.

Pat: Yeah. This whole thing was like, "Let's go back to how The Blue Album worked," and he was part of that.

liveDaily: What kind of direction does he give in the studio?

Pat: He just says, "Do it again." [laughs] We probably wouldn't have done the song "Island in the Sun" if it wasn't for him. ... He had an old demo of that, and we'd completely forgotten about it. But he said, "That's a good song, you should do it." He's a good presence to have around in the studio, a swell guy.

liveDaily: What was different about Pinkerton in your mind, since you guys produced that yourselves?

Pat: Pinkerton is like ... I think it's more arty. The arrangements on that record were crazy, but cool. But from a playing standpoint ... oh, I don't know what Pinkerton was! [laughs] But I think it's probably the record people are going to be into ten years from now, more than the "Blue" record.

liveDaily: It seemed more personal.

Pat: Yeah, and plus the playing - everybody played exactly what they wanted. I think it's got a lot of flavor. I heard a song [from Pinkerton in] a record store the other day - I hadn't heard it in a few years - and I thought, "Wow, we did that? That's pretty cool."

liveDaily: How does Rivers direct you and the other band members? He writes most of the music, correct?

Pat: Rivers writes all the songs and then we play 'em, and if they sound good, we record 'em. We pretty much know what to do. After all this time, it's pretty straightforward.

liveDaily: If you were a baseball player, you'd be called a "throwback." Playing old Ludwig drums - Vistalites, even.

Pat: I just walked into Black Market Music in L.A. and saw that set sitting in there and said, "I'll take 'em." I got the edges re-done ... I don't like 'em.

liveDaily: Really?

Pat: I mean, I've played them now for about a year. I think they're cool, and they actually have kind of a neat sound, but I got another set. I was getting sick of the blue Vistalites - they just kind of sound like plastic drums.

liveDaily: What was [Led Zeppelin drummer John] Bonham thinking?

Pat: Well, the kick drum sounds amazing, which is pretty surprising. But the toms are, like, day-to-day. One day they're good, one day they're not, and there's nothing you can do.

liveDaily: When did you first get into music and drumming?

Pat: I've always been into music, but as far as drums - I didn't get a drum set until I was about 19. Prior to that, I had a bass, and I would play my friend's drumkits. I grew up on classic rock, up until high school, when I got into Devo and the Clash. Then I moved to L.A. when I was 21, and I've been getting more and more into music ever since.

liveDaily: What are you doing outside of Weezer?

Pat: I just made a record called The Special Goodness. You can get it at my website. I did it all at my house, and it came out pretty cool.

liveDaily: Did you do everything? Sing, play guitar...

Pat: Not only that, but I recorded it, mixed it, and all that stuff. I did it while the rest of the guys were finishing up the new Weezer record, although Mikey played on The Special Goodness too. It took me about two weeks. I kind of hesitate to tell people that, because I don't want people to think, you know.

liveDaily: "Oh, no, Weezer is breaking up."

Pat: Well, yeah. There's a lot of that. We're not going to, obviously, but people say that all the time.

liveDaily: What's up after these stateside gigs and the trip abroad? Are you going to come back and do a full-on U.S. tour, or...

Pat: I think so, but we also might say "screw it" and go make another record, because we have a lot more songs. Personally, I think it would be cool if we did at least a month in the States on a headlining tour. But we might just take that time, after we come back from Europe, and make another record. We could do a record like every six months.

I don't know. We're not sure what we want to do. Obviously if [Green] is blowing up, it would make sense to do some sort of American tour. If we have a chance to do bigger venues, like 5,000-seaters, we'd like to aim for that, rather than play 1,500-seaters. If it looks like we can do that on this record, we probably will.