The Black Sessions (Weezer)

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Article marked: January 2022
The Black Sessions
The Black Sessions cover
Unofficial bootleg by Weezer
Released various
Recorded February 21, 1995[1]
Length 25:09
Label Sangatte Records (bootleg)

The Black Sessions is the title of Weezer's February 21, 1995 performance on the French radio show C'est Lenoir. It was bootlegged and circulated on cassette in the '90s, at one point gaining the title Live in Paris & Boston from Karl Koch. The performance is believed to have been pressed officially as a promotional CD and sent in limited quantities to radio stations for re-broadcasting, though proof of these promos is tenuous. Since the early '00s (and into the '10s), the bootleg label Sangatte Records has sold CD-Rs of the recording in fake promotional sleeves.

Overview

The Black Sessions was a regular series of live performances on the French radio show C'est Lenoir, airing on France Inter. On February 21, 1995, at Studio 105 of Maison de la Radio in Paris, France, Weezer played an opening set for Radiohead. They performed six songs from Weezer (The Blue Album), with fans often considering this show to contain more "raw" recordings of the tracks than their album counterparts.[citation needed] "Undone - The Sweater Song" is performed with unique spoken segments (as it often is when performed live); notably, Rivers Cuomo sings in French in the first verse, and Matt Sharp sings the chorus of the Radiohead song "Creep" in the second. Weezer's portion of the show was filmed by Karl Koch.[1]

According to Koch, recordings of this performance were later made into a very limited set of promotional CDs for the purpose of re-broadcast.[2] In the Collectors Discography, a digital catalog of physical Weezer releases which was first created by Koch in 2001, it is claimed that there exists official promo pressings from 1995 which are nearly identical to later bootleg pressings. Later, on the Weezerpedia Discord server, Koch suggested that a copy of an original promo is owned by Matt Sharp or Brian Bell.[3] While it is possible that an official archival or promotional version of the performance was pressed in 1995, evidence of this has never surfaced. It can be assumed that an official release which shares the sleeve design of later bootlegs does not exist (despite Koch's claim), as all existing Black Sessions CDs which utilize the same art (including those of other bands' performances—of which there are many[4]) are verifiably bootlegs created after 2000. It is likely that Koch simply mistook a bootleg "promo" as having been authentic, or otherwise lost information in translation when speaking to the French radio station's staff.

The bootleg label Sangatte Records is the main progenitor of these fake promotional discs. The label burns CD-Rs of different shows which have aired on France Inter, most notably Black Sessions and Les Inrocks, and sells the discs online claiming they are rare promotional or limited edition copies. The known years of release of Weezer Black Sessions bootleg releases include 2004, 2008, 2009, and 2012, however the exact number of unique versions is not known. Different iterations of the bootlegs have minor differences in design and packaging. Sangatte additionally released bootlegs for the Rentals' Black Sessions performance and Weezer's 1996 performance at La route du Rock.

The earliest known bootlegs of the show existed on cassette, rather than CD-R. In the Winter 1996 issue of Weezine, the quarterly Weezer Fan Club zine, Koch reports having received information about a bootleg cassette tape which features, on one side, the Black Sessions radio performance, and on the other, a fan recording of the band's August 2, 1995 show in Mansfield, MA. In the following Summer 1996 issue, the tape is listed amongst other notable bootlegs (such as Geezer and Rock Candy) in Koch's "Discography Q&A/News" section of Karl's Corner, and given the unofficial title Live in Paris & Boston. By the next issue, the release would be removed from Koch's list of bootlegs, as there was too great a number of individual, traded cassette recordings of shows to be plausibly tracked.[5]

Tracklist

No. Title Length
1. "Buddy Holly"   3:04
2. "No One Else"   3:52
3. "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here"   3:53
4. "Say It Ain't So"   5:08
5. "Undone - The Sweater Song"   5:10
6. "Surf Wax America"   4:02
Total length:
25:09

Gallery

Bootleg releases

Audio

See also

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Koch, Karl. "Radio station performance, 2/21/95 - Paris, France "The Black Session" show.". Recording History. Archived from the original on Weezerpedia at Recording History - Page 8.
  2. Koch, Karl. "page 1: Blue Album era releases (1992-1995) (+ re-releases)". Collectors Discography. Archived from the original on Weezerpedia at Collectors Discography - Page 1.
  3. Koch, Karl (as Karlophone). (March 22, 2022). Discord message. Archived from the original on Weezerpedia at Weezerpedia Discord Q&A with Karl Koch - March 2022.
  4. "Sangatte Records". Discogs. Archived from the original at https://web.archive.org/web/20220717160233/https://www.discogs.com/label/65782-Sangatte-Records.
  5. Koch, Karl. (1996). "Discography Update". Weezine Issue #7 - Summer 1996 (pg. 10).