MTV interview with Weezer - August 18, 1997
Weezer Fan Club founders Mykel and Carli Allan and their younger sister Trista were killed while traveling from a Weezer show in Denver on July 8 to one in Salt Lake City the next day. Supporters since the band's early days in Los Angeles, the Allan sisters were also personal friends of the band. Deeply affected by the loss, the band decided to conclude its tour with a benefit for the Allan family. MTV News caught up with the band—singer Rivers Cuomo, bassist Matt Sharp, drummer Pat Wilson and guitar tech Karl Koch—just prior to its August 15 show.
MTV: Can you tell us a little something about the Allan sisters?
Rivers: Yeah, this is a story about Mykel. We had just finished making our record and we came back to L.A. and we're just hanging out and...our lawyer called us up and said that we could not use "The Sweater Song" because it had some samples in it that she could not get clearance for. And we were due to master the record the next day, so we had exactly 18 hours to come up with something else for "The Sweater Song" rather then all the samples we had been using. So we panicked and...uhh...we went into our garage and put the song into an 8 track recorder and started the party dialogue that you hear in the versus. Matt talked in the first verse with Karl, like all the 'hey bra' stuff and then...
Matt: That's too bad. I never wanted anybody to know that, but that's all right.
Rivers: Yeah, that's all Matt (laughs). And then, we called up Mykel to come over and help us out and she's actually the girl talking in the second verse of "The Sweater Song."
MTV: What about the song you guys wrote about them?
Rivers: I think I was just...so moved by how they were supporting us and helping us out and making us feel good that I just wanted to write a song to show my appreciation. So wrote that song called "Mykel and Carli," and we put it out on a movie soundtrack for, uh, the movie Angus? No?
Matt: No...It's not a soundtrack.
Rivers: Oh, I'm sorry it's a b-side. I never know where these songs go. It's a b-side for uhh..."The Sweater?"
Matt: A song.
Rivers: One of our singles, but it's not available in this country.
Matt: But it probably will be anyway soon. I think we're going to be doing work on a tribute album to them. Which I believe, actually Mykel and Carly's, it's the second Mykel and Carly. Our friends Black Market Flowers originally wrote one. I think that theirs is going to be on there. Ours is going to be there also. It's a really weird feeling being here and... hearing this band right now that we should go watch...because that has a special connection to that period when they supported us and they first really supported them, and we were really the two bands that they were really behind here, so I don't know, it's just a really odd day because of that and hearing certain sounds and melodies and things from that time so. I mean for me this show, more than anything, I just want it to be a celebration of...it's not really this, if anything, they would want us to get as loose as possible and, not to sound to like a jerk, but be us as much as possible, and jump around and have a really great time and...I know they would be screaming at us if we didn't play their songs. So we're gonna give that a shot tonight 'cause we haven't played it in I don't know how long? Before Brian I think . But I just wanna, I mean, like their father told us, this is the one party that they won't miss and we're just gonna go all out. There's a very special thing. It's the end of this tour and the end of our supporting this record that we made and ending it here and it being for them is, it's just very special.
Rivers: Yeah I'm happy that we have this opportunity to to do something . To show them how much we love them and other bands that they worked with, it's that same opportunity for them. And all the fans here tonight too, I think are also Mykel and Carli fans and, I think everyone here just to show them how much we love them and...show them what kind of impact they had because they were definitely a big part of everything that's happening tonight and keeping all these bands going and getting all these fans together always and. They were really the strong force holding the whole community together.
Matt: Yeah , I mean, I'd say, even when we've had our bad times. Which we've had a short period of that, they were the one great positive thing that keep everything together. I mean, if they can make us look good they can make anyone look good. They had the ability to make a positive experience out of even the sort of harder times. And so it's a really strange thing they were going, they were starting a trip with us to go across the country and, for me it's a really sad thing they couldn't have been a part of that because this is the time where we've finally gotten it together and we're all very happy with being with each other, we just wanted them to be with us and to celebrate and have a wonderful time. I think that's all of what the shows about, about...a certain period that they couldn't be with us and now we feel like they can be.
MTV: What do you think that there overall work, there dedication to you guys how much do you think that helped in your overall success as Weezer?
Matt: It's completely a major part. I mean, we just got from being in Japan and, just anywhere you go in the world, they're there. They made sure. You can go anywhere in the world and realize when you see a fan that's wearing that and they'll come up to you and they really feel a personal connection with them that they might not even feel with us. Just I mean, something that's totally beyond us. Something that I said it's impossible to a trivialize by just giving it...you just have to meet, thousands and thousands of people everywhere that were a big part of their lives. I mean, I think a big part of fan clubs is that, or with ours at least, is that sometimes it's with people that may not have a great family life, or may not be having a great time in school and they sort of fill this friendship I think with some people that they couldn't get anywhere else and they really cared about those people.
MTV: It's obvious that you guys really care about your fans. What's your connection with your fans?
Matt: Well, I'd probably say it's different...every member of every band and every, every fan.
Rivers: Yeah, I think we have an unusually close connection with our fans.
Matt: Largely due in part to them, to them.
MTV: Why are you here tonight?
Pat: We are here tonight because we wanted to celebrate the the two girls and their sister who ran our fan club and also to help out their family because it seemed like the right thing to do at the end of our tour.
MTV: Do you guys know what happened? Can you tell us what happened?
Pat: As far as I know, we were in Colorado...Denver. They were there with us to organize a surprise get together with fan club members on their way to Salt Lake from whence they came. Evidently they just went off the road really sort of treacherous pass through the Rockies. That's the last I heard about it.
Karl: I guess they guessed that they, one or all of them, fell asleep. Because they were driving back to Salt Lake from Colorado in the middle of the night. Which is kind of a risky thing to do in the first place. But, it was still very shocking because, I mean, as far as responsibility goes, they were just the three most, I mean, you would never expect that from them. So it was pretty unbelievable, it just seemed like the least possible thing to happen. And when they weren't phoning the next day in Salt lake City and we were doing the show everybody, I could sense this feeling of like, worrying and concern growing and growing the more they more they were late. And nobody wanted to voice what they might...might have happened because everybody was just assuming somehow it was going to be okay. And, uh, it wasn't until the very end of the next day on route to Calgary where we got...our tour manager got the phone call about they found them and everything. So, uhh, it was just unbelievable, just a slap right in the face. You know the thing that you were just wishing the night before I hope they were okay, just you know dashed. We were all just stunned. Sitting on the bus there for hours, didn't even know what to think or do.
MTV: Tell us about the song "Mykel and Carli."
Pat: We haven't played it in so long. I'm sure we'll get through it tonight, but it was written at the time of the recording of the first Weezer record. And another band, Black Market Flowers, who's playing the show tonight, has a song called "Mykel and Carli" as well. And it just seemed like a cool idea at the time to write a song about them expressing our gratitude for their support. And hopefully we won't butcher it.
Karl: Lyrically the song was really interesting because it was written, we didn't like grow up with them or know them before, you know Los Angeles, and it was written as if it was memories about the past. It was, I think, the original long title was "To Mykel and Carli from a High School Friend," which nobody in the band was to them. But it was a story that was like "Remember this time?" But actually, that time didn't exist, but it was all about, you know, we're connected now. It was a really neat thing. Sort of creating this neat past out of a song. I like that part about it.
MTV: How much do you think their dedication contributed to the overall success of Weezer?
Pat: I think their dedication meant a lot to us. Especially because of the time. We were so not outgoing and self promotion wasn't really a big part of what we were doing at the time in Los Angeles. Once we got signed and we put out a record, I think, from then on it was really crucial for them to help us build a fan base of people that were interested in being in the fan club and all that. Especially for us, I think they made us look better than we would have normally. So I'm forever grateful for that. So hopefully we won't make ourselves look too bad now.
Karl: I was just going to say it started as a thing where they wanted, they agreed to send lyrics to people that sent in, because Rivers wanted the lyrics to be kind of like, you know, for people who really wanted them would have to send away for them to find out what they couldn't hear. And it grew from that because everybody wrote in saying 'Well is there more than lyrics?' And they took it upon themselves to say 'Well yeah we're going to start a fan club.' And it really just started mushrooming from there. They just fed it all their effort all their time and really think they had a lot to do with the success of this band. And times when not much is going on in the public eye of the band there's still like this big group of people that are really interested and really want to know what's going on and are eager for anything to come up, you know? So it's really cool. It's like, I don't know, we created an amazing thing.
Pat: Kind of a low level buzz when there wasn't any buzz. So it was nice.
MTV: How do you feel connected to your fans? What's the connection?
Pat: I tend not to analyze these things too much. As far as what our fans relationship to us is, I just feel fortunate they like us enough to keep supporting us. I'm just very grateful for them to be there. Which is totally not what you wanted to hear.
MTV: How were you involved?
Pat: Well after a while, Mykel and Carli would fly to cities and we would all meet with certain members of the fan club and hang out and talk and sign stuff. Just meet fans and after a while it got to be so they could do that wherever they wanted and it was really fun. Just go to a city and here's 35 people that want to come and hang out with you and have a get together. It was kind of cool.
Karl: Being the guitar tech and long time buddy of these guys, I volunteered to write articles for them, for their fanzine which they published quarterly which I'm going to attempt to continue publishing as often as I can at this point. And it's really neat to see my stuff in print and it ended up that kids totally loved it. I don't know. I don't feel I am a good writer. But I think it was that little inside scoop of what was going on in the tour and little interviews I would do with these guys that were much different than standard interviews and stuff like that. I don't know, it was and is a really interesting position to be in. And they are all eager for the next installment. It's just fantastic. We got up to issue 10 at this point. But it was and hopefully will remain a very neat little magazine.
MTV: What would you do to see what,you know, what's the farthest you would go to see a band or something like that?
Karl: I don't think I've seen the level of dedication. I think I've seen incredible amounts of fandom just by seeing these fans. But I haven't seen the dedication like real work that they had. It's far beyond something I could muster. I mean, it's not like I'm averse to work, but it's incredible how, like where did they come up with this idea you could put this much time and energy into a band? It's a good idea...
Pat: They did a lot of work.
Karl: It's amazing. It really paid off. They gathered a lot of cool people together and a lot of cool friends together and that's like something they we inspired to do...We're grateful for all the people that they gathered together.
The band has established a memorial fund in the Allan sister's names. Send contributions to:
Weezer Memorial Fund
1035 West Olympic Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90404