Reddit Q&A with Rivers Cuomo - November 2014

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Reddit Q&A with Rivers Cuomo - November 20, 2014
[Original thread]

Hi, I am Rivers from weezer. We recently released our new album Everything Will Be Alright In The End which you can listen to here Or here.

Ask Me Anything.

proof: (Editor's note: link is dead)

UPDATE: Thanks for doing this AMA with me. I'm signing off now. Have a great night.

impcat: Who is 'Eulogy for a rock band' about?

Rivers: We'll tell you on the day he dies.

capybara9: Do you have any special pre-show ritual you have to do before you go on anywhere? Or any rituals specific to do for a particular city or region?

Rivers: Scott and I have to play frisbee for at least 10 minutes before every show. It helps warm up our hands, concentrate our minds, and get us in our own little world.

Comadon-C: What's the craziest thing a fan has ever sent you?

Rivers: Twice I've gotten fan mail at my house for Brandon Boyd, the singer of Incubus. Two different houses even.

[deleted]: What are 2 albums (not weezer) that you think every weezer fan should listen into?

Rivers: I would recommend Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and Ozma's Rock and Roll Part Three

Nickorice: What is your favorite hobby when you're not making music?

Rivers: Going to Shakespeare plays.

RealLanceStorm: How did you come up with the "Watching Grunge leg drop New Jack through a press table?" Were you an ECW fan?

Rivers: That's one of the two lines on Pinkerton I didn't write. I took it from an essay of a classmate of mine. Though the person in question didn't want credit.

eightbic: Do you still enjoy messing with people in your responses to interviews?

Rivers: No, I don't indulge that instinct of mine anymore.

KilgoreSeaBass: You've played with so many excellent bands. Who was one of the best?

Rivers: Stereolab was pretty amazing.

[deleted]: Hi Rivers! When I was 16, I heard "Falling For You" for the first time, and I thought that guitar solo must be what falling in love felt like. I've been a huge fan ever since. : )

A few questions, answer any or all that you'd like:

-Did you really shave your head and try to be a monk?

-What is the line in Greatest Man after "Hey this is what I like!"? I never could figure it out.

-If you hadn't become a famous musician, what do you think you'd be doing?


  • I didn't shave my head but I asked my mother if I could, and I said I wanted to be a monk, but my parents talked me out of it. And technically I was asking to be a sannyasa, not a Catholic monk
  • "Cut my heart with a martyr's spike". I don't sing that line though, Scott and Brian do

[deleted]: Hey Rivers, 2 questions

  1. Why do you usually tune your guitars a half step down?
  2. Why did you change to standard tuning for The Green Album?


  1. I started tuning down a half step when I started being a lead singer when I was around 20 because it was easier for me to hit he high notes.
  2. On Green and Malaldroit I got interested in being more traditional like the other great bands before us. That included trying standard tuning.

vaderbombs: Rivers, what do you think when you look back at yourself in the 90's?

Rivers: We rule.

welp42: Besides Buddy Holly, who else do you get mistaken for?

Rivers: I remember when I started out I was shooting for the Rick Moranis look. But no one ever thought I was him.


Hey Rivers: what was the inspirationlike for "I'm King"?

Thank you for the music.

Rivers: I can't remember who it was, but somebody pissed me off.

[deleted]: What ever happened to the girl from "Across the Sea"?

Rivers: Good question. I don't know the answer.

masonrb500: How was the songwriting process different on Everything Will Be Alright In The End compared to other albums?

Rivers: It's pretty much the same, but I composed some of the more complicated musical passages on piano, which is a new thing for me.

wordtress: Hi Rivers! Would the band consider a camp instead of a cruise for 2016? :)

Rivers: How about both?

CAPTAINLOCKS: What is your favorite Yngwie Malmsteen song to play?

Rivers: Far Beyond the Sun

imwithpinkerton: Hi rivers! I met you on the cruise and you were super shy, as was I.... You are a huge role model to me, and I totally respect your work and your personality. But my question is, what is going through your mind when you meet us? Is it being overwhelmed? Annoyance? Happiness? Hope to meet you again in Atlanta! -Mariah

Rivers: I usually like to hear what you're excited about right now in your life. Whether it's a book, a movie, another band, or some new hobby. Teach me something. Tell me something I don't already know.

[deleted]: A lot of fans who drifted away from your post-Pinkerton work have now returned to the fold with EWBAITE. Do you feel any pressure from them to live up to the high expectations for the next album?

Rivers: No. We're grateful to our fans for reminding us of who we are and encouraging us to be ourselves. We're confident we're going to keep making kick ass music that we all love.

aroa121: Do your kids help decorate your guitars with stickers?

Rivers: The stickers on my guitars come mostly from fans, and I always need more! So please bring some to the shows if you can--if you have some extras.

Sumidiotdude: Hey Rivers, just wondering if you ever ended up seeing Green Day live? Also what are your thoughts on this gif? (Editors note: link is dead)

Rivers: Yes I have seen Green Day live.

Sumidiotdude: Cleopatra is my favorite song on the new album. Who's idea was it to put that sweet-ass extra quarter note in the first measure of the chorus phrases?

Also, you guys have crafted such a fantastic record. Every time I listen to it I hear so much hard work, thoughtfulness and heart coming through the speakers. Very grateful. Thanks for doing this AMA, Rivers!

Rivers: It just came to me, that's how the melody popped into my head. And I wasn't counting beats.

B5B0N35: What is the craziest and or dumbest think you've done on stage?

Rivers: I don't want to say because I'm really embarrassed and sorry.

Beezelj: Hi Rivers! Weezer is my favorite band and my birthday is Saturday. Can I get a shoutout?

What is your favorite animal?


  • Happy Birthday!
  • Pig
  • My favorite insect is spider

neurotic_llama: Hey Rivers! Have you read any good books lately that you can recommend?

Rivers: So many. Nonfiction - Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande. Fiction - Crime and Punishment. Also on a giant Shakespeare kick.

[deleted]: Comment deleted by user.

Rivers: Did you post that on the Fanclub page? I listened to the song there and was reminded of how incredible it was. I never had that album but I had mix tapes with some of those songs on it. It's unbelievable.

odnad: Really enjoyed your interview with Mark on the What the Fuck podcast.

Cats or dogs?

Rivers: I can't decide.

[deleted]: Comment deleted by user.

Rivers: Of course we hope to make many more great albums but that is a long way off. The EWBAITE era has just begun.

[deleted]: What was your favorite song to record?

Rivers: In my life? Maybe the Futurescope Trilogy because it's the most emotional.

jaxdan: Did you feel any extra pressure at the Bowery Ballroom show with Ric Ocasek watching in the crowd? p.s. that show was amazing.

Rivers: We always feel a little extra pressure when Ric is around, whether it's at a show or in the studio. That's one of the reasons it's so helpful to work with him; he inspires us to bring our A game.

ilikeicecream3:The Other Way” has been on the setlist for recent shows which I’m more than happy about because it’s a great deep cut. Can we expect other deep cuts on upcoming tours? You guys have a massive catalogue and I’m sure many fans, including myself, would go to multiple shows on a single tour if we knew there would be different songs played each night. Please give Maladroit some more attention :). Love the new album by the way.

Rivers: These recent EWBAITE shows were maybe my favorite shows I've ever played as a musician. Looking forward to throwing more curve balls in the future.

ModerateRock: What's your favorite movie?

Rivers: I'm not a big movie guy.

[deleted]: Boxers, briefs, or superman skivvies?

Rivers: Boxer briefs

JoeCool888: What has been the most difficult obstacle in your career? How did you overcome it?

Rivers: Self doubt. Which was overcome only by the intensity of my desire to be a musician and share my music with the world.

chicenbock: Thanks for doing this, Rivers! I've never been more excited for an AMA Before. You have been my favorite musician/celebrity since I was 4 years old, when my dad put on the blue album in the car and told me that he had a new band for me. I even wrote a research paper about weezer last year. I respect and admire your successes and think that your rise to the top of the music industry is unbelievable. Also, we have the same birthday, so that's pretty cool.

Now for my questions!

-Which song and band have been the biggest influences on you as a musician? I know you were inspired by nirvana, but is there any unexpected band or song that has inspired you?

  • did you ever find the girl you're singing about in "across the sea?" If you did, what happened with her?

-how did you and your father make up? In older songs like "say it ain't so" it seems that you harbor so much resentment for him, but in more recent songs like "foolish father" it seems like you've forgiven him. How did you guys reconnect?

-will you be coming to DC for a show? I couldn't make it to Philadelphia but am dying to see you live for a 5th time in a more intimate venue!


  • The musician that I've most consistently connected to through my entire life is J.S. Bach
  • First I started seeing [my father] when we were on tour in Europe in the 90s, and then he moved from Germany to Southern California and I started seeing him more often.

moldycakemix: Hi Rivers! :) What are your favorite places to tour?

Rivers: Anywhere where there's a high percentage of hardcore fans and fan clubbers

Leghairgreysock: How do I buy the Pinkerton Diaries now? The website you were selling it on has been down for over a month.

Rivers: (Editors note: this link is dead.)

clomax: Hi Rivers! What was the first song you wrote for ewbaite?

Rivers: Weezer Cruise 2012 so I think it was... I would have to go back and check my notes but I think it was Ain't Got Nobody or Cleopatra.

cautino: Question: is EWBAITE the story of your relationship with your fans?

Rivers: EWBAITE has many levels and many stories, one of which is our relationship with the fans.

JustonianD: Ive seen you with an Alienware laptop in some videos. What kind of games do you play on it?

Rivers: I don't have an Alienware laptop, I have a Razer Blade. I don't play games but I had to a 512GB hard drive because I like to keep working on my demos in aAbleton when I'm on the road. My laptop is synced to my desktop computer via dropbox.

TitusPullus: Hey Rivers, big fan! I have two questions. 1. Will Weezer ever release a fully made Songs From The Black Hole? 2. Are you going to release the b-sides from EWBAITE? If so when? I also had to throw this in somewhere!

Rivers: 2. We are releasing an exclusive 7" single with a new song to the weezer fan club next year. Join at

clomax: Hi Rivers! Have you ever thought to turn EWBAITE or SFTBH into a live Broadway musical like Green Day did with American Iidot? (sic)

Rivers: Honestly I'm 100% satisfied creatively artistically physically mentally and emotionally, playing these EWBAITE shows. They have been the greatest musical experience of my life. I haven't had any need to think of future steps at the moment.

clomax: Hey Rivers! Is there more detail with the concept album than just what is in the story of the songs?

Rivers: Yeah, theres a lot more detail. You can see pieces of the story in the webisodes on YouTube. #weezerwednesday And maybe other pieces will be coming out in other ways in the future.

[deleted]: Hey Rivers, now that its been a few weeks since the release of EWBAITE, do you listen back to some of the songs and think "wow I should've added this or removed this here"? Are there any songs that you feel should've had more improvement?

Rivers: No, we really took our time making this album and had plenty of chances to go back and tweak things until it was just right.

[deleted]: What song did you wake up to Today?

Rivers: San Fermin - Sonsick. It's incredible.

[deleted]: What song did you wake up to Today?

Rivers: San Fermin - Sonsick. It's incredible.

Feels_Groovy: Hi Rivers. What did you eat for lunch today?

Rivers: A yam soft shell burrito and a potato burrito. They were both amazing.

lionondafloor: If you could open for ANY band, who would it be?

Rivers: Pretty mind-blown to be playing with U2 in a few weeks. edit: just found out about Bono's accident.

hellodolly81: Any current musician you are fan girling about?

Rivers: Sia. Her voice kills me.

alienabuilder: Rivers! So excited to have you here on Reddit, thank you very much for being here!

When I was about twelve I decided I wanted to play guitar. My parents encouraged me by sending me to a badass teacher who ended up introducing me to Weezer. I started out learning Butterfly, Island in the Sun, Jamie, and Buddy Holly. I couldn't get enough of it and you music helped me a lot in my teens. I really want to say thank you for always having a song I can turn to for every mood or situation or need.

So my question for you today is: when did you learn to play guitar, what was the experience like, and what music did you first start out practicing?

Bonus question: you seem to be a really amazing dad, what's your favorite piece of parenting wisdom?


  • I borrowed my brother's guitar when I was 13 and I got my own guitar for my 14th birthday. I started with KISS and Judas Priest. I remember my fingertips hurt a lot, and I sounded really bad, but it was a thrill to approximate the sound I was hearing on my favorite records.

SheepwithShovels: Favorite continental philosopher?

Rivers: Nietzsche, though I'm not sure what you mean by continental

Shadesta9: Hey Rivers, glad to see you engage with the fanbase like this. I've had a lot of questions for you for years so hopefully this gets answered.


  1. Are you still embarrassed to have made Pinkerton as you once said you were? Do you feel like you could ever write from such an emotionally vulnerable place again?
  2. After spurning the label's request to write poppy songs i.e. in Pork and Beans, what inspired the turn to pop production a year later in Raditude?
  3. If you could have done things differently post-Pinkerton, would you have changed anything?

4. Did you make a conscious effort to go back to the old Weezer sound with EWBAITE? I know a whole album was scrapped post Hurley to make this so how did the songwriting process change following that?
5. Slightly related, it's said that after Pinkerton you made a 'bible' of writing popular songs and relied on it to write much of latter-day Weezer. Was the writing of EWBAITE based on finding the songwriting 'key' for the older records or did you try to write it more organically the way you wrote Blue and Pinkerton?
6. In the earlier days, Weezer consisted of you doing the songwriting and bringing it to the other guys to fill in other parts. How much has that changed over the years and what's the status quo in the band now?
7. Was the title of EWBAITE based on the incident you wrote about in the Diaries when a nurse said this in consolation for the pain from the leg extension healing?

8. Is the gap for the next album going to be a quick followup one within a couple years or more like the 4 years between Hurley and EWBAITE?
9. Would you ever go back to the color scheme for albums?
10. You mentioned in the Pinkerton Diaries that you might want to write musicals one day, would you still ever want to dabble in that?
11. Are there plans for further Alone albums? Might we ever hear songs off things like Deliverance at Hand or other album sessions?
12. Would you consider writing a concept album again similar to SFTBH?
13. What artists out there today inspire you to write? What are some of your favourite bands at the moment?
I've loved Weezer over the years and EWBAITE is my third favourite Weezer record. I hope you continue in this vein and keep the myth alive.


  • Present #2 (Editor's note: this is question 5): Again, 90% unconscious, 10% conscious
  • Present #3 (Editor's note: this is question 6): We pretty much do the same thing we've always done. I make demos at home, and then we all get in the studio and jam out together and bring the songs to life
  • Present #4 (Editor's note: this is question 7): She said that? In The Diaries? I don't remember that. Anyway, no, that's not where I got it from, at least not consciously. It came to me after the bus accident in 2009

Rivers: Past 3. I would have started meditating sooner.

Rivers: Present #1 (Editor's note: this is question 4): If I had to put a number on it, I'd say most of what we do is 90% unconscious and 10% conscious

See also

External links