Riverpedia archive - 09/13/2020

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Gabe Cuomo

My half-brother. Grew up in Germany. A great soccer player. I got him a tryout with the LA GALAXY.

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-13 08:20 AM utc )

Green Album, Wagner, Mozart

Although I am no authority, it is my understanding that "Zauberflote", "Figaro", "Don Giovanni" and the handful of other Mozart operas are considered to be among the greatest achievements of Western music . Wagner's work, on the other hand, is generally credited with being the most obviously erosive factor in bringing music down from its high point in the eighteenth century.

Listen to Zauberflote. What you hear is an amazing collection of pop songs, all perfectly crafted and arranged in a dynamic and organic way, sustaining a pleasurable listening experience for over two hours. The songs don't try to carry the plot of the opera. They're just beautiful songs. The plot is carried along by the recitative in between the songs.

Wagner, on the other hand, eliminated the song-form/recitative combination and strove for a continuosly developing composition which could last, literally, for twelve hours. There's no catchy tunes, there's no satisfying choruses, there's no rousing rhythms. Why? Because, for Wagner, music now only existed to describe the events of the plot. The composition was no longer essentially musical, but rather dramatic. Therefore, Wagner's "music" is decadent in the sense that it no longer adds up to a solid musical composition, but rather of a series of dramatic, and occasionally thrilling, effects.

This leads me to your question about Stravinsky's Firebird, which, as you pointed out, tells a story. Stravinsky rejected the decadence of Wagner's music quite vehemently, and self-consciously modeled his music after the Classic masters, like Mozart. For example, he utilized the song/ recitative structure of the eighteenth century, even going so far as to utilize the dorky harpsichord flourishes in between songs in his opera "The Rake's Progress"! The result is a neo-classical opera; a complete rejection of all things Wagnerian. Green album, anyone?

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-13 07:25 AM utc )

Jake Sinclair

Produced The white album, ok human, i love the usa. Did some engineering on If You're Wondering If I Want you to. He got his start as Butch Walker's assistant. From Utah.

Further Reading:
OK Human

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-13 08:24 AM utc )

Leaves Cuomo

My brother.

The “Jimmy” I wrestled with in Say It Ain’t So

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-13 15:33 PM utc )

OK Human

Beats 1 (@Beats1) January 24, 2019

"Our next album is not on a grid," I explained. "We just recorded the basic tracks, and there's no click, no grid."

When asked about a title, I said, "We don't have a real title, but the key word we have to inspire us at the moment is 'masterpiece.'"

Beats1 February 6, 2019

At the time I was listening to a lot of Nilsson Sings Newman and I said it was the biggest inspiration on our next album.

The song I chose to showcase this with was I'll Be Home:

LA TIMES. Feb 22, 2019

"Cuomo said the group is almost finished with another album, one he described as “piano-based, very eccentric, with strings already recorded at Abbey Road.” (Its working title is “OK Human,” after Radiohead’s “OK Computer,” though the singer identified his musical inspirations as George Gershwin and “Nilsson Sings Newman.”)"

KINK 1 year ago.

Brian Bell

-If he could play any album of Weezer's live he would pick OK Human. He didn't think he was supposed to talk about it but he was so excited about it.

-Played acoustic guitar, Hammond organ, and backing vocals.

-He was listening to it for a month at the time and it's all he wanted to listen to.

-His dream is to perform it with an orchestra and would like to play at places like the Hollywood Bowl.

-Management didn't hear it at the time and Brian said they were pushing for Van Weezer but he said they didn't know how powerful the album is.

-He didn't hear rough mixes at the time and had Pat's drums, Rivers vocals, and strings to work with.

-Jake didn't want the album rushed out.

-In their inner circle, they still called it "Masterpiece", and although Brian thought it was pretentious at first, he said that it was a "f*ing ... masterpiece".

Link to interview

July 17, 2019 Allthingsloud.com

Interviewer: You guys have got three albums in the pipeline whose releases are imminent, right?

Brian: There’s two. There is a third thing, but I can’t talk about it. One is more finished than the other. They’re both very interesting and I’m very excited for one of them.

Interviewer: Are these more high-concept albums?

Brian: Yeah, one of them is called OK Human which seems to be about technology and how it’s running our life.

Interviewer: Not just lyrically, but on the last few albums it feels as though you’re exploring specific musical themes, almost like an exploration into new genres.

Brian: Yeah. OK Human is unlike anything I’ve ever heard, unlike any other type of music and unlike any Weezer music. In the bass, if you really broke it down to its common denominator, it still goes one, four, five in a major key for the most part. That’s very Weezer, that’s very Sweater Song, but it does it in more sophisticated ways.

Link to interview

Aug 20, 2020

I posted potential lyrics to an OK Human song here on Riverchat.

Moby Dick trip on a whale. He’s kinda just like me. We’re thirsty for the deep.


I’ll be there to show support for Winston Smith in 1984. Because battling Big Brother feels more meaningful than binging zombie hordes.

I referred to that one as the “audio book song” and may have given the title as “Crankin Mrs. Dalloway.” (needs clarification)

Assorted Quotes

"we recorded strings at abbey road and you can tell."

In response to a comment about the Harry Nilsson and Gershwin influences: "Bach and Beethoven sprinkled in and you've got it."

Album Cover

The album cover was created by an illustrator whose work I discovered in a comic shop/book store. He was commissioned to do an original piece for the cover.

Song Titles

  1. Everything Happens For A Reason
  2. Dead Roses (contains the word oubliette in the chorus and is very Gothic)
  3. La Brea Tar Pits
  4. Here Comes The Rain (some people said Rivers mentioned this, needs clarification)
  5. Rock My Audible

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-13 13:56 PM utc )

Profile of Self As Writer

                                                                               Rivers Cuomo
                                      Expos 17

Profile of Self as Writer

Hmmm… where to begin? Me and writing: oil and water; errr, I mean: fire and water. Or fire and ice. Something like that. I almost never put pen to paper anymore. I’m too scared to try. I’m afraid of writing line after line of crap until finally I’m forced to admit that I have absolutely nothing to say. My grammar’s good, my arguments are solid, and I can be clever, dangerously clever, but my purest, most honest response to a blank piece of paper is to drop it and run. When I do write, it’s only because there’s a gun pointed at my head - most often by myself. I perform this ritual torture because I’ve always assumed that I was supposed to be a writer. When I was a child I loved to write. At least, I loved the attention I got for writing. My first “success” was thirty pages of a smart-ass seven-year-old’s idea of humor. I read my story aloud to the class, who laughed and enjoyed it so much, I had to read it again the next day. I was at the peak of my confidence with my newfound power. I was “brilliant”, “creative”, and “probably going to be a great writer.”
I continued in this “write for praise” mode until sometime in high school when it became apparent to all of us young adults that in writing you’re actually supposed to be saying something, not just entertaining or showing how you’ve mastered a certain literary technique. This didn’t seem like a problem, for I recently had discovered that I held many opinions. I was a proud nonconformist, a pensive existentialist, and a radical environmentalist, among many other ist’s. I was right and they were wrong and I had the facts to prove it. My writing was strong, confident, and incredibly annoying. Well, at some point between then and now, I lost it. My spirit gave out. My constructs of right and wrong crumbled. Now I have the hardest time forming an opinion about what type of cereal I want for breakfast, much less what to do about the crisis in the Middle East. And because writing never came natural to me, never became a habit, I don’t even have the tools, or desire, to write about my confusion. I’ve always kept a journal, but it’s pathetic. I kept it only because I thought I was supposed to keep it. I just assumed I was the journal-writer-type. But it’s crap, really it is. One page in a hundred says something interesting and the rest are all crap. I can go weeks without writing and be perfectly happy until the guilty thought occurs to me: “I’m supposed to be writing this shit down!” Then I force myself to write. I force myself to have some scrap of insight. I force myself to be sensitive and reflective and poetic. Because I am a writer. Crap. And now, here I sit, forcing some more out. If you must know my particular difficulties (aside from my problems with existential pitfalls) here are a few gems: I’m lazy. I never bother to plan out what I’m going to write. I just dive in and hope that a)I can swim to the other side; and b)I don’t get stuck in the middle of some ridiculous metaphor about diving and swimming. Difficulty Number Two: I’m a slow reader. This one has always puzzled me. It may have something to do with all the PCP I took in junior high. Oh yeah, that reminds me of Difficulty Number Three: general lack of interest in anything and overall retardation of all mental facilities. This is due entirely to the fact that 187 days ago I had a really nasty operation on my leg and was on high-powered opiates for two months after. I haven’t felt nor thought anything except pain and misery in the past five months. I’m only just now beginning to show the first glimmer of spiritual recovery, although I’m still perpetually in a bad mood.
My writing habits? I’m a relentless editor. What you’re now reading may seem like the effortless gesture of a great mind (sarcasm, please), but is actually the result of much nail-biting, pacing, and erasing what I previously thought was brilliant. I write in brief spurts, rarely longer than a paragraph, and then nothing for an hour or two, or a day or six months. I often read over what I’ve written - like a pole-vaulter sprinting down the runway - trying to build up enough momentum to clear whatever barrier stopped my last spurt. What I would like from this class - more than any specific technical help - is a jump start. I just want to get my brain going again after two years on the road with my band and five months of painful post-op rehabilitation. Ultimately, I’d like to develop a habit of writing, so it’s something I do every day without much fear or anxiety. I’d like to be able to express my thoughts and feelings accurately and so that others can read them. I’d like to keep a journal. What’s all this I’m saying? Sure enough, once again I raise the gun to my head: I’d like to be a writer.

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-13 07:13 AM utc )

What The Devil Is That Song About?

What the Devil is that Song About? by Rivers Cuomo 21 December 1994

The question most frequently asked of Weezer - besides "What was it like working with Ric Ocasek?" - is definitely: "What the devil is that song about?", referring to either "the Sweater Song" or "Buddy Holly". This question isn't a problem for my bandmates: they're all magnificent liars. Each time someone gets the bright idea to ask it, they never fail to fabricate some totally original, imaginative and exciting story involving hot air balloons and high speed car chases, all explaining the origin of "ooo-wee-ooo I look just like Buddy Holly". Unfortunately, I wasn't blessed with this gift. To date, my sole response has been to shrug my shoulders and try and pass myself off as mentally retarded. This usually works remarkably well. But after nine months of dodging this most simple and sincere of questions, I'm beginning to wonder why I have such an aversion to answering it.

The most obvious explanation, and possibly the most truthful, is that I sound like a complete asshole when I talk about my own lyrics. Even now I already sound like an asshole, and I haven't even started talking about them yet. I'm just talking about talking about them. Not even. I'm talking about not talking about them. And I sound like an asshole. You know why? It's because I used the word "my". "My lyrics". That sounds awful. I suppose they are my lyrics, considering that I wrote them, but for me to actually come out and say "my lyrics" sounds awful. I sound like a "composer". I sound like I'm wearing wire-rimmed glasses, sipping Chianti, and "composing" up in my loft. And that's not me. I live in a garage and "compose" through a full-on Marshall stack.

I'd hate to pick up a copy of some interview I've done and read my explanation of the sociopolitical ramifications of "the Sweater Song". The fact is, I write stupid pop songs. Unfortunately, they're not quite stupid enough that I can get away with calling them that unqualified. I have to admit they are, perhaps, a notch more involved than the songs of, say, Boys II Men. There is some metaphor, there is some unusual imagery, and often there is a deeper meaning, but for me to talk about those things makes me sound like Chianti-guy. Until someone figures out a way to talk about lyrics honestly and sincerely without sounding like a total smeg-head, I'm going to keep my mouth shut. And I expect that won't be for a long time.

There is another reason I don't like to talk about lyrics, and although perhaps not quite as obvious, it is even more important. Because good lyrics have meaning beyond the literal, they must be interpreted to be fully appreciated. And who more qualified to interpret a song than its writer, right? Wrong! True, the writer lived through the experience that inspired the song, but does he have the perspective necessary to fully understand it? Hopefully not. Hopefully, the writer is so consumed by inspiration that he has no perspective at all and no conscious knowledge of what he's doing. So when he tries to interpret his own song, first hand personal experience is just as likely to lead him to ridiculous bias as to privileged insight.

For example, I'm tempted to think that a certain song of ours (which will remain unnamed to protect the innocent) is about the day my girlfriend left me. I remember that sad day; I picked up my guitar and spilled tears of grief and loss over those four sad chords. But if I think very carefully, I also remember that a week later I met this new girl named Sonia (who speaks Spanish, Italian, and Portugeuse) and forgot all about the first girl. But still, to this day, that song makes me sad, and it still rings true. So maybe it wasn't about what's-her-name after all. Maybe it's about the time my Mom refused to give me a warm banana before bed. Who am I to say?

As you see, well-written lyrics can have a myriad of meanings. There's only so many ways you can take "Shoop, Shoop-be-doop, Shoop-be-doop-be-doop-be-doop", but bite into a classic like "Cum on feel the Noize" or "We're not Gonna Take it" and you'll find as many different interpretations as there are spikes on Rob Halford's wristband. For the writer to give what he considers the one true interpretation of a song is to limit what could otherwise be poetry, or at least somewhat confusing. And the real crime is that the audience believes the writer unquestioningly because he wrote the damn thing.

Hopefully, the greater part of any writer's inspiration is subconscious. I hate to think of a song being written by a wholly conscious creator: "Yes, the melody should ascend here to underscore the protagonist's increased expectations at the appearance of his lover, and here, fall suddenly as disillusionment, shame, and a forcibly-ejected ball of her saliva settle upon him." I've tried this and the results are sucky. Consciousness should be avoided at all costs.

Lastly, even if a writer could feel confident that he completely understood his own work, that he would take into account all of its sordid subconscious origins, and that he would not diminish its value or misrepresent it by speaking, the chances of him successfully communicating all of this to Stacy, ace-reporter for the Chelsea High school paper, are slim at best. Compound this with the fact that said writer has gotten four hours of sleep and has tried to explain "the Sweater Song" six times a day for the past nine months to reporters just like Stacy, and the results are downright gruesome.

The point is: when a writer talks about his songs, he only hurts that which he wracked his soul to create. Instead of opening up new avenues of understanding for his audience to explore, he limits their view to his own twisted, road-weary, and cynical Gospel. He leads them astray with his personal biases. He confuses them with his foggy, fatigued brain. Worst of all, he turns into Chianti-guy and makes a complete ass out of himself. This is a fate I would like to avoid. Let the songs be; there's no need to dissect them. If you like them as stupid pop songs, that's fine with me. If you want to go digging for a little more, that's cool too. All that being said, I think I'd better shut up.

Further Reading:
Beverly Shoenberger

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-13 07:10 AM utc )