The Buffalo News interview with Patrick Wilson - September 1, 2000

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All New Weezer

Rocker Patrick Wilson Just Wants to Make Music

Riley Graebner, News Staff Reporter

A rock star decided not to attend Clarence High School's 10-year reunion.

"Because I'm a total loser," laughs Patrick Wilson of Weezer, who graduated in 1987. "A lot of my friends went. It didn't seem like being worth the effort to cruise home, which is probably going to sound really petty and lame. I already see everybody who I like. It wouldn't have been personally fulfilling for me to come back and have some bragging rights over people. 'Hey, you were cool in 12th grade, and I'm cool now and you're lame.' I would feel terrible doing that."

Wilson moved to Los Angeles in 1990, forming Weezer two years later with frontman Rivers Cuomo, guitarist Brian Bell and bassist Matt Sharp. In 1994, sales for Weezer's self-titled debut exploded, powered by the popular singles "Undone — The Sweater Song," "Buddy Holly" and "Say It Ain't So."

But the band's follow-up album, Pinkerton, stalled.

"They didn't use [producer and former Cars frontman] Rick Ocasek on that album," explains Rich Wall, Program Director at 103.3 the Edge. "What they had on that album were much rawer songs. It never really got the push it probably deserved from the record label to make it happen nationwide. Record companies are always looking for an angle to promote the album and they didn't have it."

The rest is silence: no tours, no albums. Nothing was stirring, not even a Weezer.

"We just took a break," explains Wilson. "Matt went and did The Rentals. That turned into Matt leaving the band. There was an adjustment to make there creatively. That seems to have settled down now. We have a new bass player (former Juliana Hatfield bassist Mikey Welsh). So, we decided to do some new shows. Next thing we know, it's like 'OK! We're going out on tour.' And we're making a record this fall."

Weezer has another good excuse. In February, Rolling Stone reported that Cuomo had gotten braces.

"I've got the accelerated program with high-tension wires," Cuomo told Rolling Stone. "It hurts twice as much, but it's worth it. But it makes it tough to sing. I can't get out certain words clearly, like 'free.' And who wants to be on MTV with braces?"

By all reports, Cuomo and Weezer are back to belting out the tunes. Like many other dates on the tour, Weezer's 7 p.m. concert tonight in Runwayz, 207 Youngs Road, Cheektowaga, with opening act Dynamite Hack, has already sold out. For Wilson, it will be a bittersweet homecoming.

"I think most bands will tell you they hate playing their hometown because they have to deal with so much (stuff), like tickets for people who didn't like you," says Wilson. "I can't tell you how many times people have come up to me who hated me and now they're so nice. But for me, playing Buffalo, it's cool. Ten years ago I left and I didn't know what was going to happen. It's like two worlds coming together and it's very strange and cool at the same time."

Wilson now lives in the Los Angeles area with his wife, but a soft spot for the Buffalo area remains.

"I miss all kinds of (stuff) about Buffalo," he says. "I miss a good, crisp fall day, 50 degrees, all the leaves are changing color and you can go for a long walk. I tried to explain to my wife that going-back-to-school, late-summer vibe. She grew up in California. There's like this late summer...'oh now the summer is going away, the cold weather is coming' vibe. She can't see this."

And the Sabres?

"All I have to say about that is: no goal," Wilson laughs, alluding to the team's bitter loss in the 1999 Stanley Cup playoffs.

What this recent tour has shown Wilson and the rest of the Weezer gang is that there is still a market for nerd rock.

"People haven't forgotten about them," says The Edge's Wall. "If they do get the promotion they deserve [the new album] could turn out to be another 'Buddy Holly' from the first self-titled album. There's obviously still a passion for the band."

"I think they're a great band," says Wall. "I think they have great songs. I'd have played them whether they had a Buffalo guy in the band or not. Because Pat is in the band, I try and highlight that."

But Weezer's trademark quirky pop-rock could change on this next album, as it delves into hip hop and funk.

"The band is heavier," says Wilson. "It's just more powerful and tighter. The emphasis on songs and melodies is also there."

Wilson says he has grown musically during the band's hiatus. He now fronts his own band, Special Goodness.

"It opened up my eyes to a bigger landscape to what I was seeing. It probably helps so I don't screw the songs up when I'm playing the drums. It also helps me out so that I can do something really interesting in the hook, in the arrangement."

Wilson doesn't want to be a rock star returning to his high school reunion. He doesn't even care what city he lives in. He just wants to be playing music.

"Just keep being really creative, making records, making songs, playing," Wilson says, rattling off what he hopes the future brings. "Am I making music or am I not making music? I just love it. I love music. I love playing. I love traveling around playing it for other people. It's just a blast."

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