The Gazette article - March 23, 1995

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Print interview with Matt Sharp
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Publication The Gazette
Interviewee Matt Sharp
Interviewer Mark Lepage
Date March 23, 1995
Title Unlikely hit-makers: Weezer comes without disguise
Format Print
External link via
Associated concert Weezer concert: 03/25/1995
References See where this interview is referenced on Weezerpedia

Unlikely hit-makers: Weezer comes without disguise
Author: Mark Lepage (The Gazette)
Published: March 23, 1995

We could start with a forum on the popularity of Nerd Rock, or leap into the great Weezer Rules-vs.-Weezer Sucks debate, but it really all begins with that name - Weezer. Images of iron lungs. Sanitariums. Walkers. Dr. Kevorkian. The Crazy Old Man from the Simpsons croak-singing with his pants around his ankles. The CHOM playlist. All come to mind at the merest mention of Weezer.

What does not come to mind is hit, but in the reupholstered clubhouse that is rock radio right now, a new kid gets membership from one week to the next.

They have something in common, these Green Days and Offsprings and Weezers.

They all seemed to come from nowhere and make their names instantly familiar in that way only a hot young band can. They all intersect the punk graph at some point, although none is truly punk. (Green Day is close.) They are all unlikely hit-makers, and at the risk of waxing cynical, unlikely to be hit-makers for the long haul, which is just fine.

They are also all most welcome, because even if a band like Weezer can draw the dread "suck" accusation from professional groovers who object on purist principle, there can be no denying the overwhelming addictiveness of the sound.

And at the very least, Weezer comes without a disguise, and it starts with that name, because Weezer is uncool from the get-go.

The hit, Buddy Holly, is a love song for outsiders, for every couple never chosen as King and Queen of the prom. Weezer used the name not for its rock-legend cachet, not as a homage to a songwriting elder, but because Buddy Holly's glasses are English for "uncool."

Mary Tyler Moore is the name on everybody's lips again because of her mention in the chorus, but she's only included for being the universal Susie Goodgirl. The video magically put the Weezer boys in Al's Diner, playing the dweeb house band in Happy Days. The song crunches, is transportingly catchy, but the enduring image is of those loser sweaters in the video, of glasses taped together, of not being invited into the smoking lounge between classes. Of being a loser.

'Probably boring'

The Weezer guys can't even get it together to hype themselves in the official record company bio, humbly penning brief sketches of their lives before signing off "because this is probably boring."

Bassist Matt Sharp is reached at his hotel in Seattle- Grungetown, where It All Happened. He's sitting on top of the world with a huge single and album. Still, he can't forget the old days. The pain... "We don't feel too much part of a community," he says.

"When we were starting out, nobody really helped us out. There weren't bands saying 'Hey, we really like you guys, come and open for us and we'll try to help you out as much as possible.'" Why? "I dunno."

Just not cool enough, I guess. The band has been together since '92, based in L.A., mecca to musos and HQ of hip, where the members gravitated from home towns in geeky "East Coast suburbia." They are most certainly In, working with Spike Jonez [sic], the (oops) hip video director on that Buddy Holly clip, which is most certainly a satire of the very rock-coolness Weezer rejects as old-hat corporate crap.

"No, we just thought it would be funny. "Spike's brilliant; all of his videos are great. That's the only reason we worked for him because, personally, I don't care for videos very much. For the most part, they're pretty fin' stupid. Not to say that our videos aren't stupid, but at least they're not embarrassingly stupid."

The video means nothing, then. No satire. The name? It means "nothing. Came outta the blue." The sweaters, the hair, the glasses, the bio, they all add up to a perfect composite sketch, suitable for circulating to the Mod Squad so we can bust these perps. Still, Weezer is cooler than you are.

Not many losers receive correspondence from Mary Tyler Moore. "She sent us some autographed pictures of her. Framed."

By the way, just kidding about the CHOM reference, guys. Be cool.

Weezer, with Archers of Loaf, in the Spectrum Saturday The show is all-ages. Tickets cost $15.50.