The Purification of Water

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"The Purification of Water"
The Purification of Water cover
Demo by Rivers Cuomo
Album Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
Released November 25, 2008
Recorded July 1993
Length 3:55
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Rivers Cuomo
RC# 133
COR# N/A
Producer Rivers Cuomo
Status Released
Rivers Cuomo song chronology
"Simply State (And the Girl Will Follow)"
(RC# 132)
"The Purification of Water"
(RC# 133)
"The Bottle of Wine Song"
(RC# 134)
Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo track listing
"I Want to Take You Home Tonight
(2)
"The Purification of Water"
(3)
"I Was Scared"
(4)

"The Purification of Water" is a demo by Rivers Cuomo and the third track from Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo.

Appearances

Overview

The song is first known to have been recorded in the summer of 1992. This early version of the song was included in Cuomo's demo tape Monterey Jack, and was first heard by fans in 2020 when it was leaked through the demo storefront on riverscuomo.com on November 7 before being made available for purchase thereafter as part of the compilation Alone IV: The Blue-Pinkerton Years. A second version of the song, recorded by Cuomo in July of 1993, was initially uploaded online by Cuomo in the early 2000s, and was the first version to be heard by fans. A higher-quality version of this recording was released in 2008 as part of the album Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. Cuomo recalled the inspiration for the song in the liner notes for Alone II.

Alone II liner notes

In the first months of Weezer's existence, I roadied occasionally for my friend Kevin's band, King Size, helping out the bassist with his gear. I was surprised that he wanted me to rub his strings with isopropyl alcohol in between every song of their set, but I did my best to comply, despite my lack of motivation. King Size happened to win a competition to travel, all expenses paid, to Guatemala to perform in front of what we imagined would be a packed arena of screaming fans. I was invited to come along and happily accepted, wanting to practice my Spanish and experience a Kerouac-ian adventure. And perhaps do a little bass tech-ing too.

On June 18th, 1992, the King Size entourage, including me, flew to Guatemala City. We checked in to the Hoteles Camino Real De Guatemala where I changed twenty U.S. dollars for ninety-eight quetzals at the front desk. That night we all went to a private party at a local night club, with about thirty young people who had helped organize the upcoming concert. Kevin sang along, karaoke style, to King Size's tape as it played over the club sound system. A crowd formed a semi-circle around him as he danced, sang and posed. He was a natural showman and the crowd went nuts. I was very impressed.

That night the band and the crew were able to meet some of the girls in the crowd. I met a girl named Aliss. Aliss didn't speak English so I was extra-stimulated by my interaction with her. I was forced to exercise my Spanish language muscles. Over the next few days, she showed me around the city. She took me to her home where I was surprised to see her family living all together in one room, as did the other families in the area. Everyone seemed happy and cozy in spite of the conditions. Aliss and I had a great time together and I noted with pride that I actually seemed to be having more luck than the actual "rock stars," none of whom had yet paired off with anyone. The arena concert on the twentieth turned out to be a complete bust. For reasons unknown to me, hardly anyone attended the concert, apart from the thirty or so kids who had organized it. The arena looked totally barren.

The next day Aliss and I said goodbye to each other as the King Size crew returned to L.A. She gave me a tape of a Guatemalan band named Garibaldi which I took with me and listened to a few times, thinking back wistfully on my Latin girlfriend. I recognized that the heartache I felt apart from Aliss was another good subject for a song. Specifically, I wanted to capture my pessimistic belief that the love I seek in relationships will always break my heart because all relationships must come to an end. I used a metaphor to stand in for my romantic longing: a thirsty gringo traveling south of the border, made sick by the water he so desperately seeks. The song was called "The Purification of Water" (Track 3)

Audio

Personnel

  • Rivers Cuomo – lead guitar, lead vocals, percussion, rhythm guitar, bass guitar, keyboard

Lyrics

Handwritten lyrics sheet

1993 lyrics (Alone II)

Everybody told me
And I knew it myself
Don't drink the water
It's bad for your health

But god, it's hot I had no choice
The sun it burned down on me
Even though they told me so
I drank it deep, drank it deep

Even though, we both know
What we know, we can't say no
The world is blind to what it finds
The world is blind though the sun shines

Now I kneel
Before the sacred basin
And offer up
The sweetest of all sin

But god, it's hot I had no choice
The sun it burned down on me
Even though they told me so
I drank it deep, drank it deep

Even though, we both know
What we know, we can't say no
The world is blind to what it finds
The world is blind though it shines

See also