Blast Off!

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"Blast Off!"
Blast Off! cover
Demo by Rivers Cuomo
Album Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
Released December 18, 2007
Recorded February 1995 in Hamburg Germany
Length 1:57
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Rivers Cuomo
RC# 199
Producer(s) Rivers Cuomo
Status Officially released
Live debut August 19, 2011 in Seattle, WA[1]
Last played September 3, 2023 in San Diego, CA
Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo track listing
"Longtime Sunshine"
"Blast Off!"
"Who You Callin' Bitch?"
Rivers Cuomo song chronology
(RC# 198)
"Blast Off!"
(RC# 199)
"Who You Callin' Bitch?"
(RC# 200)
Title artwork
Songs from the Black Hole title artwork
Songs from the Black Hole title artwork

This song is part of the "El Scorcho" (RC# 213) lineage of songs

"Blast Off!" is the eighth track off of Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. Previously leaked online, the song was originally written by Cuomo as the opening track to the aborted rock opera concept album Songs from the Black Hole.



The success of Weezer's first album stirred up a lot of mixed feelings in me-- "Yay, I'm happy" as well as "I'm not sure this is the life I want to lead." I set about exploring and expressing those feelings in a rock musical called Songs from the Black Hole.

I had the perfect opportunity to work on this project when Matt had to go back to the United States because of a family emergency leaving the rest of Weezer in Hamburg, Germany, in the middle of a tour, with nothing to do for a week. Karl and I rode the subway to a studio every day in the outskirts of the city. [Today, we still remember some of the subway stops that were called out by the monotone, automated, male German voice: "Kristuskirche... Osterstrasse."]

At the studio, I recorded "Blast Off" which I had re-worked and expanded from a 1993 songlet "Negativland". The song was to be sung by the four male lead characters in the musical, Jonas (me), Wuan (Brian), Dondó (Matt), and our mechanoid M1 (Karl). MI's part I sang with a vocoder. The song expresses the characters' different feelings about heading out on space mission, or, in other words, my different feelings about heading out on tour and up the charts with a rock band.
- Rivers Cuomo, Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, liner notes

The melody for "Blast Off!" can be traced to at least two earlier songs composed by Rivers Cuomo: "Simply State," demoed in the spring of 1992,[2] and "Negativland", recorded in May of 1993 about the experimental music band of the same name. In 1994, influenced by musical works such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Misérables, Madama Butterfly, Cuomo began conceiving a new-wave-influenced rock musical for Weezer's sophomore album, dubbed Songs from the Black Hole, to explore his own feelings about relationships and his newfound stardom with his band.[3]

An early draft of Songs from the Black Hole retained some lyrical elements from "Negativland" for the song that would later be named "Blast Off!". This version consisted of a conversation between band members Jonas, Wuan, and Dondó following a performance at the club The Black Hole.[4]

In February of 1995, during Weezer's tour of Europe, the band resolved to remain in Germany (to cut costs) to allow bassist Matt Sharp to fly back to the United States after his father suffered a stroke.[5][6] Cuomo and drummer Patrick Wilson rented a recording studio in Hamburg to record demos, among them a solo demo of "Blast Off!" The lead-off track (Act 1, Scene 1) for Songs from the Black Hole takes place on the main deck of the spaceship Betsy II on May 10, 2126 (referencing Betsy, Weezer's tour van, and the May 10 release of the Blue Album). The lyrics are a conversation between the main character, Jonas, and his shipmates, Wuan and Dondó. Jonas is excited yet reserved about the prospect of doing what he thinks is his dream job, that is, going out into space to save Nomis from being swallowed by it's sun. Wuan and Dondó are much more upbeat about the experience. In the middle of the song, M1 interjects via vocoder to remind them of the task at hand. In the last verse we learn that a female character, Maria (the ship's cook), has entered the scene and that Jonas has a history with her from the Star Corps Academy.

Although the Songs from the Black Hole album concept would eventually be scrapped in favor of that of Pinkerton, elements from "Simply State," "Negativland," and "Blast Off!" would be integrated into the Pinkerton single "El Scorcho."

Release history

The song was initially released to fans online by Cuomo in 2002. In response to a thread on the Rivers Correspondence Board analyzing the song alongside "Death and Destruction," Cuomo (posting under the moniker "ace") called the song "one of the greatest melodies ANYONE'S ever written. pure billy joel."[7]

During a Weezer concert in 2005, a fan invited up to sing on "Undone - The Sweater Song" instead sang the lyrics to "Blast Off!"[8]

Cuomo's demo of "Blast Off!" was first officially released as part of the demo compilation album Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo in 2007. This version was edited in some areas, as the original master tape had been damaged. It features a "fixed" intro, as the original demo had the word 'blast' truncated. It also segues directly into "Who You Callin' Bitch?" According to Karl Koch, a full-band version was attempted during the sessions for Pinkerton and was in consideration for release on the Deluxe Edition of that album in 2010, but Cuomo and drummer Pat Wilson ultimately decided the performance wasn't adequate.[9]

"Blast Off!" was performed live by Weezer for the first time on August 19, 2011 at a concert at WaMu Theater in Seattle, WA, as an encore song during a "Double Memories Night", in which the band performed both The Blue Album and Pinkerton in their entirety. At a concert in Pomona, California on April 24, 2023, Weezer "tested" out several songs for the band's then-forthcoming Indie Rock Road Trip tour, including "Blast Off!" The song remained on the setlist for the rest of the tour.

Live performances

Music video

The music video was directed by Karl Koch and debuted on Yahoo! on January 11, 2008 (later seeing release on iTunes and YouTube) to promote Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. The video features footage of Cuomo in Japan visiting Kyoko's family in December 2007. This was, notably, the first time fans saw Cuomo with a mustache.



Blast off! Up to the stars we go!
And leave behind everything I used to know
Somebody's giving me a whole lot of money
To do what I think I want to
So why am I still feeling blue? Oh Wuan and Dondó!

Goddamn! Get your head out of your hands!
Here's to all the times we're gonna have
Cooped up for a year
With the two best looking babes I've seen all year

Get me another bottle of beer, 'cause I'm feelin' fine!

Go ahead and waste your head
We've got the time
I hope you don't object that I
Speak my mind

Don't forget the purpose of the mission
Or Nomis will get swallowed by its sun
Each one of you is a top graduate
Of the Star Corps Academy
It's up to you to reach for a dream! Oh Wuan and Dondo!

Go ahead and waste your life
On silly fears
I hope you don't object if I
Crack another beer, yeah!

Hold on, who is it here that I see?
Wasn't she your favorite bitch in the academy?

I don't know if I wanna lead on this woman
You know, I've done that before
She's actually a good girl

Or at least a cheap ho...

Alternate verse

This verse originates from earlier drafts of "Blast Off" and replaces the M1 segment during live performances of the song

Sit back and light up a fat one, man
It's gonna be a long, cold trip if you act like that
Think of all the chicks and the money and the news crews
Waitin' back home for us

Let me off the magic bus
I don't think I belong

Songs from the Black Hole, draft 1

I'm so sorry Wuan and Dondó
I sang really bad tonight you know
I'm off to the corner of the room I don't wanna face another living soul
Tell me when you wanna go, Wuan and Dondó

No way! That was a good one man.

Yeah, we really rocked 'em hard tonight

For that I deserve another shot of the stuff I was doing 'fore I went on stage

Or at least a pretty girl. So whaddaya say, Jonas?

There's Maria and her little sister
Betcha won't have to work too hard to take her home

I don't know if I wanna lead on a woman, you know, I've done that before
She's actually a good girl
Underneath it all.

For additional lyric variants, see Songs from the Black Hole, draft 1 and 2.

See also

  1. Live debut per officially released recordings of the concert
  2. Weezer Recording History - Page 3
  3. Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo liner notes
  4. Cuomo, Rivers. The Pinkerton Diaries. 2011. Self-published
  5. Weezer Recording History - Page 7
  6. AIM chat with Rivers Cuomo excerpts - January 11, 2002
  7. Rivers Correspondence Board. 14 March 2002. Archived by Wayback Machine:
  8. CLme "Blast Off / Undone" YouTube. 16 October 2007.
  9. weezerpedia "Weezerpedia Interview with Karl Koch - 2017" YouTube. 26 October 2017.