Rivers Cuomo Fan Interview 2006
The following is a fan interview with Rivers Cuomo conducted in 2006. All spelling and grammatical errors (which were intentional) were not changed so as to retain the authenticity of the interview. All questions without an interviewer's name were either asked by multiple people or asked anonymously.
Fred Spearfish, Saint Diego: What bands where you listening to at the time you first started writing material for The Blue Album?
Rivers: Off the top of my head, in no particular order:
¦ Gregg Alexander
¦ I remember hearing a lot of STP at parties
¦ Ice Cube
¦ Janes addiction
¦ King missile
¦ King Size (I roadied for them in Guatemala)
¦ Lots of The velvet underground
¦ Nirvana (though I was kind of intentionally avoiding them)
¦ Public Enemy
¦ Richard Strauss
¦ Roger from Zapp
¦ Sonic youth
¦ The Smiths
And of course: the radio and Karls mix tapes!
Were talking about late 91 early 92. I don’t remember listening to that much music at the time. I was very busy with school and my various jobs. My big music listening period was 90-91 when I was worked at Tower Records. I had to listen to 8 hours of music everydaybasically everything that was released at that time, and then some. I was exposed to a ton of music that I otherwise never would have heard.
I saw 1991-12-12 Jane’s Addiction/Pixies/Primus at the Palladium. I saw Tool at Rajis out of curiosity.
This March I wrote a song that catalogs a lot of the music I’ve listened to in my life in chronological order, starting with Edmund Fitzgerald and ending with Nevermind.
Joey, Snellville, Georgia: Are those glasses and sweaters really you, or was it a gimmick?
Rivers: The glasses were really me but then they started to feel like a gimmick so I stopped wearing them. Im not sure what you mean by sweaters. I wear sweaters when Im cold.
Rather_dashing, Carmel, Indiana: Big bang or a god?
Rivers: I have no idea. It doesnt seem to me that theyre mutually exclusive, though.
Michael Silvers: What do you say to those people (fans) who say they want another Pinkerton?
Rivers: I cant control what I write. I have to accept whatever comes. If its not what someone wants to hear, then at least they can agree with me to love Pinkerton and part as friends.
Daniel Ryan, Boston, Massachusetts: Rivers, who is your favorite philosopher or thinker?
18-25: Herman Hesse, Thoreau, Henry Miller, Jack Kerouac, Richard Brautigan
25-28 Camille Paglia, Joe Matt, Howard Stern
Stephanie Beckman, Madison, Wisconsin: Considering your level of education, do you ever intend to apply this to areas outside of the music industry?
Rivers: I have no intention of doing that at this time.
Nadia: How did you know your friend became the love of your life?
Rivers: Suddenly I couldnt stop thinking about her and I just knew it was right.
Nicholine Lee, Davis, CA: Rivers, how do you feel about death and the afterlife? Thank you.
Rivers: Actually, I dont think about it at all, although Id prefer not to die at this point.
Ben Hogan, San Antonio, TX: Did your inspiration to sing "Hip, Hip" in "Island in the Sun" come from the violinist in chapter 1 of Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle"?
Gumby Tom, Columbus, Ohio: Is there any meaning at all behind Crab? (If so, what is it?)
Rivers: A heterosexual guys sexual frustration with a particular girl.
Interviewer: Rivers, while the band is not busy recording or touring, do you stay in contact with Brian, Pat and Scott?
Rivers: Yes, I do. Theyre going to be my groomsmen.
Shane: One thing that always baffled me was why you went away from the longer melodies of your earlier work, and have gone for the more "common" short melody approach on almost every song since Pinkerton. I am a songwriter, and I find so much inspiration from all your different types of songs but some of my personal favorite melodies of yours are Wanda, Walt Disney, Blast Off, Across the Sea, Devotion.. and my recent favs are Death and Destruction, The Organ Player, Lullaby, Haunt You Everyday, The Damage in Your Heart, Everybody Wants a Chance to Feel All Alone and The Other Way. So, as you can see, I love the new stuff too.. just wondering why you felt it'd be "better" to make shorter melodies when you are one of the best "long melody" writers around.
Rivers: I just went for whatever sounded cool in the moment.
Aaron aka The Short Elvis, London, United Kingdom: Do you still find writing music for Weezer fun and challenging?
Rivers: Well, I never really wrote for Weezer. I just wrote whatever I wanted to write and Weezer played the songs that were appropriate for it. But, yes, writing is still incredibly fun and challenging. At least it was the last time I tried, a few months ago. Im incredibly inspired by eminem lately. It seems theres an endless frontier of innovation still ahead of humankind.
Thomas M. Kelly: What more do you know about the Japanese fan who wrote you the letter that led to writing "Across the Sea"? Have you ever contacted her? Why won't you add that song to the setlists for your US tours?
Rivers: I dont know anything about her and Ive never contacted her. If Im not mistaken, we have played that song in u.s. In any case, last year we made our setlists based on what songs got the best audience response. Our only aim was to please the listeners. Clearly, it was impossible to please everyone.
Joel McClelland, London, England: Who is your favorite soccer team overseas? Who is your favorite soccer player now?
Rivers: My favorite player is Landon Donovan. I dont think I have a favorite team overseas but I really enjoy watching the Premier League, perhaps because of the steep camera angles.
Nate Buchik, Tucson, AZ: Do you crave commercial success?
Rivers: Hardly at all anymore, though I did when I was a younger man.
Chapped Her Three
Jeff A., Seattle, WA: Are you still updating the Catalog of Riffs, and if so, what is your ultimate goal in compiling such a library?
Rivers: I merged the COR with the Grand Schedule in 2002 (I think) and have called it the Grand File ever since. I dont update it anymore unless I discover a particularly striking nugget of info from my passed that I want to document.
Interviewer: What do you think of when you hear a cover band playing a song that you wrote?
Rivers: Generally speaking, I feel prowed.
Zanello from Brazil: Will we ever see new songs with a simpler structure and lyrical content like the ones in the beginning of the band's career (undone, garage, surf wax) as opposed to the more mature lyrics and complex guitar work done recently (freak me out, peace, perfect situation)?
Rivers: I have no idea.
Interviewer: in songs such as wanda and burndt jamb you switch from the major to the minor. what artists or styles influenced you to do that?
Rivers: Thats a good question. Im not really sure. Maybe the Beetles? Or Broadway songs?
Sarah, Milford, CT: A couple of things you have said in the past year have alluded to the fact that you're now more aware of world and current events. Have you (ever) thought about writing any type of politically-charged songs? Is it something you're interested in at all?
Rivers: Ive thought about in the past but world events have rarely inspired me to write songs for whatever reason.
Mike: Re: The World Has Turned and Left Me Here - This is probably the only weezer songs from the Blue album that has never been played live since the Pinkerton era. Is there a particular reason why this song is never played live anymore?
Rivers: I think we felt like it wouldnt go over that well.
Simon Mangeng, Hohenhameln, Germany: It seems that you write only little love songs that have a happy ending or a positive plot. I guess a big part of these songs are non fictional. But I am sure there are some positive stories in your life to tell. Why do we not hear songs like that?
Rivers: I wrote what I thought sounded cool at the time. I guess I didnt think happy endings were cool. I dont know why.
Ellie Cohen: Weezer has a large catalog of songs that are not on any of your official releases. Songs like "Chess", "The Purification of Water" and "Paperface" to randomly name a few. Will these songs and others like them ever be given proper releases, and if not what shall become of them?
Rivers: Chess and POW were never recorded by Weezer. Paperface I think was released on TBA Delux.
Doug Onufro, Johnstown, PA: I see Weezer as a band with most of their songs about social awkwardness and frustration with women. Considering that no member of the band is under 30 and two members (soon to be three - congrats by the way) are married, how could any new songs dealing with Weezerish content like adolescent/women/social-type angst not be totally contrived? Have you all basically grown out of the Weezer stage as we know it and will soon put Weezer to bed, or will Weezer's style change to accomodate your new lives and fans who are also growing out of awkward stages in their lives?
Rivers: Good questions. Only time will tell.
Interviewer: Was [Tired Of Sex] written about you being tired of sex from a physical or emotion[al] point [of view]?
Eric: Rivers, unlike Green, Make Believe, Maladroit, and even the Blue Album, Pinkerton is a reflection of you. Why are you holding back with your music and your emotions?
Rivers: On each of those albums I just wrote what I thought sounded cool. I guess my sense of cool changed from album to ablum.
Charley, Lake Havasu City, Arizona: What inspired the change from belonging "In The Garage" to wanting to be in "Beverly Hills"?
Rivers: I dont think there was a change. On both blue and mb I belonged in the garage and wanted to be in Beverly Hills.
Phil Little, Townbridge, Wiltshire, England: If you could be in any band other than Weezer right now, who would it be and why?
Rivers: Id most like to preform john cages 4'33
Daniel, Newcastle, England: Once you realised that the whole 'mysterious enigma of Rivers Cuomo' raised the proflie of the band, did you try to play the whole 'mysterious enigma of Rivers Cuomo' role up to increase Weezer's proflie further?
Rivers: Im not too concerned what people think of me. If people want to think of me as a mysterious enigma thats their business. It has no affect on me.
Kristen Grant, Lilburn, Ga: In one of your Harvard re-entry essays you mentioned an intrest in the rock and roll legend/world domination part of you that you sought to explore. Now that you have reached a very recognizable status and attained obvious large commercial success with four singles on your current record, does this "selling out" of sorts bring you the personal and artistic satisfaction and you hoped it would?
Rivers: Success only harms contentment in my experience.
Rosarita Chan, Fairfax, VA: Do you think that you have replaced what might be construed as obsessive behaviors in you past with an obsession with meditation. Obviously it has made a big difference in the way you live your life now, but do you think that it in fact could keep you from truly seeing things as they really are because you are trying to live your life the way other people think is right or good or on a timeline/agenda that is fabricated by your search for meaning. Has it really mended the reported severed ties and is it causing you to diminish from finding your true hapiness or are you now settling for just good enough?
Rivers: Hahathats funny. Vipassana actually means to see things as they really are. If at any time I felt that it was leading me away from truth I would stop. I dont meditate because other people think its good, Im not on a timeline, and Im not obsessed, IMHO.
Sex Shun Five
A BUNCH OF QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FUTURE:
Stephanie Beckman, Madison, WI: There have been rumours circulating that Weezer members plan to go its seperate ways in the near future. Without delving into personal issues, is this a real threat?
rather_dashing, Carmel, Indiana: In the future will your music be "Kid friendly" or like Pinkerton?
Tony V.: It has been stated many times that you do not feel comfortable touring/performing live and that it takes a lot of energy out of you. Do you ever see yourself/Weezer doing what the Beatles did and be, maybe not as extreme, more of a studio band and cut back on tours?
Will Frost, Orlando, FL: What are the chances of there being a reintroduction of Matt Sharp into Weezer?
Matt F., Plano, Tx: Weezer has been going for quite a long time now. Where do you see yourself and the band five years from now? Thanks!
Steven Eiler, Tulsa, Oklahoma: Regarding "Songs from the Black Hole": Would you ever consider composing a large scale work of that variety again?
Donna: Pat's said that he would be interested in releasing a compilation of "lost" Weezer tracks, but you once wrote in your blog that you are unable to release demos (including Songs From The Black Hole songs) because of contractual obligations to Geffen. My question is, will SFTBH ever be released?
Ayumi, Osaka, Japan: How do you think marriage will change the way you write lyrics?
What am I, Nostradamus? How am I supposed to no?
Marianne, Paris: It somehow seems that you've lost a part of the attraction of your writing in your last albums, at least it appears that something might be missing, maybe a kind of ease that you used to have in some lyrics you wrote in the past. Seeing what you wrote on myspace, we can think that prose is now the writing you feel better in. Do you truly feel that way ? What genre is now more in your line ?
Rivers: I definitely feel more comfortable writing lyrics than prose.
Ben Karbin, Northbrook, Illinois: How do you feel about peoples tendencies to judge a song by its style without even really listening to it? Does this come into play while writing?
Rivers: As a listener, Ive been relatively, but not completely, immune to this tendency. I think its good to have an open mind. When writing and recording I paid strict attention to every aspect of the song to make sure it expressed what I wanted it too.
Justin M.: The weezer.com Recording History reveals that you had your own set of 12 songs that you initally wanted to be Make Believe (with only Pity, Freak Me out, and Beverly Hills surviving). It's been a year since MB was released. Do you still think that the initial 12-song tracklist you recorded over the summer of 2004 was worse than the finalized Make Believe tracklist? Would you go back and change it if you could?
Rivers: I think we picked the very best 12 songs for MB (with the possible exception of the omission of Unbreak my Heart.) throughout the epic 2.5 year process of writing songs for that album I had a number of different A-list CDS that were nothing more than the 12 songs that I happened to want to listen to more than any other. Nothing was ever set in stone until we did the big song election at the very end.
James C. Vavasour: has the fan reactions to post Pinkerton Weezer affected the way you write music now? Is there a desire to quench long time fan thirst for the old Weezer, or has their dislike for a lot of the new material driven you to seek out a newer younger fan base?
Whitestripesboy, Carmel, Indiana: In pinkerton why do you use the word goddamn so much?
Rivers: I just wrote whatever sounded cool to me. i couldnt write to please or displease particular listeners.
Daniel Piscina, Rome, Italy: Why, after the outstanding success of your debut album, and the later "cult" explosion of Pinkerton, have you tried over and over again to write the perfect song by studying other songwriters and through radical experimentation? Wasn't it obvious that you knew how to write a song from the beginning? And do you think that perhaps these new strategies somewhat "sterilized" your songwriting?
Rivers: I was just having fun. Going after a sound that I heard in my head.
Michael Young, Marlton, NJ: Have you ever considered that the writing approach during Pinkerton/SFTBH was what made Weezer the lasting success that it is?
John: You were interviewed for the May 25th, 2001 issue of Entertainment Weekly in an article titled "Older & Weezer." On the topic of your sophomore album 'Pinkerton', you were you were quoted as saying: "Everyone thought it was"--he pauses, letting the thought hang--"an embarrassment. One of the worst albums of all time."..."It's a hideous record," Cuomo says. "It was such a hugely painful mistake that happened in front of hundreds of thousands of people and continues to happen on a grander and grander scale and just won't go away."..."The fans have given us this miraculous career, and it's all because of Pinkerton. That's all they want, that's all they care about. It's so frustrating, because I don't want to turn my back on them, but I sure as hell don't want to do Pinkerton. I have to face the fact that I'm going to completely p--- off all these fans who have been so good to us over the past few years." And in 2005 Spin Magazine listed 'Pinkerton' #61 on their list of the 100 Best Albums from 1985-2005. (None of the other Weezer albums made this list.) Rolling Stone who named 'Pinkerton' the second worst album of the year in 1996, in 2004 an article changed its status to a 5-star rating and inducted it into The Rolling Stone Hall Of Fame. This article can be found in the Reviews sections of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time issue. Why do[/did] you hate so much what is now being argued as some of your best work and perhaps your best album?
Rivers: I was embarrassed because I made a very ego-centric album that was almost universally loathed.
Pete Capone, Naugatuck, CT: Are you looking forward to the 2006 FIFA World Cup and do you think that United States ever has a chance of winning?
Rivers: Im enjoying the World Cup and I think that the U.S. will probably win someday.
Christopher Evans, Newport, Wales, UK: Rivers, which soccer (REAL FOOTBALL!) team do you support, if any? Ive seen you in a few English Premiership football tops, and Pat in a Newcastle shirt
Rivers: I like the Los Angeles Galaxy and the N.E. Revolution though I mainly focus on the national team.
Ryan Shakman: Whats your favorite Star Wars film and Character?
Rivers: The first one. Han Solo. The two most intriguing characters of the 20th century for me are Gollum and Mr. Spock.
Angela Yen, Vancouver, Canada: What was the very first vinyl record you owned? Do you still listen to it? And out of curiousity what was the last album you bought?
Rivers: Probably Kiss. Other early albums I remember are Eddie Rabbit, Abba, the Kinks, Blondie. Like I said, look for my new song that catalogs the songs of my life. According to my itunes, the last record I bought was the streets a grand dont come for free.
Joe: Do you ever listen to any of your old metal albums?
Rivers: Yes. Recently I went through a Fates Warning phase: The Spectre Within and Awaken the Guardian. Those albums are like magic to me.
Matty R, Pittsburgh, PA: What is your favorite Slayer solo/song/album ?
Rivers: Anything on Reign in Blood. Thats the tape I used to listen to when I was learning how to drive. Junior/Senior year of high school. Thank goodness for Slayer.
Jon S. Reno, Nevada: Have you ever been in any fistfights and if so, did you win?
Rivers: Most of the street fights I was in, I refused to fight back. In karate class, I fought every week and did my share of winning and losing.
taxidriver!: what is your favorite fiction book and non fiction book? please explain.
Rivers: In 2004, I read Thomas Manns Death in Venice. That really blew me away. Its such a beautiful representation of sensual desireand the dangers of that desire.
me, Greenwich, CT:
Rivers: Theyre all great!
Gerry Gardner, Milwaukee, Wisconsin:
Rivers: We were just trying to make the show more fun for everyone, ourselves included. Overall, I think the experiment was a success. I really enjoyed singing without the guitar.
Ashley Briggs, Redondo Beach, CA: the last tour for make believe was the best shows I've ever seen by weezer. I actually got a chance to talk to Rivers for more than 10 seconds, and the shows were amazing and very interactive with the audience. Is this change over the past year due to your meditation and recent spiritual practices? Do you now feel more comfortable being on stage and with yourself?
Rivers: Meditation helps the ideas flow, both within myself and between myself and the other guys. In general, I feel more comfortable with myself now than ever.
Rochelle, Riverside, CA: In a 2002 interview you said "I want to conquer far and wide in the name of Weezer." With all the changes in your life since...meditation, your engagement etc...how significant is that now? Are you at all satisfied with what you have accomplished with the band and your music?
Rivers: I dont identify with that statement at all now. I dont even remember saying it.
Bruno Silva, Porto, Portugal: What does it feel like to know your songs changed and affected peoples life's?
Rivers: Any affect Ive had on the world will soon be swept away. Were all meaningless little creatures.
David Lawson: Have you ever listened to The Rentals, The Space Twins or The Special Goodness. If so, what do you think of your fellow and former band mates solo efforts?
Rivers: I love them all. Im especially digging the new Velvets cover by Pat and Bri.
s ratt and vivo: do you plan on continuing music through a solo career after weezer?
Rivers: I have no plans of that nature.
Mina (teeny), College Park, MD: How has your relationship with your family been during the last few years?
Rivers: Better than ever. I love my family.
DBA, San Francisco, CA: What was your GPA in high school, and has being in Weezer helped you get into Harvard?
Rivers: It wasnt great. Being in W definitely helped me get into H.
Matthew Austman, Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada: When you were deciding whether or not to pursue a career in music, what persuaded you to go for it (while risking complete failure) instead of choosing a safe path in life like going straight to College or School?
Rivers: I thought school sucked and rock music ruled. It was an easy decision.
Interviewer: What has been the biggest inspiration in your pursuit of education?
Rivers: I just thought it was fun to learn.
Daniel: How do you juggle your school work and playing in Weezer? I am in a band, but I have noticed that it's harder to keep up with school when I get really involved with music.
Rivers: I think my music benefited from my not having a lot of time to think about it.
Danny West, Asheville, NC: I read that you claimed to have only been in love twice, fairly early in life. You've obviously been in relationships since then. What do you think was preventing you from being in love all those years and how does that compare with your situation with your future wife?
Rivers: I always felt like I could do better and then I realized that if I continued to think that way, I would always be alone.
Tony V.: What aspect of "Family Life" do you look forward to most? And what apsect scares you the most?
Rivers: I look forward to stability. Im already enjoying it, since engagement. Im most afraid of responsibility, of having to do things I dont want to do. Im sure it will be fine.
Sanna: I chose to be celibate for 15 months and afterwards i realized i was very picky about the next person that i wanted to share that experience with. It kinda almost felt like i was a born again virgin and i wanted my 2nd first time to be with the perfect person. Also, my motives for being celibate made me want that 2nd first time to be a one night stand. I didn't want to get involved with anyone in anyway just then. So basically my question is what feelings he went through, how did he know that he was ready to start having sex again and how his motives for being celibate affected decision for his "2nd first time"?
Rivers: I quickly realized that I didnt ever want to have physical relations outside of marriage.
Andrew Lindsay, East Kilbride, Scotland:
Rivers: I talked to Flea about it a little bit. He has a different teacher than me. The bass player in Phish has the same teacher as me.
Rochelle, Riverside, CA: If you found out that fans were taking Vipassana courses because of you, how would that make you feel?
Rivers: I would feel happy for them.
Evan Berry, Charleston, SC: What affect does it have on you, if any, when the media (e.g., Rolling Stone and other music magazines) seem to allow less consideration in their articles for your actual music than for your lifestyle and spiritual development -- both of which I and many others certainly find very inspiring and encouraging?
Rivers: Whatever people want to talk about is fine with me.
Aaron Johnson, Oak Creek, WI: If Rivers 2006 could give Rivers 1995 one piece of advice, what would it be?
Michael: I'm about half-way through the book River's Edge, and [in it] you [are portrayed as always] driving yourself to becoming a rockstar. My question is did it come out like you dreamed it would?
Rivers: I dont think my dream was very clear. I didnt think past the screaming crowds. Weve had screaming crowds but theres still the rest of my life that I have to live.
Kenji, Osaka City, Japan: When was (will be) the turning point of your life?
Rivers: My first Vipassana course, May, 2003.
Don Poirier, Willington, CT: you have been out spoken about your meditation habits and your religious beliefs. Do you have any thoughts on Jesus?
Rivers: Jesus teachings seem great to me.
Taylor, Layfayette, CA: what would you say is the one major difference between who you are now and who you were 12 years ago, and how has that changed your music?
Rivers: I dont feel any major differences. Im just 12 years closer to my death. As are all of you.
Oliver F., France/Glasgow, UK: I have interviewed Jason Cropper [in approx. 1998]. He was saying you were too professional, you were making music for business. How do you react from his quotes? Do you think your attitude in music business has changed over the years?
Rivers: I cant react to a quote I havent seen. I can tell you that Im looking forward to seeing Jason at my bachelor party and wedding this weekend. Ive had many different attitudes towards the business over the years, yes.
Falyn Freyman, Ft. Lauderdale, FL: The Weezer.com message boards are dead, Beverly Hills is featured on a childrens sing along music compilation disc, and the bands Myspace page has been taken over by Geffen (and a never-ending stream of OmGz u GuYz RoCk!!1 comments). Why and how do you feel about it? Seriously, who gave the OK for the Kidz Bop thing?
Rivers: I love kids and Im happy that kids like our music. I dont know that I specifically approved the Kidz Bop thing but I am certainly glad that it was approved. I dont care what people post on the message boards or myspace.
Matt, St. Louis, MO: Weezer used to be an object of praise for their openness with fans and the content available on the website. To say that that part of weezer is lacking now would be an understatement. Do you think this is a good thing [..]?
Rivers: I could take this question more seriously if I hadnt just spent 2 hours answering your queries and posting them on my website! Seriously, I think Ive provided more openness and content over the last year than at any other time in my career.
Jamie Nordli, BC, Canada: Do you actually like the songs beverly hills and we are all on drugs? Both songs seem so emotion-less and dry compared to almost every Weezer song.
Rivers: Yes. I think theyre both great.
Anonymous, Brazil: I miss Matt Sharp very much. That guy is great. He was a "plus" in Weezer. I think you miss him. When you compose or make the songs, do you miss him ?
Rivers: I dont miss him because hes just a phone call away if I want to talk to him! Ive invited him to my wedding this weekend so maybe Ill see him then. And if its music you want, check out www.therentals.com.
Jim VanNest: Considering all of the press youve done and how many years youve been wrapped up in this game of making money for your record label, do you feel your music has suffered for it? Arent you tired enough of the bullshit to retire?
Rivers: I think success can be very harmful to creativity. Im looking forward to taking some time off now!
Falyn Freyman, Ft. Lauderdale, FL: One could argue that art is about effectively conveying emotion and being able to elicit emotion. If you no longer intend to put any emotion into your music, your art, how can you expect to elicit any emotion from your fans? And what can you offer, if anything, to those fans who miss the old, emotionally present Weezer, who miss the way you used to sing, and who miss actually feeling something when they listen to your music?
Rivers: I always just played what I thought was cool and didnt worry about the fans. Someone will like it, I figured! To those fans that wanted something else from me I could offer nothing. I had nothing else to give!
David Lawson: Weezer has often been accused of "jumping the shark" (or "being a shadow of what they once were") by some fans. For some people, it started as early as disliking the 2nd album, for others, the three 2000s releases have alienated people. What do you think of these criticisms and have you ever personally felt this way about a recording artist you liked?
Rivers: Everyones entitled to their opinion. Ive probably felt that way about almost every artist I liked.
Scott, Rochester, New York: What's the closest you think weezer ever came to jumping the shark?
Rivers: IMHO, we never came close.
Kyle Creelman, Philadelphia, PA: After all these years, you're finally graduating from Harvard. Now that there is nothing keeping you from writing great music, why does it seem like you're not going to go back to making weezer albums?
Rivers: Im just doing what seems like funright now thats riding scooters and relaxing.
Sprinkle, Nashville, TN: If you had to decide the future of Weezer right now, would you break up the band or keep it together for a few more years and make a few more albums?
Samuel Nascimento, Brazilian fan and Jonas member: the real deal here is: do you guys have ANY band plans at all? i know this can be a really tough question, but it sures represents most of fans feelings about the band situation. we have gone thru this in the past and we just dont wanna go thru it again...
Rivers: My plan is to take some time off and ride scooters.
Interviewer: Why do you feel the need to go back and edit finished, released material? Don't you think it sort of dilutes the specialness of a song if there are different versions of it? To relate, imagine if Kiss went and changed the chorus to your favorite song (the original PS was my favorite song, btw).
Rivers: Kiss did change a songStrutterwhen they re-released it on their greatest hits. I didnt like it.
Say it aint so (I didnt like the guitar mutes and the tight drum sound). Pink Triangle (the recording and mix were a mess, out of tune guitars, etc.). Hash Pipe (came up with a better structure). Dope Nose and Keep Fishin (we wanted to try these songs to a click track). Drugs (the incorrect version was accidentally put on the record). Perfect Situation (we liked the alternate chorus melody more; I realized we needed some lyrics at the end of the song).
A lot of these songs go through so many versions before they make the record. One more version doesnt dilute it for me. I want to make sure we pass along the best possible version for posterity.
Alex R., Upland, CA: You seem to have a certain tendency to rework your songs. Does this reflect significant feelings of dissatisfaction with your work?
Rivers: Sometimes but not always. See above.
Gumby Tom, Columbus, Ohio: What's the reason for the renewed emphasis/new version of Don't Let Go? (I liked the old version- I love the new one- what inspired the new version, I guess, is what I'm getting at)
Rivers: We had next to no time to develop the Green album songs before we recorded them. After we started playing the song live last year, we came up with a lot of new ideas inspired by the energy of performing.
Harry Day, Bettendork, Iowa: What would you suggest to a song writer whom hasnt had [many/very] significant events happen in their life? Cause some, make some up, or perhaps write about someone elses? Even My Name Is Jonas has some relevance to your life however symbolic they may be. Do I need to amplify these small scale feelings and thoughts or write about silly things until these events roll around?
Rivers: You dont need big events. I would recommend spending some time alone without sensual, emotional, or intellectual entertainments. Youll soon discover a world of creative material within.
Ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten, ten
Interviewer: Do you think it was a mistake what you did with Maladroit as far as giving the fans too much input on the record?
Rivers: No. It was a lot of fun!
Kala D., New York: Has the music you listen to during the album making process influence you in the way the direction of the album ends up?
Rivers: I cant think of any examples where thats happened.
Jim Braymiller, Buffalo, New York: We all know that you have an tremendously extensive collection of demos. Looking back on these demos, which ones do you think would have done well if they were released? and which ones are your personal favorites?
Rivers: I dont think any of my demos could have gotten on the radio. They sound pretty crusty. Im not the greatest drummer. Actually, my cover of John Denver got on the radio. I dont think I could pick a favorite demo. There are many, many cool ones. I love listening to old demos.
Casey Oraa (WeezerCA: Circa 2002 during the RCB days, you mentioned your song writing style had moved from a more cut and paste style (blue and pinkerton) to a more focussed, straight-forward style of writing where as you could take one idea and flesh it out into a clear song. Which song writing formula did you use when writing for Make Believe? As well, as of post-Make Believe, has you writing style switched again and if so, how are you writing now?
Rivers: I like that terminology. Good job, Rivers!
Most of MB is still contiguous but by the time I got to Beverly Hills and Pity I got excited about cut-and-paste again. Everything Ive written since has been cut-and-paste. The new Perfect Situation melody obviously is cut in. I think maybe Freak Me Out is somewhat of a throwback to contiguous.
Michael of The B-Sides: How did/do you deal with writers block, before meditation and now with [meditation], because I'm sure it's different, and how do you decide which of your songs are good and which ones are, well, not so good?
Rivers: I havent had writers block since the mid-90s. at that time, I didnt know how to combat it. I just had to wait. I think if you spend some time by yourself, youll become inspired again.
We vote as a band to decide which songs are the keepers. Its generally pretty obvious.
Interviewer: which weezer song are you most proud of and why?
Rivers: There are so many great songs, its hard to choose. Beverly Hills is one of them. Its incredibly fun: a great beat, guitar riffs, catchy vocal style. Besides that, I think the lyrics are incredible in a very understated way. I might as well enjoy my life and watch the stars play. I love it! With this one song we were able to transcend our little niche and connect with all kinds of people, young and old, from all kinds of backgrounds. Also, the solo, third verse, and last chorus of Falling For You always blew me away (also with a lyric about admiring the stars!) its impossible to decide.
Matt Grant, Enon, Ohio: What guitar solo are you most proud of/do you like the most, and why?
Rivers: Sheesh, so many. Maladroit, Pinkerton, much of Blue and MB. Id have to go with OID and HYED for sheer length. Epic, epic, epic. So few people play these kinds of solos anymore.
Interviewer: Of all the songs off the five albums, what is your favorite and your least favorite? Why?
Rivers: Im not sure how this is different from the pride question above. I dont see what the point of choosing is. Different songs for different days. Im glad the all exist. You get tired of any one song, no matter how great it is, after hearing it a billion times. What is it with you people and favorites? Same thing with least favorite: its always changing, depending on what mood Im in.
Julie, Boston, MA: Every music critic and fan I have encountered has maintained that Weezer's best album, in terms of songwriting, is either The Blue Album or Pinkerton. Do you agree with this assessment? If so, why do you think your more recent albums have not quite lived up to this standard? If not, which album would you contend has the strongest songwriting and why?
Rivers: I dont see any benefit in analyzing and comparing. I think critics and fans praise the albums that they personally like the best.
Volume A Leaven
BK, Korea: Is this the happiest you've ever been in terms of the relationships with Scott, Brian, and Pat and the colloboration process?
Rivers: 2005 was definitely our happiest time together, IMHO.
Ben Karvin, Northbrook, Illinois: When writing/recording there can be a lot of disagreement between bandmates. How do you guys deal with it, and in the end determine what is best for the song?
Rivers: On MB, we kept discussing our ideas until we came up with something that everyone liked. I am a firm believer in the value of collaboration (as opposed to the genius of a solitary individual.)
Rock Lobster, Omaha, NE: How does Weezer resolve band conflicts whether it be music related or not? Do you sit down and have a meeting or work it out over a few days? Or maybe it's just a series of compromises?
Rivers: In 2005, we would have band meetings every day for at least 1-2 hours. We would discuss all our issues. We hardly ever resorted to compromise but rather innovated in ways which excited everyone. Conflict was the sign that something revolutionary was about to be discovered.
Ashley, Tullahoma, TN: What's your favorite trait about each of your band members as far as personality goes?
Rivers: Brian southern charm, politeness. Scott old fashioned manliness. Pat genius
Besides, theyre all incredibly funny, smart, and good-hearted. And talented!
Justin Hoenke, Meadville, PA: the era of late 1997-early 1999 is a period of great mystery for weezer fans. out of all the music worked at this time, only a few tracks have leaked out (american girls, the homie show material, the solo boston show material, and the weezer cover of velouria). what i've always wondered is what the rest of this music sounds like. there are indications that in late 1997-early 1998 the material was melodic yet experimental, as listeners can hear in some bootlegs of solo shows. yet, according to the weezer.com recording history the material created after this point became "heavier." could you shed some more light on this era, focusing on the direction your songwriting was taking at the time?
Rivers: I kind of went from drone-y Romantic in late 97 to quasi-Oasis in early 98 to abrasive dissonance in mid-98 to riffy pop-rock in late 98 early 99. my hunch is that most of this stuff wouldnt go over too well.
J. Alexander Vance, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: What are the benefits, for you and for the band, of doing extensive amounts of Rivers-only demo work before an album?
Rivers: It gives me an opportunity to come up with a lot of cool background parts, hooks, harmonies, etc. and a more experimental arrangement. Compare Beverly Hills, Pity, and Freak Me Out to the rest of MB. The drawback is that sometimes these songs feel less natural for the band to play.
James Brown, Vincennes, IN: It's been stated that Weezer will not release "less than perfect" material. Do you feel all non album tracks lack that special quality to be released or is it just a matter of opinion? I recall it was a voting process when it came to track selection for "Make Believe". It's been said you would have prefered some of the other tracks that did not make the vote to be on "Make Believe". If you feel this way, then why can't they be released? I don't see them as "less than perfect" from your perspective.
Rivers: The only song I voted for that didnt make it was Unbreak my Heart. I hope it comes out someday but theres strong resistance against it. I dont think there is any such thing as a perfect song. We just put out the best of what weve got.
Ryan Tominac, Detroit, MI: You mentioned in a blog entry on myspace, "Backstage the night before, Spike had reminded me of how I felt when I was working on Pinkerton: excited, proud, brave, daring, bold, original." What's your take on that assessment? And what similarities do you see from that assessment to how you feel when making Make Believe and any songs you may have written since?
Rivers: Those are good ways to feel and I certainly felt some of them earlier this year when I was writing. At times during MB too.
Interviewer: Re: Songs from the Black Hole: For many years you have kept quiet about these songs. But then [recently] you posted [about it on] a blog. Why were you quiet for so many years?
Rivers: No one asked me about it.
Interviewer: How many children do you want?
Rivers: Its up to K. I think.
Interviewer: What kind of person is your fiancee?
Rivers: Genuinely sweet, kind-hearted, loyal.
Ayumi, Osaka, Japan: Why did you decide to get married with her?
Rivers: Its time to settle down.
Interviewer: Are you hurt by the ongoing criticism from the so called hardcore fans of you, the band and your material?
Rivers: Not so much anymore.
weerez.com/beetle, Philadelphia, PA: What was Kyokos favorite Rivers Cuomo Band song?
Rivers: I never had a band called Rivers Cuomo Band so Im not sure what youre talking about.
Thats All Folks. Have nice lives!