The Data Lab

From Weezerpedia
"The Data Lab" logo in black and white

The Data Lab was the short-lived official fan club of the Rentals from 1995 to around 1997. It was run by Mykel and Carli Allan, who also ran the Weezer fan club.



An example of an ID card given to Data Lab members

The Data Lab came to fruition in Summer 1995 when Matt Sharp approached Mykel and Carli about forming a Rentals fan club.[1] The sisters, who had been running Weezer's fan club for a number of months already, got to work organizing materials and gathering members. It was decided that, unlike the more straightforward Weezer fan club, the Rentals' club would have a unique theme. The background of the club's fictional lore is, loosely, that the Rentals' members operated in a discrete, mysterious facility, where club membership gained fans access to its confidential information and products—hence the name "The Data Lab".

A mailer was sent by the sisters to Weezer fan club members offering membership to the Data Lab in exchange for a $5 annual fee.[2] The mailer additionally contained a message from Sharp titled "Intelligence From the Lab", wherein he described the band and discussed the release of their debut Return of the Rentals. An order form for Rentals merchandise was also provided below the message. The Data Lab's address was included in the liner notes of copies of RoTR that released on CD and cassette in 1995. The Data Lab had gained multiple hundreds of members by 1996.[1]


Those who signed up to the fan club received a custom ID card (fashioned after a security badge) signed by Sharp, stickers, and a promotional cassette single featuring "Friends of P." and "So Soon".[1][3] Each ID card featured a member's name, photo, and a unique code given at the time of joining. While the Weezer fan club used a standard numerical system to assign fan club ID codes (i.e., 0001, 0002, etc.), the Data Lab used a bijective hexavigesimal system, where each letter in the alphabet represents a digit (i.e., AAAA, AAAB, etc.).

In a similar fashion to other fan clubs during this era, professional black and white promotional photos of the band were sent periodically to members as goodies. At least two are known to exist.[1]

A letter from The Data Lab addressed to "All Lab Technicians" with the subject "Intelligence Report" was sent to fan club members in July 1996. It contained news about the recent activity of the Rentals, as well as a "Personnel Status Report" on each of the band's members describing what they were working on at the time.

Following the unexpected success of "Friends of P.", the Rentals' label, Maverick Records, began increasing promotion for the band. In response, Sharp requested that the label produce more items to be distributed through the fan club to members. No fewer than 4 different sticker designs were printed, alongside a number of red lanyards featuring the single's title, intended as a counterpart to the ID badge design. Some lanyards were sent out, although it is not known how many.[1]


At some point between 1996 and 1997, Sharp requested that the sisters put fan club activity on pause until the Rentals were active again.[4] The club's address was excluded from the Japanese CD release of RoTR, in 1996. The Data Lab would then effectively become disbanded following the death of its founders, Mykel and Carli Allan in late 1997, although Sharp did not directly state such. In 1998, a note was left inside Weezine issue 13 stating:[5]

Matt is looking into starting up the Rentals fan club again - but he needs help! If you think you have the skills, time, and healthy attitude to take on such a task, send us your "proposal", and Matt will check it out. Serious offers only should be sent to this address. No decisions of any kind will be made for quite a while.

No further Rentals fan club activity has been documented, and it is likely that no official revival was ever completed. It is sometimes claimed that the digital compilation Excellent Stocking Stuffer was released through a Rentals fan club in 2001, however no evidence proving this claim has surfaced.



Exclusive merchandise

This section requires expansion.

See also