The Plain Dealer interview with Matt Sharp - December 2, 1994

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Weezer's Fans Dispute Band's Opinion of Itself

By Roberto Santiago; Plain Dealer Reporter



Weezer bass player Matt Sharp doesn't think much of his technique and questions whether he has any musical talent at all.

"I don't think Bass Player magazine would have much to ask me," Sharp said in a telephone interview from Chicago. "If you listen closely, you'll find I'm a pretty lousy bass player. The Weezer sound is straight forward power chords. I think that hides that I can barely manage a note."

And Sharp doesn't think much of his singing, either. In the debut self-titled album, Weezer, Sharp does the background falsetto heard in tracks like "Say It Ain't So."

Sharp swears that he had never sung until band leader, guitarist and lead vocalist Rivers Cuomo pointed at Sharp and said he would have to sing background.

"The trick was that I had to sing an octave higher than Rivers," Sharp said. "After a lot of practice, I started to get it down. Now I'm pretty satisfied. Like the bass, my voice seems to handle well on stage."

The past year has been a boom to Weezer, which early last year was playing crowds of 10 in Los Angeles clubs. Now it plays to packed, small venues around the country, like Peabody's Downunder in the Flats.

"One day nobody wants to hear you and then when you turn around you are on the radio and the clubs are jammed," Sharp said. "There is always something weird going on. We recently played Pittsburgh and the entire crowd started chanting 'Brian Bell! Brian Bell!' I can't understand our popularity, but I'm glad it's happening.'

The band has been waiting since Valentine's Day 1992 (the day they formed the band) for the privilege of being able to call themselves rock stars.

All four members - including guitarist Brian Bell and drummer Patrick Wilson - had moved to Los Angeles from New York, Tennessee, Connecticut and Washington, D.C., to pursue the great American rock 'n' roll dream.

"I moved out here when I was 17. I'm 25 now and it seems like a long time," Sharp said. "We are all around the same age and before we met each other two years ago we had pretty much given up on the idea that we were going to make it in the music business."

But 17 months after getting together, things started moving for Weezer. They began getting offers from labels and decided to go with Geffen Records. The band needed a producer and Cuomo sent their tape to Ric Ocasek because he liked Ocasek's sound when he was with the Cars.

Ocasek flew them to New York to record some tracks. The album was released soon after.

"People think we have all this money but we are just making a living," Sharp said. "We can pay our bills in restaurants, but the rock life is lots of traveling around with pocket money."

The advantages are that they can get into parties that a year ago they wouldn't have been invited to.

"I've met David Hasselhoff from Baywatch, Sharp said. "So things must be good."

Sharp said that Weezer won't come out with another album until after 1995. The next year will be spent working on solo projects and touring throughout Europe, Japan and Australia.

"It gets so that you can't remember what town you are in when you are in them," Sharp said. "I do remember Cleveland because I got seriously drunk there after a show."

So what is Weezer? Musically, Weezer sounds like a cross between the Cars and the Beach Boys with a dash of Green Day thrown in.

Sharp won't comment, saying that Weezer's music speaks for itself and reflects songwriter Cuomo's vision."There is very little creative interaction between us," Sharp said.

And that applys to the band's name, too. Sharp claims that "Weezer" means absolutely nothing.

"Some people have told me, 'Hey! I had a dog named Weezer,' which is a good enough a definition for me,' Sharp said, laughing.


For your information:

Weezer plays at 9 tonight at Peabody's DownUnder, 1059 Old River Rd. Paranoid Love Sick opens. The show is sold out.