Weezer (The Red Album) Deluxe liner notes
Date: June 3, 2008
Troublemaker which talks about your schooling, the middle references all those things you experience growing up. It's an interesting way to start a record.
Rivers: Yeah it's a real introductory sort of song saying, "Hi this is who I am". In that sense, "Troublemaker" reminds me of the way we started the blue album with "My Name is Jonas." It's just like reaching out your hand to shake and saying. "Hi, this is who I am." And I go through some of my childhood, and how I was raised and, what my background is and how I see myself now.
You touch on bits of spirituality or other things going on in your life at the moment.
Rivers: The way my brain works its actually hard for me to remember what the content of my songs is when I'm sitting here talking about it. I'm really focused when I'm writing it or even singing it, but talking about it I almost can't remember what the song is about. Troublemaker is a song I had written in 2006 and I was stuck on it. I set it aside and forgot about it. We listened back to old demos and immediately everyone was like, yes that's the song.
THE GREATEST MAN THAT EVER LIVED (VARIATIONS ON THE SHAKER HYMN)
The subtitle of the song for "The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived" is "Variations on a Shaker Hymn."
Rivers: Yes, actually, I didn't realize I was ripping off a shaker hymn. It wasn't until we were in the studio and Brian's mom came by one day and she heard us play "Greatest Man" and said afterward, "You know that melody sounds like this hymn we sing in church." So indeed we checked it out and it's very similar. I knew people were going to come at us after and say, hey you guys ripped off that hymn. So I put the credit in there off the bat.
PORK AND BEANS
What's that chipmunk sound?
Rivers: It's actually me saying "Hey," and then I sped it up an octave. It actually sounds like a Timbaland kind of production, he has little baby crying type of sounds.
In "Heart Songs", you mentioned ABBA. Rivers: They really are one of the all time greatest bands. Brian: Isn't there an all girl group that covered ABBA songs that did quite well? Two guys two girls that were a lot of success and they were offered a lot of money to play but what is interesting they are opening an ABBA Museum with all their wardobes and paraphernalia and wanted to get your comments on video to put it in the museum so they can get people's opinions. Rivers: One of the first records I bought was an Abba record when I was 10 years old, which is why I mentioned them this song.
So it made an impact? Rivers: Huge impact I just remember my brother and I jumping up and down running around the room singing along to SOS and Mama Mia. I was just in my dorm room in school and I got the idea to write the song I'm gonna write a song that lists all the music I remember listening to growing up and I very quickly scrawled it all out and it's kind of a personal thing you know there's probably some people cant relate to even in this band but I wanted to keep that song very personal and particular to me at least in those first two verses.
EVERYBODY GET DANGEROUS
With "Everybody Get Dangerous," have you ever tipped a cow?
Rivers: I didn't. I went with friends to go cow tipping, but I didn't actually push any cows over because I felt bad for them...its kind of sad.
You didn't strike me as a dangerous guy, is that wrong?
Rivers: Well now we're not that reckless with our lives. That's why I look back on the stuff we did when we were teenagers and I am amazes that we survived. I'm so scared for myself now looking back. It's crazy. Scott: It's the same with us, climbing on the roofs of churches and setting. Setting block long leaf piles on fire. Destructing as much property as possible. We were driving really intoxicated really fast. It's a miracle we didn't die. Rivers: And some people did die. I did have friends in high school who did die from stupidity.
THE WAR ROOM was a badly decorated room adorned with wall to wall mirrors probably normally used for some kind of dance class for bored Malibu house wives. It was stage left as they say in our business behind the MPAC auditorium stage where we recorded the self produced portion of The Red Album. The war room was literally backstage, another popular music biz term. We met there every day during the summer months of 07 around noon, give or take ten minutes for late stragglers. For some reason in this room we included a big screen TV with a couple of video game systems (yes, more than one of those stupid things) hooked to it and a pair of soccer goals at opposite ends of the rectangular box known as the war room. I once played my visiting nephew and whipped the little five year old 6 to 3, obviously I had the home field advantage. Most days Rivers was dressed like a high school gym teacher wearing knee length plaid shorts, white t-shirt and a maroon wind breaker, all that was missing was a whistle around his neck. One day I was late and thought he might have me doing wind sprints in the parking lot. Many songs during this self produced period were quite challenging and deviated from the norm. Butcher paper, masking tape and an arsenal of thick black permanent markers were sent out for. Some days I was assistant coach and helped Rivers tape the butcher paper over the mirrors, other days it was Scott. I can't say I remember Pat ever helping with that, but being the rad drummer he is I see no reason why he should. Many plans of attack were discussed for these challenging tunes and ideas were written in permanent ink. I think the song "The Greatest Man That Ever Lived" used about 20 feet of butcher paper and we discussed how we were going to successfully record it almost as long as actually recording it.
Such fond memories,
THOUGHT I KNEW
Thought I Knew strikes me as having a sense of comic repair.
Rivers: Brian wrote that so we can't really comment on the lyrics. But I guess we can say it was probably one of the funnest songs to record on the album. Scott: And Rivers actually plays drums on it too. Rivers: I remember we got together in the war room which is our meeting room before we go record and I said, "Alright guys, what is the most scary and exciting thing we could play this song?" and we said, "Let's all switch instruments and play to a funky loop and it was incredibly exciting." Brian: It's a song I had and I presented it to the band and it was in a different form it was in a minor key and historically minor key songs in the band haven't really worked very well. We do have some but not certainly with any of our singles and I knew I had to have something more uplifting to make it work for this band and in a faster tempo so I changed it from minor to major and it still fit they lyric very well and finally the arrangement was where everyone liked it and we dedicated a week to producing it ourselves. I think it was the first track we produced ourselves on the record. Pat came up with a drum loop literally in minutes and Rivers played drums to that and Pat played guitar and we set up goals on this record and one for myself was to write and record my own song and have Weezer perform it and in other words have Pat more involved and utilize his talents besides playing drums. Rivers: Pat's guitar playing on the song "Thought I Knew" is my favorite guitar playing on the album. It's just so beautiful and it's interesting because he's supposedly our drummer but he's playing the best guitar on the album.
COLD DARK WORLD
Rivers:Was there a particular thing you were feeling when you came up with that music for Cold Dark World? Or was it just one of those random things?
Scott: No, it's just basically kind of frustrated and down. You know what I mean. So it's more of a vent kind of thing. It's funny because I wrote the music it was a little bit of a dark kind of thing. The other guys helped out with the parts which are really great and then I gave it to Rivers. And he had gotten some lyrics ready beforehand.
Rivers: Yeah, my lyrics weren't dark or creepy originally. It was a song about love and devotion in the style of Bow Wow "Let Me Hold You." But when we mashed it up with Scott's really dark music the lyrics took on a really sinister overtone. Scott: It was a song that started with a bass stuff that I like to play by myself. we set out to co-write a song and give it to rivers so I wrote some music at my house, brought it to these guys I didn't really think it was gonna go anywhere but they really latched onto it and made it make sense and make great music with it. I gave it to River's and he got really excited about it and he wrote the lyrics to it.
Rivers: I had some really happy lovey type of lyrics and I just mashed them into his really dark music and it became something very sinister and cool and weird. Scott: Which I'm very happy about. Rivers: So that's a lot of the way we work together in the studio is that we come from these extreme different places and we come together and it turns into something else it's probably something cooler. Scott: Better than the individual effort. That such 4 different people that like 4 kinds of music...look different everything about them but it makes a sound that is recognizable and great.
Rivers: Pat Wilson wrote that song. Scott: He said it's about his family. His family inspired it. I loved it because it had a big heavy rock guitar riff. Which I'm always a sucker for. So I really dug it and wanted it to be on the record. Pat is an awesome song writer. It's inspired by positivity and his family. Rivers: So he played all he guitar on that song. It's really ironic that most of the ripping guitar on this album is played by the drummer. He's just such a great guitar player. Pat: I've rewritten that song a couple of times and I stumbled on that riff and the chorus and I realized now I'm gonna have a chorus. This song is interesting it's a big rock tune but its kinda got a vibe to it and the lyrics are just about me wanting to give as much love as I can to my family and so its kinda like family rock and it feels a little corny to say it but that what it is Scott: It doesn't sound corny. It's a big rocking song and I really excited about it being on the record. Pat: The heaviness of love meets the heaviness of rock. It's love rock. But somehow Love Rock is the opposite of Rock of Love.
THE ANGEL AND THE ONE
Rivers: That song it started out as a really standard pop song called bad girl and had a verse and a chorus and a bridge and all that stuff. And I just wasn't satisfied with it. It wasn't moving me spiritually enough. It was too normal. So one day I sat down with my acoustic guitar and I just played that song over and over on basically looping it. My fingers hurt so much, but I just kept playing it. And over the hour that I was playing it, the song slowly evolved and it smoothed over and the sections blurred into each other. And it turned into this spiritual reverie that is really just one long development with out any distinctions between sections. Every line in this rhymes and the melody just gradually gets higher and higher and the music gets louder and more powerful... There isn't any study of music in that song. It was just the desire to breakaway and not write a standard three minute pop song.
Brian: I'm really happy about the inclusion of "Miss Sweeney" to the deluxe edition of The Red Album. This song has always been a favorite of mine since Rivers first sent me the acoustic demo of his songs for album six. I fought and fought for this song to make The Red Album but in the end was voted out. And here it is in all it's unique glory. I got the idea for the guitar sound from a suggestion that Scott Shriner made. He said he thought sitar could work on Sweeney and I agreed. I even had our engineer Andrew Scheps schlep his to the studio one day. It only took me a few seconds to realize that I couldn't play this thing with any conviction. So I was on a quest to find an effect with sitar like qualities. My engineer Eric J heard about this pedal the Mooger Fooger that just came out. This pedal allows one note to drone while playing others against it. A little knob tweaking here and there and a exotic almost Indian like sound transpires making the rain clouds disappear.
Scott: King was my favorite demo on Rivers' "Deliverance at Hand" demos. It wasn't getting voted into the pool so I called him and said, "This song is the shit everybody is crazy!" He said, "Oh yeah you sing it then," I said "Oh yeah, OK I will!" This was one of if not the most difficult songs to get recorded. I think we played it for three weeks as a band. It made everyone crazy. I love how it turned out.