Alternative rock outfit Weezer was first established in Los Angeles, California, in 1992. Vocalist and keyboardist Rivers Cuomo formed the band with Patrick Wilson and Matt Sharp. After a few changes in the lineup, Weezer's members have stayed since 2001- with Cuomo and Wilson, plus Brian Bell on guitar, and Scott Shriner on bass.
Weezer is currently a part of the rock trifecta behind the Hella Mega Tour, together with Fall Out Boy and Green Day. While the planned world tour had to be postponed because of the global coronavirus pandemic, Rivers Cuomo and the rest of the band have remained in touch with their new songs and covers of popular songs. Take a brief look at the group that has taken the genre in a multi-color journey.
Formation and the Blue Album
When Rivers Cuomo moved to LA with his then metal band, Avant Garde, he met the drummer Patrick Wilson and Matt Sharp. Cuomo and Wilson made early attempts together with bands Fuzz and Sixty Wrong Sausages but ended up in disbandment.
When Cuomo moved to Santa Monica, he made his first bunch of recordings, including the future Weezer hit "Undone - The Sweater Song." Sharp soon joined Cuomo and Wilson, and the band Weezer was formally born on Valentine's Day of 1992 - closing for Dogstar, Keanu Reeves' band, a month later.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Cuomo explained that the name "Weezer" was from a name his biological father gave him.
In November 1992, the band recorded the demo tape titled "The Kitchen Tape," which contained the song "Say It Isn't So." It was heard by A&R man at Geffen Records, Todd Sullivan, and signed Weezer in. The band soon released their self titled album, now known as the "Blue Album."
The band's singles "Undone- The Sweater Song" and "Buddy Holly" had significantly popular music videos, both directed by Spike Jonze, and were in heavy rotation on MTV.
Pinkerton: the cult classic Cuomo hated at one point
The band was on the fast lane to rock stardom, and Cuomo was feeling it. He began recording demos for a space-themed rock opera, which later became the famous unreleased work "Songs From The Black Hole," as a reflection of his mixed emotions.
When Cuomo started attending Harvard University, his lyrics became "darker, more visceral and exposed," as noted in the album's liner notes.
When they released "Pinkerton" in September 1996, it did not meet the group's sales expectations. Moreover, the critics panned the album. Jeff Gordinier of Entertainment Weekly criticized their self-production effort for the album's "sloppy and raw" sound. Craig Tomashoff from People wrote that its "lyrics make an Archie comic seem downright deep by comparison." Ray Marcano of the Dayton Daily News pulled no punches as he wrote that Pinkerton "clearly shows Weezer is headed to the graveyard of forgettable bands."
The response of the people had a largely negative impact on Cuomo. In a 2001 interview with Entertainment Weekly, he called "Pinkerton," "a hideous record," and "a hugely painful mistake."
While the "Pinkerton" fiasco ended with Sharp leaving the band and Weezer going on a long hiatus, the "hideous record" started having a life of its own. The turn of the millennium had given rise to mainstream emo bands such as Dashboard Confessional, Jimmy Eat World, Saves The Day, and Motion City Soundtrack. All these hit bands of the early 2000 point to one work as their inspiration, Weezer's "Pinkerton."
While Cuomo was not happy with the late appreciation for his work, he later made peace with this opus in 2008. Some of the harsh reviews on "Pinkerton" had been eventually retracted and updated with better reviews, such as Rolling Stone, who elevated them to a five-star rating.
The Green Album and staying on top
Weezer returned in full form with another self-produced album, "Weezer," or better known as the "Green Album." It saw the band return to an impersonal songwriting style and polished power-pop sounds. It was generally well-received by most critics, although some still haven't learned from the past." Some criticized Cuomo and Weezer for an unworthy follow-up to their cult classic album- essentially the same review "Pinkerton" had in relation to the "Blue Album."
With good commercial and critical performance and detoxification from their well-deserved break, Weezer followed the "Green Album" with "Maladroit" in the following year. The album debuted at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 and spawned their heavily rotated singles "Dope Nose" and "Keep Fishing."
After three years, Weezer again tried their hand at more emotionally vulnerable lyrics with "Make Believe." While critics were once again divided in the middle, it was largely a commercial success, thanks to the widespread appeal of its track "Beverly Hills."
The band was once again in hiatus, returning in 2008 with another self-titled album, this time referred to as the "Red Album." The experimental sixth studio album was a landmark for the fanbase since it incorporated elements from electronic music, baroque counterpoint, and Southern hip-hop. Also, aside from Cuomo, the rest of the band had an active hand in songwriting; all can be heard at various tracks in the album.
Since then, the band has released a string of successful albums, from 2009's "Raditude" to their latest self-titled album known as the "Black Album" in 2019. In September of the same year, Weezer made the joint announcement with Fall Out Boy and Green Day that they will together headline the "Hella Mega Tour." The joint announcement coincided with the band's release of "The End of the Game" and the announcement of their 14th album, "Van Weezer."