Did you know that frontman Rivers Cuomo and bassist Matt Sharp created "rules" for the recording of Weezer's Blue Album? Or that the band's big breakthrough hit "Buddy Holly" almost wasn't included? How about the band member who was fired just as the recording process was coming to an end? Stick around and we will answer these questions and more!
10 Things You Didn't Know About Weezer's Blue Album
Matt Sharp learned to sing in falsetto prior to recording the Blue
Album. Sharp and Cuomo practiced barbershop-quartet songs during
rehearsals in order to feel more comfortable collaborating together.
""I had to sing an octave higher than Rivers. After a lot of practice, I started to get it down." - Matt Sharp (Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story, Aug 9, 2004)
2. Self Produced?
originally wanted to self-produce the album but were pressued in to
hiring a producer by A&R guy Todd Sullivan at Geffen Records. They
chose Ric Ocasek, former frontman of the Cars.
Ocasek brightened the band's guitar sound by convincing them to move the guitar pickups from the neck to the bridge.
3. Downstrokes Only
While in the studio recording the Blue Album, Sharp and Cuomo created a few rules for the album. Two of these rules included banning the use of reverb and only using downstrokes on the guitars.
4. Louder Than "Creep"
The band wanted loud guitars on the album and insist that they be as loud or louder than Radiohead's "Creep," burying some of the vocals in the sound.
I wonder if they were also inspired by Marty McFly in Back To The Future II?
5. No "Buddy Holly?"
The band's breakthrough hit "Buddy Holly" almost didn't make the album.
Cuomo originally wanted the song to go on the band's second release, which he intended to have a keyboard New Wave sound.
Sharp told a Rolling Stone writer in 2019: "“There was a worry that it could become the ‘Detachable Penis’ of this album.. We had the sense that it could be taken as a novelty song, and people aren’t going to take the album seriously.”" -The Strange Birth and Near Death of Weezer; Hiatt, Brian; Aug 28. 2019
referring to a goofy one-hit-wonder from 90s rock band Butthole Surfers.
"Ric said we'd be stupid to leave it off the album. We'd come into the studio in the morning and find little pieces of paper with doodles on them: WE WANT BUDDY HOLLY." - Matt Sharp - "Buddy Holly: How Four LA Rockers Created the Definitive Hipster-Doofus Battle Cry", Ryan Domball, Blender, November 2008
if Weezer had self-produced the album as they originally intended and
Ric Ocasek wasn't there to influence the decision to include "Buddy
6. Clever Camerawork & Editing
The iconic music video for "Buddy Holly" which features the band performing at Arnold's Drive-In from the 70s American telivision show Happy Days was created without the use of computer generated imagery (CGI).
"The best thing about that video is that there’s no CGI going on. It’s all just clever camera work. And clever editing. I get to point at the Fonz and he goes ‘Ayyy.’ I mean, come on. I loved Happy Days as a kid. It doesn’t get any cooler than that." - Pat Wilson, UNDONE: The Complete Oral History Of Weezer, Phawker, Dec 11, 2018
7. Destroy My Sweater
video director Spike Jonze was chosen to work on "The Sweater Song"
because he was one of the only directors who approached Weezer with a
pitch that did not have anything to do with an actual sweater.
Instead, the director pitched a simple concept. Weezer in a blue room with a steadicam and a pack of dogs. The video would be filmed in one continuous shot which took over 25 takes. The take that was used was somewhere between number 15 and 20. The humor displayed by the band in the video was a byproduct of the band's frustration with doing so many takes. At one point, one of the dogs even left a "present" on Patrick Wilson's bass drum pedal.
"We couldn’t get the dogs to do what we wanted them to do. I mean it was a big room with loud music blaring so it was hard to get them to hit their marks, and you had like 15 different trainers trying to tell their dog which way to go. At one point one of the dogs came over and crapped on Pat’s drum pedal. At that point we realized this was ridiculous and we should just let everyone do whatever the fuck they wanted, dogs included, and it will be fun." - Karl Koch, UNDONE: The Complete Oral History Of Weezer, Phawker, Dec 11, 2018
8. Rivers Drops Out
Rivers almost dropped out of Weezer to go Harvard.
Following the 1994 album release and ensuing tour, Cuomo enrolled at Harvard in the fall of 1995. However, it didn't take long for the Weezer frontman to reconsider his true calling. After only two or three weeks of school, he told himself "I kind of want to go back... to being in a band." - Rivers Cuomo; The Strange Birth and Near Death of Weezer; Hiatt, Brian; Aug 28. 2019
Thank you, Rivers, for your moment of clarity. College is where creativity goes to die a slow painful death of 1,000 cuts. Where would emo music be today without without, Pinkerton?
9 "You're Fired!"
Original guitarist Jason Cropper was fired just as the album's recording was being finished.
“There was no single event that triggered us letting Jason go,” he says. Instead, a series of “tiny infractions” led Sharp to believe that the band’s overall chemistry was at risk. “Since it was my obligation to try and ensure our basic survival,” Sharp says, “I shared these concerns with Rivers, and with our limited life experience, we did what we thought was right. "
"Jason had a girlfriend back in LA and one day she called him and said ‘Oh, I’m pregnant’ and from that day onward his personality became really intense and frantic. He wasn’t handling it well. A couple times the band would pull him aside and be like ‘Are you OK, are you sure you can do this?’ And he always said he was fine, but then 20 minutes later he’d be up on the roof of Electric Lady screaming or something. The other guys in the band got a little spooked." - Karl Koch, UNDONE: The Complete Oral History Of Weezer, Phawker, Dec 11, 2018
"The final straw? The woman I married a few years later showed up in New York unannounced while we were making the record, with no place to stay. And that was it. Rivers was like ‘I can’t fucking take any more of this inconsiderate guy,’ and you know he was right. He explained it to me as kindly as he could, he was like, ‘I like you, we’ll stay friends but I can’t…this is a really special moment for the huge amount of work we’ve done to get here... and I don’t feel like you get it in the same way.’" - Jason Cropper, UNDONE: The Complete Oral History Of Weezer, Phawker, Dec 11, 2018
10. Pat Wilson's Butt
Drummer Pat Wilson mooned new guitarist Brian Bell when they first met.
Buy the Blue Album on Amazon: https://amzn.to/3vM1iEa
Shop Weezer books: https://amzn.to/3inrnq2
"Buddy Holly: How Four LA Rockers Created the Definitive Hipster-Doofus Battle Cry", Ryan Domball, Blender, November 2008
Strange Birth and Near Death of Weezer; Hiatt, Brian; Aug 28. 2019 -
Luerssen, John; Rivers' Edge: The Weezer Story; Luerssen, John; Aug 9, 2004 - https://amzn.to/3k1Ciq0
UNDONE: The Complete Oral History Of Weezer, Phawker, Dec 11, 2018