Rivers Cuomo Says Weezer Were a Bit ‘Uncomfortable’ With Sound of ‘Blue Album’
Weezer's switch from poppy alt-songsters on 1994's Blue Album to rough-hewn rockers on its follow-up, 1996's Pinkerton, is still being discussed 25 years later.
In a new interview, the band's singer-songwriter and co-founder, Rivers Cuomo, explained the change by admitting that Weezer were slightly "uncomfortable" with the sound of their self-titled debut that's come to be known by the hue that suffuses its artwork.
Speaking with Guitar World in a chat from Tuesday (June 29) that focused mainly on the act’s more recent output, the Weezer frontman offered many insightful tips about his process. But when asked about the aesthetic shift between the group’s first and second albums, Cuomo couldn’t help but remember a time when Pinkerton's initial commercial failure essentially sent the band into hiding for a few years.
"I don't think we intended [for Pinkerton] to be unsuccessful," the rocker responded with a laugh. "I think we all thought it was going to be a huge record, honestly. But like a lot of the other bands around that time, we were a little uncomfortable with the sound of our first record."
Cuomo continued of the Ric Ocasek-produced Blue, "That's not exactly who we were when we were playing in the clubs. We were much rougher and more aggressive — we weren't meant to be this polished, major label alt-rock band. So we kind of swung back the other way and produced the next record ourselves, and that was a lot more true to what we thought Weezer was supposed to be.”
The singer, a metal musician in the years leading to the band’s formation, said that “right around the time Weezer got together, just about all the musicians in LA did an about face — we all went from being metalheads to alternative guys, so we changed our guitar sound, we cut our hair and we made our first album.”
These days, Weezer are releasing more material than ever. 2021 has already seen them issue two albums — the orchestral OK Human and the hard rock-focused Van Weezer. And the near future will find the band going even harder — a multi-part album project called Seasons will elicit four new Weezer albums (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter) beginning in 2022.
"I actually just finished doing some stuff for the Fall album," Cuomo shared. "Each record has a predominant emotion that I have in mind as I'm writing. Spring is on the happy, chill side, and Summer is indignant, youthful rebellion. Fall would be anxiety, and then Winter is sadness and loss."
He added, "In terms of the sound, Spring is kind of like 'Island In The Sun,' and Summer is kind of like a crunchy Beach Boys — I guess a bit like the Blue Album. Fall is the [riskiest] direction of all, that's going to be dance-rock, like Franz Ferdinand. And then Winter is all '90s singer-songwriter, a bit like Elliott Smith."
That certainly gives Weezer fans something to be excited about for next year. It's just too bad we'll never hear the Ozzy Osbourne version of "Hash Pipe," a single from Weezer's 2001 Green Album.