Weezer: "It’s just all good times for me."
In 1996, Lisa Presley divorced Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson went on trial, John Howard was elected, and power-pop party nerds Weezer last toured Australia on the back of their then-reviled and since-revered second album Pinkerton.
That album, and the sketchy vibes around the tour, reportedly burned singer Rivers Cuomo so bad that it took 16 years for them to return to both. In late-2012 they announced performances of their self-titled ‘Blue Album’ debut and Pinkerton, as well as greatest hits sets in Australia.
TheVine sits down with bassist Scott Shriner (who wasn’t yet part of Weezer during that landmark era) and Pat Wilson (who was), to giggle about the glaring gap, irony, Brisvegas, their all-indie rock Caribbean cruise, covers, and whether album number ten will be The Yellow Album. Let’s just say Pat and Scott are currently very mellow.
After sixteen years, are you finally returning to Australia because you saw WeezerHatesAustralia.com?
Pat: There’s a WeezerHatesAustralia.com? I did not know about that.
It’s a website protesting the fact that you haven’t toured in a decade-and-a-half.
Pat: That is not the reason. I think part of the reason was that we met a few people on the cruise that threatened to do us bodily harm if we didn’t get over here. And we took that very seriously.
But I hear you’ve been offered many times over the years. People with big chequebooks who are concert promoters saying ‘come on over’.
Pat: I wouldn’t know, man, I just play drums.
Do you have any fond memories of the Pinkerton tour?
Pat: I have a great memory, and I’ll lay it out for you right now. I was very angry at Rivers, talking shit about him with Matt [Sharp, ex-bassist]. I feel guilty about it now, but Rivers was behind us the whole time. I think he heard everything so I felt embarrassed.
Scott: Good times. Can you feel the good feelings comin’ through?
Pat: I made that up. I’ll tell you what, though. It’s good for us to be here because it feels good amongst ourselves. Last time we were here it was a hard time and it’s pretty great to pave that over with how we feel right now.
Scott: Because we’re having a grand time right now. We really are.
Pat: It was so long, I don’t remember. Was it sixteen years ago?
I noticed when you were going through Jakarta, Rivers learnt some Indonesian. Did you do any research on Australia again or do you just show up?
Scott: We care a lot, but not much research was done.
Pat: I love it here. I plan on relocating to the Sunset Coast. Sunshine Coast? Sungold Coast. Goldsun Coast. It’s on the west side, right?
Scott: West side!
Pat: Melbourne is nice. It’s not hot. It was very hot in Brisbane. Now Brisbane is your (American) South, right? Do you have chavs?
Pat: Bogans! Someone said bogans the other day. Someone told me they call Brisbane ‘Las Brisbane’? No, Brisvegas! So we had a great time in Brisvegas.
Scott: I gotta say, around here [in Melbourne], it’s pretty amazing-looking. Some of these buildings we were sneaking into last night were super cool. I heard back in the Gold Rush of 1850-ish times a lot of these buildings were built and they kinda remind me of the French Quarter in New Orleans.You’ve been doing a Greatest Hits set and then presenting a slideshow before performing the Blue Album. Was that embarrassing to look back on? Scott, you weren’t around at that time.
Scott: It wasn’t embarrassing for me at all.
Pat: Karl our archivist is on that. It’s insane to look back on that. We were just fourth-graders, running around with no facial hair.
How differently do you see Pinkerton and the Blue album from the rest of the band, Scott?
Scott: I have no negative association with it at all. It’s a total blast – some of the funnest music for me to play is on Pinkerton, some of the more challenging things. It’s just all good times for me.
Pat: Good Times Shriner.
Scott: It’s my new nickname this year.
I presume you’ve seen that other bands have planned to perform your albums in full as well: Saves The Day, Good Charlotte, an all-girl UK cover band called Sheezer.
Pat: It’s flattering. C’mon. I’m amazed that I wake up and people wanna come see me play so it’s great. I’m literally amazed by it.
Scott: The Deftones did a cool job with a couple of songs, for sure.
Pat: Frank Black did a good version.
Scott: Deftones did ‘Say It Ain’t So’ and I think they played ‘Holiday’ live, too. That’s what I heard. Gotta love those Deftones.
You guys are massive pop fans from across the spectrum...
Pat and Scott: Yeah, we’re pop fans.
Is there a certain amount of irony in that love? Do you think Weezer get more irony ascribed than is true?
Pat: You peel the onion and you never know where it ends. It’s so recursive that it folds upon itself and we don’t even know where we are, ever. That’s how I feel about it. Like now, I don’t even know if I’m serious. I got nothing.
How about the Weezer Cruise to Mexico? It seems absurd to pack pasty indie rock fans into a cruise ship.
Scott: I was horrified when I heard about it.
Scott: I was! When I was told about the cruise I thought ‘That’s the last thing in the world I wanna do’, go out on a boat for five days. And then I got to the boat and it was only three days, first of all. Second of all, it was amazing! It was gorgeous. I loved being at sea. I touched the inner sailor of myself. In my own cabin, of course. I had a blast. It was really fun. The food was horrible. But the people were fantastic and we had a good time eating bad food together.
Was it okay being locked in with your fans?
Pat: We had a special floor. But even then, I would go up on the top deck during the day and just talk to people. Everyone was really mellow.
Scott: I would call him on the phone when he was on the top deck talking to people and say hi to people. We had a good time. We were in the gym, running around, took walks...
Pat: [Laughs] I know that you’re lying when you get this thing in your voice...
Scott: No, I had a really good time! I like being at sea.
Pat: People who had been on cruises that I spoke with said this is as ideal conditions as you could have. The sea was glass. Even so, during one of the shows, inside the ship, I thought ‘Wow, I’m fucking hammered’, and I saw everything going like this [mimics swaying chandeliers]. We were rocking pretty good. So, the lesson is: cruise, good time. But could be bad, if conditions go south.The next album – you’re due for another self-titled one and it’ll have to be The Yellow Album so instead of RGB you can work on CMYK.
Pat: Cyan. Underappreciated cyan. Cyan, magenta, yellow and K is... black? The Yellow Album? I don’t know. It’s hard to say. So many colours to choose from. 24-bit colour is what, like 32 million shades? I dunno.I read that you started writing for the next album in 2010.
Pat: Is that true? We aren’t really working on a record or anything.
Scott: But we are in Australia, and we’re gonna play some great music for y’all. Thank you very much. ‘Bout time.
WEEZER - AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2013 (Remaining dates)
Saturday 19th January - Sydney Entertainment Centre, Sydney
Wednesday 23rd - Perth Arena, Perth