AN INTERVIEW WITH RIVERS CUOMO OF WEEZER! We may be fangirling just a little...
When Weezer first invaded our airwaves, I was a pimple-faced freshman trying to navigate the complicated world of high school. And just like every other kid at that age, I was trying to find myself. I didn’t know where I fit in and every day was a struggle to understand the anxiety I experienced every time I looked in the mirror. I hopped from fad to fad grasping for an identity with no success. Only three things helped bring me “normalcy,”...video games, basketball, and MTV. And during one fateful day filled with teen drama and emo, “Buddy Holly” flashed on the screen and just like many others, Weezer became a part of who I was.
But, today’s version of Weezer is different. Their sound and vibe has been reinvented taking different elements of genres the band has never experimented with. And with the new album Pacific Daydream set to release at the end of October, Weezer looks to inject their powerful presence into the charts once again. Lead singer, Rivers Cuomo, spent some time with us to discuss the new album, what he used to “nerd” out to, dream collaborations, and what he does to stay mentally healthy.
NON: We are big on fandoms, pop culture, and anything “Nerd.” Are you into any fandoms right now? Or have you ever been into anything in “Nerd Culture?”
Rivers: “...when I was a kid, I was into what was considered ‘nerdy’ at the time. Comics, like X-MEN, anything in the 80s, Dungeons & Dragons. But, now I’m into more grown up stuff that can be considered ‘nerdy’ like Shakespeare.
NON: Now, we’ve read you are a father, do you try to hand those aspects in “nerd culture” down to your kids?
Rivers: “Yeah, they are just naturally into it anyway. So, it’s cool that I can enjoy it with them. Like, reading comics to my son and memorizing Shakespeare monologues with my daughter.”
NON: So, it looks like you guys are coming our way in early October...and the new CD, Pacific Daydream, will be released later that month. Tell us about the new CD!
Rivers: “...it comes out, October 27th. Our first song to radio is “Feels like Summer.” It’s really different for us. Pretty much for our entire career, we have done the same power pop music, power chords with a lot of distortion. This time we are experimenting with a lot more reverb and cleaner sounds like 70s punk guitar, like The Clash, with a lot of Beach Boys-type melodies. We are pretty stoked to finally come up with something completely different from our other records.”
NON: We are excited about the new album for sure! But, in terms of your music, you have done some solo projects. Like when you worked with AJR and B.O.B. And we’ve some of your social media posts where you sing other artist’s songs and how you would love to work with Chance the Rapper. Is there an artist you would love to work with?
Rivers: “...probably, Post Malone. We keep texting each other and I send him music. He texts back and says ‘it’s awesome, and I’ll sing on this’ and he never does (he laughs.) I worked with him in the studio once and he’s incredible. He just beams with positivity. It’s like he’s in this creative zone, it makes him smile. And it’s infectious.”
NON: Personally, I am a big fan of Post Malone. We would love to see that!
Rivers: “We did a song on Vic Mensa’s album. It’s really cool.”
NON: Tell us, with all the touring, writing music, and also being a father. That can all be stressful. I’m a single father myself, so I have experience with the stress it can bring. We talk about escaping and coping with anxiety and staying mentally healthy. What is something you do to get back to “center?”
Rivers: “Well, it’s good timing that you are asking that because we are looking at the next big tour. And man, it’s bringing an incredible amount of anxiety. We did a big tour last summer with Panic at the Disco. Doing two to three shows is fine, but if you are doing 40 shows in a course of two months, the cumulative stress for me is overwhelming. It’s a real tough time, I’m starting to think about the next tour and I’m kinda dreading it (laughs). Yeah, I’m definitely going to look for some type of professional help, maybe a performance coach. Someone to help me figure out how to have fun, be myself, and connect with the audience...but I have been meditating for 15 years now. I meditate two hours a day and every year I go away and do 15-45 days of just silent meditation. Theoretically, that should be eliminating my anxiety. I’m such a fish out of water on the stage in front of 15,000 people. It’s not my element (laughs.)”
NON: For our last question, I am just really curious about one particular line in one of your new singles called “Beach Boys.” I was really want to know what you meant by it.
“...We’re in a hip hop world...and we are just the furniture.”
Rivers: (laughs and says full lyric) “...I don’t know, sometimes I write real fast and the images just pop from one to the next and I’m not sure where they come from. But I can say, as like a white guy with an electric guitar playing alternative rock music, it’s pretty easy to feel irrelevant at this point (laughs.) But, I know there’s a lot of people who feel that way too, so I guess that’s where that lyric came from.”
NON: Thank you so much for hanging with us...we learned a lot from you. Especially about meditation and how it is helping you so far.
Rivers: “Definitely, I do Vipassana Meditation. Head to dhamma.org, they do courses, they’re free...it’s a very powerful experience.”
There are some words or phrases that automatically evoke emotion and cause us to get the “feels.” And for me personally, the word “Weezer” is one of them. That word gave me a reason to geek out through the halls of my private high school. It helped me through my journey of adolescence and teen angst. And that word still stays with me as a pimple-faced dude in his mid-thirties, but this time for a new reason. As my own life roller coasters past new firsts in my life, I have yet to find that reason. But, one thing is for sure, nerds all over the world (including this one), are excited for the new “first” that Weezer will be giving us at the end of October.
Weezer will be in Napa on October 6 and the new CD, Pacific Daydream, hits worldwide on October 27th. Check out the first single, “Feels Like Summer.” Listen to it here!