Q&A with Weezer's Pat Wilson
When I'm all down in a Karen Carpenter-dumps sort of way, and to add insult to injury I've got a huge sinkload of greased-up dishes in front of me, there is only one antidote to my ills. I whip out the Weezer. It's that mix of crescendo rock-pop, crooning along about lost loves, lost toys, craved surfboards, that blows my blues away. And I ain't alone! The cult of Weezer flies in the face of the infamously brief lifespan of most rock bands. Without the band touring or releasing a new album since 1996's Pinkerton, adulators of Weezer have multiplied like pod people. Their new album, the self-titled Weezer (referred to as the "Green Album"), is more joyously rocking and rollicking than their other releases and is making the cult of Weezer mainstream. I interviewed Pat Wilson, the band's lovable drummer.
I love your new record.
I mean, it's really amazing. I was just talking to Shirley Manson, from Garbage, and she loves it. She's been jumping all around, really enjoying it and everything.
So how long ago did you guys record this stuff?
We recorded this music in January of this year. So it's pretty fresh.
So you're married and you live in Portland and when Weezer's not going on you have another band, right?
That's right. It's kind of a weird scene, because in '97 I made a record and I called it The Special Goodness, so it's sort of like, it's a band but it was all me. And that record never got put out. It was for Geffen, but I just made another record and again it's all me. But now I play with Mikey [Welsh], who's also in Weezer and we went out and did a couple of tours. But he was kind of busy in L.A. so I just figured, you know what, I'll just do it myself, because I'll go crazy if I don't. In a perfect world, the Special Goodness is Pat Wilson, Mikey from Weezer and Atom Willard who played with Rocket from the Crypt. He's the drummer but otherwise it's like Weezer time.
Your whole thing now, it's kind of like being Sleeping Beauty and then all of a sudden having to get up and do the Olympics or something.
Yeah. I mean I think everybody's amazed at how much of a phenomenon Weezer has become because it wasn't like this when we stopped touring with the last record. I mean we were popular but nothing like this.
How is Rivers [Cuomo, Weezer's lead singer] taking it all?
Oh, I think he's psyched. I think he was worried that people weren't gonna like the record because it's not as heart-on-your-sleeve emotional, but I don't think it's that different, I really don't.
No, I don't either. I think it's incredibly energetic and really well constructed. Are you going to bring your wife with you on tour?
Yeah, she's with me until September, then she has to go back to school.
Are you the only married one?
What's Matt Sharp [former bass player] up to?
You know, I really don't know. I haven't talked to him in a long time.
Do you think he's feeling, well...
He's feeling bad?
Yeah, 'cause it seemed like when he was leaving, it was like he was leaving a sinking ship, and now...
It's not really like that, because Weezer's a weird scene in that we were like kind of like all capable of doing the singing and songwriting at first. And it just kind of turned into more of a focus on Rivers, which is probably for the best because at the time he was writing the most concise music. So I think Matt looks at it as just a natural thing, he needed to go do his own thing, and otherwise he'd just go crazy. But I think he may feel a little freaked out; obviously, there's gotta be a part of him that's like, yeah, maybe I shouldn't have left Weezer.
Well, he seemed like he loved it?he was so into being a rock star. You know?
Well, there is that.
He was very into being a rock star and I've heard the stories of him being on the road and the girls and everything.
He, I mean, we were all pretty young when this all happened and I think it's not unusual to see people get sort of, you know, into themselves. And I think some people are more guilty of that than others. If that's not beating around the bush about Matt I don't know what is. [laughs]
Well, I've heard Rivers isn't pleading for the pussy like he was last time.
Does he have a steady girlfriend?
You know, I thought he did but now I don't think he does. I don't really know.
I heard how after the shows he would go out looking for girls?especially Asian girls.
So has that kinda calmed down or?
There's none of that, I mean, I think they tried so hard back in the day to be sort of like debauched rock stars, but they just couldn't, you know?
Well, I think he did a pretty good job.
Yeah, but it wasn't like a natural scene you know. It wasn't like backstage at a Van Halen concert in 1981, it was a pretty forced thing.
Plus the fans are all like 13.
I think the last thing on a Weezer fan's mind is trying to hook up with a guy in a band.
Sure, but he was pretty clear, wanting somebody who was of age, didn't have a boyfriend and was hopefully half Asian?from what I heard.
Yeah, that kinda creeped me out. Like shopping.
Yeah, exactly. So, do you think he's gonna be doing more of that?
No, I think he's too busy. He's really focused on the band and he's focused on a lot of business details and I think that takes up all of his time.
Is it gonna be over a year that you'll be on the road, or maybe even longer?
We're starting to think that probably the holidays would be when we stop. We have to look at what's going on, but I think in our perfect world, we would tour until sometime towards the holidays and then just immediately make another record. Because we could make one right now. And we sort of feel in a way, like, let's just get on with it so we can do the new stuff. We've got a whole record that we could just put together right now if we wanted.
Wow, who wrote that stuff, like how do y'all write?
Rivers writes everything and then we play it.
Does he arrange it?
No, I think the band just sort of arranges it. I think on the "Green Record" there wasn't that much room for cool stuff, it's kind of like early Beatles with Marshalls. Still, this record is not just like "Here's the band, listen to them play," it's more like "Here's the song, listen to it." I think the next record will be a little different. I think it will be more like "Hash Pipe," really. I think "Hash Pipe" is the one song on the record that I think everybody feels really great about as far as how we play and what's going on in it compositionally. It's just fun as hell to play. It's just a big rip, you know?
That's kind of what we want to do.
When you're not in Weezer, do you make enough money from the publishing kind of stuff to live or do you have to work?
I haven't had to work since Weezer got a record deal so that's pretty cool. And I actually just came off two pretty successful tours of the Special Goodness that Mikey and I did. That's always there, too, if we wanna go do it. We just got in a van and just went and played clubs and it was a blast.
Did folks know who you were?
Oh yeah. It was cool. That was my first inclination that something was going on because, you know, who's the Special Goodness? It's nobody, unless you know something about Weezer, and that was who came out and it was amazing.
It's just swell that a band that's great is getting bigger. I mean you guys are really something magical together, there's this real sweetness mixed with incredible power rock-pop. I think it strikes a real chord with folks and there's so much out there that's kind of dark.
It's hard to make optimistic music that doesn't suck.
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