Alternative Press article - October 2014
"FINALLY, WE CAN REST IN PEACE."
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST?
Written by Scott Heisel
Where will this vastly popular, highly influential alt-rock quartet go after making their hotly anticipated return to form? And do they even care?
THE END OF EVERYTHING WILL BE ALRIGHT
Twenty years in and WEEZER's impact on today's music scene still remains large. The accidental emo forefathers have delivered an inspired new album, despite much of the darkness they've experienced in the past few years. Because in their universe, it's not about whether their trajectory goes up or down—it's all about them being able to move in the first place.
STORY: Scott Heisel • PHOTOS: Jonathan Weiner
STYLING: Candice Lambert • GROOMING: Peggy Wright
STYLING ASSISTANT: Birta Epstein
"Our next guests are a Grammy-winning rock band who will release their new album, Everything Will Be Alright In The End, on Sept. 30," Jimmy Fallon reads off a set of cue cards. "Tonight, they're performing the single 'Back To The Shack' on TV for the first time. Please welcome, Weezer!"
While late-night TV spots certainly don't do as much to make a band's career in 2014 as they did 20 years ago, there's still a thrill in playing your music to a potential audience of millions. But Weezer are barely able to enjoy their first national TV performance in almost four years thanks to an incredibly busy schedule. As soon as the alt-rock legends wrap their performance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, they're off to the airport, where a plane awaits to take them to Toronto—at which point a chartered bus will drive them a few hours west to London, Ontario. Only their flight gets stuck on the tarmac and the band miss the broadcast. (Guitarist Brian Bell's mom texts him while they're waiting to take off, letting him know he did a good job.) Eventually, Weezer arrive at their hotel around 4 a.m. and check into their rooms bleary-eyed to try to get some rest. The rock 'n' roll lifestyle likely feels less and less glamorous the closer you get to 50 years old.
It's situations like these that remind you just how popular Weezer still are. They've sold more than nine million records in America alone and have had a whopping 18 Top 20 hits on alternative/modern rock radio. The list of bands who can get a 20-minute interview segment on KROQ's Kevin & Bean Show (augmented by having their new single played twice during it) and follow that up with a prime slot on The Tonight Show the very next day is an extremely limited one, but Rivers Cuomo & Co. are on it. The band are consistently in high demand; need a headliner for your summer festival that can provide 75 minutes' worth of rock-radio staples to a few thousand people who want to get drunk and sing along, but Foo Fighters are out of your budget? Give Weezer a call. This is what has brought the band—Cuomo, Bell, bassist Scott Shriner and drummer Pat Wilson—to London, Ontario, to headline the first night of the city's 11th annual Rock The Park festival. While their night has the hippiest lineup of the week (Tegan And Sara are direct support), it's not much of a competition to be cool: Also booked for the event are Sammy Hagar, Huey Lewis & The News and Winger.
Later that night, the stage lights dim and thousands of Canadians scream as the instantly recognizable intro to "My Name Is Jonas" starts. Weezer begin yet another journey through the commercial high points of their back catalog, plus the addition of "Back To The Shack," the first taste anyone in the audience gets of Everything Will Be Alright In The End, Weezer's new, Ric Ocasek-produced album. What Weezer have in their back pocket might single handedly return the band to the top of the rock 'n' roll heap. It's ambitious, catchy, conceptual and unlike anything else in their diverse catalog—and it may just be the end of the band as we know it.
What's most interesting about this specific day in late July is that while it's the unofficial start of Weezer's world tour in support of Everything, historically, it marks the beginning of a troubling period for fans. Exactly five years ago at a festival in South Korea, the band debuted three songs that would end up on Raditude ("The Girl Got Hot," "Can't Stop Partying" and "I'm Your Daddy") and online fan reaction was less than enthusiastic. The album, released that November, went on to sell 66,000 copies in its first week—roughly half of what the Red Album, released in 2008, did in the same time period. There's no reason anyone should have this information in the front of his or her brain (let alone the members of Weezer themselves), but this sort of minutiae is meticulously documented at Weezerpedia.com, a fan-run website that keeps track of every single thing each member of Weezer does. It's this kind of obsessive fandom that has kept Weezer afloat in the lean years, but these fans also continually second-guess every move the band make.
When we sit down with Brian Bell next to the pool inside the Delta London Armouries Hotel and remind him of this piece of coincidental trivia, he cringes at the memory. "We weren't very well-rehearsed," he recalls of the South Korea performance, his black-and-white-striped long sleeve shirt sitting loose on his skinny frame. "That's something we learned: 'Why are we playing these songs that we don't even know yet?' It was an interesting experiment."
Part of the reason so many fans were frustrated and disappointed with the direction Weezer took with Raditude and 2010's Hurley—two albums loaded with relatively simple pop songs, many of which were co-written by some of the biggest hired-gun songwriters in contemporary music—was that it immediately followed the Red Album, Weezer's 2008 comeback effort that was equal parts radio-friendly ("Pork And Beans," "Troublemaker") and boundary-pushing ("The Greatest Man That Ever Lived," "The Angel And The One"). That album felt like a band firing on all cylinders, with each member having a say in the creative process—something which has come and gone numerous times throughout the band's 20-year career.
At the end of the day, though, Weezer will be whatever Cuomo wants them to be, and Weezer will do whatever Cuomo wants them to do, something we learn very quickly. Our conversation with Bell begins as the 45-year-old guitarist discusses his love affair with the audiocassette format, discussing how versatile they are and how they're coming back in vogue. When we tell him it's cool the band will be releasing Everything on cassette via LA indie label Burger Records, he responds, "We are? That's news to me." He then praises the analog recording format and derides digital production techniques ("[Digital production makes you] play everything like a fuckin' robot... That literally takes the life out of recordings for me"), but when we ask him if Weezer recorded their new album to tape, he laughs and says no. Still, Bell feels the band are functioning better than ever before. "It's one of the first times in our career that we're on the same page on just about everything... I feel really open to say things and really feel like I'm a part of the songs [Cuomo] writes. Everyone is listening to everyone else more, and I like to think he respects everyone's opinions. It's very professional, and not as much wasted time. I am very proud of this record." When asked what he views as Weezer's biggest weakness, there's a long pause as he considers his options.
"As far as making Weezer-type music, we don't really have a weakness."
At 49, Scott Shriner is the oldest member of Weezer, but he is also the least tenured—though he as been in the band for 13 years, he is still considered the "new guy" by many, thanks to previous bassists Matt Sharp and Mikey Welsh each leaving their mark on the band's formative and dark years, respectively. Shriner says he isn't rattled by criticisms thrown his way, though. "I am always working on improving myself, spiritually, physically, mentally... I'm a brutal fuckin' machine," he says, sitting on a hotel room couch, his blue, checkered, long sleeve shirt covering up his myriad tattoos. "I'm not the best fighter, but man, you better be ready for a long, brutal fight."
Shriner joined Weezer in mid-2001, after the band's first comeback with the Green Album left then-bassist Welsh emotionally distressed and, according to a 2007 interview with literary journal Rock Salt Plum Review, suicidal. Having come from a hard-rock outfit called Broken, a band Shriner describes as "run like a motorcycle gang," Weezer were certainly a dramatic change of pace. "When I [got the gig], I was thinking, 'Okay, first, I need to shower,'" he recalls with a laugh. "'And I should shave. And I should not wear these clothes, and I should dig out my old glasses and do all this stuff.' But I can't do that. I have to be me."
Being himself has led him through some curious style and fashion trends (he has a gold tooth, wore a kilt onstage for a period of time and has proudly rocked a mullet), but through it all, Shriner has kept focused on Weezer, no matter where it led him. "There are times when I swore we were doing something stupid, and it ended up being amazing," he admits, later describing Raditude as a classic Weezer album. "I really think that Weezer are bold," he says. "I think we got some balls to do the stuff that we do. I stand behind it. I'm proud of us."
Shriner's pride extends to the band's decision making the past few years. The Weezer Cruise successfully sailed twice (with Shriner handling a vow-renewal ceremony for interested couples each time), and following Hurley's release in 2010, the band began their extremely successful Memories tour, an on-again, off-again set of multi-night stands in which they perform 1994's triple-Platinum Blue Album and its beloved 1996 follow-up Pinkerton front to back. But while those types of events are great for the core fans, they were deeply outnumbered by gigs at state fairs, casinos and corporate functions—things that generate income, but not a lot of artistic fulfillment. But Shriner insists the band were not resting on their laurels. "I feel like we're always moving forward," he explains. "I always knew we were far from being done, or stagnant. It's never, never felt like that to me, because I witness every day Pat and Brian and Rivers working their asses off to improve. We're not doing it just to retire."
Just a few years ago, Shriner's mindset was drastically different. In 2009, he and his wife, Jillian, adopted a 10-and-a-half-month-old baby from Ethiopia, who they soon realized had significant behavioral problems, sending the bassist into a midlife crisis. "I bought a crazy-outrageous fast car and drove it like a maniac. There was a period of time where my wife and I were convinced our lives were ruined, because we couldn't go anywhere," hey says. "Every time we went to dinner [as a family], something horrible happened. But it comes to a point where you just can't sit around every day and please yourself and do whatever you want anymore... You gotta think about somebody else first.
"Me having made more money than I ever thought I could make—which isn't that much, but making more money than a guy from Toledo who worked in a pizza parlor ever should—and buying all the basses and being in a great place and having every game system, is still not satisfying," he continues. "But when I see my kid sleeping in the bed at the end of the day and know I didn't do anything that day to screw him up? He's gonna be perfect. And Weezer are gonna be perfect, too. The course is gonna happen. Weezer are destined to rule their universe in the way that we are. Just don't fuck it up."
Backstage at Rock The Park, Tegan And Sara take the stage to an enthusiastic crowd as Pat Wilson relaxes inside a trailer his band have made their home for the evening. He cracks open a bottle of Bud Light, then another shortly thereafter, as he discusses his thoughts on what it's like to be in Weezer in 2014. Wilson's never been one to shy away from speaking his mind; in the band's infamous Pinkerton-era AP cover story [AP 102], he and then-bassist Matt Sharp repeatedly slammed Cuomo, with Wilson referring to his experience in the band as "good thing happens, turns into a bad thing, becomes successful, perpetuates." In Weezer's last AP cover story [AP 202], leading up to the release of 2005's Make Believe, Wilson famously said, "Basically, you have to hate Weezer to be a true fan." So, given the past few years of relative inactivity, has he mellowed?
"My theory is this: The bigger the Weezer fan you are, the more angry you are," he says, chuckling, as he discusses the culture of fan entitlement surrounding his band. Wilson is the member most über-fans relate to; he thinks the band's last classic album was Red ("I think we could've tweaked the song choices more, but there's some great shit on there"), he also doesn't have a ton of positive memories regarding Raditude and Hurley outside of being switched to guitar in concerts ("I loved playing guitar; if in the future that works out again, that's fine with me"), and he even used to post on fan-board AllThingsWeezer.com, where he would clear up misconceptions fans had about the band. Emphasis on "used to."
"I don't frequent [ATW] anymore," the drummer admits. "The other day, I took a peek, and it was astonishing, the bile and vitriol that was on there. I was like, 'How can you live in this environment?' Right now, that person who hears me say that when they read this is gonna say, 'Well, why do you keep making me feel this way with your dumbass records, fucker?'"
Given Wilson's support of Red, we have to ask: Why does he think the band dynamic shifted so drastically just a year later for the Raditude era? At that very moment, the trailer door opens, and in walks Cuomo, headed toward the catering spread. Wilson rolls his eyes as if to say, "Ask him." Instead, he takes a more diplomatic route: "Well, it always feels like there's a different approach. You can look at every Weezer record and it's not like the one before. So I guess it's just part of trying new stuff all the time."
Wilson and Cuomo are the only remaining original members of Weezer, having formed the band together in 1992. Any creative marriage that lasts as long as theirs is bound to have a few rough spots, but the drummer has adopted a much more laid back attitude about the whole process. "In the past, we've done interviews and it's always been contentious or combative or people airing their dirty laundry," hey says, "and I look back on it and I think, 'Why did [I] get so wound up over some stupid shit?' Do I care about that now? No. I don't see why I should get upset about anything. Things are gonna happen the way they happen. What's in my circle of influence, and what's in my circle of concern? If those overlap sometimes, maybe I can help. If not, then that's the way it is.
"Control is an illusion," he continues. "If you've been around long enough, you start to realize just how weird the world is, and I dunno, maybe you wake up a little bit and realize, 'What the fuck?'"
It's at this point that Wilson starts to chuckle, apropos of nothing. "I'm thinking about Mikey," he remarks. "He makes me laugh." Sadly, he can no longer make anyone laugh in person: Former bassists Mikey Welsh suddenly passed away Oct. 8, 2011, the night before he was scheduled to meet up with his former bandmates at a gig in Chicago. Since his mid-2001 dismissal, Welsh struggled with mental illness, eventually detaching from music entirely, relocating to Vermont and becoming a painter. Throughout the following decade, he reconnected with the band a handful of times, occasionally playing a song onstage with them whenever they toured near him. Wilson, who was the closest to him during his time in Weezer, recalls what it was like when they caught wind of his sudden death.
"It was terrible. We had been hanging out at the shows prior to that, and he was like, 'I'll see you in Chicago.' Then we get a call from his estranged, separated wife, and she's like, 'I don't have a good feeling. He's with the wrong people, and I can't get a hold on him.' Then we find out he fuckin' overdosed." Welsh was 40; an official cause of death was never made public, though speculation was that the former Weezer bassist died of a heart attack brought on from a heroin overdose. Wilson refuses to let sadness sweep over him, however, immediately launching into one of his favorite tour stories involving Welsh, an Anthony Kiedis impersonation and an annoyed homeless man. It's the kind of story that doesn't make sense to anyone else but those who were there when it happened. But it brings a smile to Wilson's face, nonetheless.
Though he's often self-deprecating, Wilson definitely is proud of his and his bandmates' work on Everything. "It feels musical in a way that I like," he says. "A lot of melody, a lot of cool chord changes, maybe more expansive arrangements. It feels like it's not designed to not be on the Hot Top 10, you know what I mean? But at the same time, there could be singles on the record that could do really well."
Oh, right: the record. Well, as with all Weezer records, take whatever we say here with a grain of quinoa, as the band were tinkering with the tracklist and arrangements up until our print deadline. (In fact, every time this writer was sent a fresh audio stream, something was always different, from the sequencing to certain vocal lines or entirely new lyrics for a song.) But without sounding hyperbolic, Everything Will Be Alright In The End is the band's most cohesive album since Make Believe; the most risk-taking since Red; the most musically elaborate since Pinkerton. Simply put, it's the kind of record Weezer fans have been waiting for a decade-plus to buy, fall in love with and sing the words back in concert.
The album is self-referential at times. "Back To The Shack" directly references the past five years of Weezer's career over a thick, two-chord rawk riff, whereas "Eulogy For A Rock Band" paints a picture of fans sending off their favorite band to that farm upstate where they can run free and chase mice all day long. (Sample lyrics: "We'll never forget the jams you made/Let it fade/It's time that we laid you in your grave.") But then there are "classic Weezer"-sounding crunchy rock songs about love and yearning that are sonically similar to the Blue Album ("Ain't Got Nobody"), the Green Album ("Lonely Girl") and the Red Album ("Da Vinci"), the last of which is stacked with quirky instrumentation (whistling, keyboards) and pop culture-referencing lyrics that somehow feel sincere, not cloying ("I looked you up on Ancestry.com/There was no record of Dad or of Mom... Rosetta Stone could not translate you/I'm at a loss for words"). "Foolish Father" bobs and weaves like a lost Pinkerton track, ending with a triumphant choral refrain that doubles as the album title; "I've Had It Up To Here" finds Cuomo lamenting about the struggles of not wanting to "become the very thing that I despised" or have his "ideas polluted by mediocrity."
Shriner's favorite songs are currently "Cleopatra" and "The British Are Coming," two of the most unorthodox entries in Weezer's cannon to date (the latter literally being about Paul Revere's midnight ride, at least at press time). Bell currently holds an affinity for the super-shredding trilogy of "The Waste Land," "Anonymous" and "Return To Ithaca" that closes the album and which he describes as "outrageous." Wilson appreciates "Go Away," a beautiful, '60s-esque pop duet Cuomo and Bethany Cosentino from Best Coast initially started in 2010, when he was co-writing with just about anyone who would sit down in the same room as him for a few hours. (In addition to collaborating with professional songwriters for Weezer tracks, throughout the past five years, Cuomo has co-written music with All Time Low, Simple Plan, Matt & Kim, Halestorn and others.)
Fans aren't as concerned by the "Go Away" co-write as they are with those of "Back To The Shack" and "Da Vinci," both of which were recently revealed to be collaborations with some extremely mainstream pop songwriters. Cuomo co-wrote "Da Vinci" with Josh Alexander, who he previously worked with on Miranda Cosgrove's 2011 single "High Maintenance," and who has also written for Demi Lovato and Krewella. More concerning still is "Back To The Shack," a song very specifically about Weezer atoning for the mistakes they've made, that was co-written by Jacob "JKash" Kasher, best known for his co-writes with Selena Gomez, Big Time Rush and Ke$ha.
So we ask Cuomo: In your mind, is it okay you collaborated with an outsider to write a song that's intended to be a personal, direct apology to your fanbase?
"Why do you say that?" he asks. "He grew up on Weezer, too." Sitting on a bench in the courtyard of the downtown branch of the London Public Library, right down the street from the band's hotel, Cuomo is in full incognito mode, wearing a plain brown mesh hat, black Ray-Bans with the logo nearly worn off and a dark blue polo with white and orange stripes. He takes his interviews very seriously; he lists intently to questions, frequently asks follow-ups of his own and is very deliberate when answering, picking his words carefully and sticking to his message like a season politician. He repeatedly tells us that Everything is the culmination of four years of interacting with fans, all of whom have the same desire as him: a classic Weezer album.
"At time, we've rebelled against where we came from and shut out those voices and said, 'We're just gonna do whatever we wanna do right now,'" he explains. But through safe havens like the Weezer Cruise and the Memories tour, Cuomo reports the negativity was filtered out, leaving behind an overwhelming amount of positive support. "The fans seemed super-determined to make it clear to us that they absolutely loved us and that we were okay," he says with a chuckle.
He sips a decaf coffee as this writer articulates a major concern of his diehard fanbase: that the slew of co-writing that populated Raditude and Hurley—and by early accounts, appear to be creeping into Everything's tracklisting, though official songwriting credits were not available at press time—has not gone away.
"So, is the main concern that it's impure and that there's somebody else involved?" he asks. "Or that I'm no longer as powerful as I used to be when I need somebody else to do that for me?"
When we say we think it's more the latter than the former, he slowly, delicately responds. "I love writing by myself, still. I went through a long period where that was all I did. I also love writing with other musicians and jamming and being exposed to different ways of working and being faced with situations I wouldn't normally be faced with. To me, that can be an even greater challenge. To me, all of those different phases are represented on the album."
Cuomo expresses concern that focusing too much on who wrote what before people can even hear the music is counterproductive, as it may turn them off to a song before they can make up their own mind as to whether or not they enjoy it. We tell him we assume the idea behind the grandiose, Yngwie Malmsteen-esque pick-sweeping at the end of the album was all him. (He laughs. "Yeah, of course that's me! Who else would do that?") But when directly asked which specific songs on Everything are written solely by him, he responds more vaguely.
"I hope there's enough truly monstrous music and songwriting on this record written exclusively by me that will completely satisfy those fans out there for whom that's really important that I'm still able to do that. I totally get that concern. Even in any songs I co-wrote, I hope people will [realize] it's my idea, I'm steering the ship."
It's never been a question that Cuomo is in charge of Weezer. But these days, he's far from dictatorial. When asked if it's a burden being in the band, he responds, "It can be very difficult to sold creative problems in Weezer. And sometimes it can be frustrating, because I think I have something that's great and done, and one person will raise his hand and say, 'I don't like it.'" He laughs. "But when I take that person's point into consideration, things get better. I wouldn't describe it as a burden, but more as an incredibly challenging puzzle that is super-meaningful and fun to try to solve."
According to Cuomo, Everything has been on the frontman's life for the last few years, causing him to focus on little else. "It took up my entire brain," he says. "It was just inconceivable to think of doing something else." But he beams with pride now that the album is nearly completed. It's a gigantic triumph," he says. "It's an Everest that we've climbed together, and it feels so amazing to be at the top, looking out."
Cuomo has also struggled personally in the past five years. Welsh's sudden death affected him, too, as did other losses he declines to detail. "Well, certainly every loss is unique," he says, as a flock of birds in the courtyard begin chirping. "But they come with more frequency as you get older, and one after the other, they really make you aware of how impermanent we all are, and everything is." He begins to recall his December 2009 bus accident, where his coach hit a patch of ice outside Albany, New York, and went off the road, resulting in the frontman suffering three cracked ribs, a punctured lung and a cut on his spleen that resulted in internal bleeding. "There was a minute there when I was lying on the floor of the bus, and I couldn't move, and I could barely breathe, and I didn't know whether I was going to die or live," he remembers, citing his yearly Vipassana meditation retreats as a way to both recover mentally from the trauma as well as confront his bigger fears. "Going through these intense meditation courses, day after day, just sitting there with nothing to distract you, your mind can go to these horrible places, and you see these horrible visions, and you have to face the eventual loss of everything.
"That's one of the main things I'm ultimately facing on this album: how to make peace with the impermanence of everything you take for granted, everything you count on," he admits. "Everything that's always been there for you will someday be gone."
There's a scene in Toy Story 3 where Buzz, Woody and the gang have seemingly run out of luck as they are stuck on a conveyor belt moving toward the incinerator. They frantically scramble, trying to come up with a way out, but eventually, they realize this is it: They are about to die. The toys hold hands and embrace one another as they each accept their fate, and for a split second, the audience is tricked into thinking the characters—ones they've spent nearly two decades loving, supporting and being influenced by—are all going to go away forever. A feeling surprisingly similar to that emanates from Everything, as above anything else, it seems to be about the finality of death and being okay with moving on. (Wilson responds to our admittedly crackpot theory, "And then aliens come in and pick you up outta there!" Clearly, he's seen the film.)
With that theory on the table, would they be okay if Everything Will Be Alright In The End ended up being Weezer's final album?
"Yeah, I've been thinking about that, actually, recently," Cuomo admits. "If for some reason I had to check out now, I feel like because we accomplished this album, finally, I can rest in peace." He pauses, then laughs. "I hope we can do some more."
Wilson is more direct. "I'm amazed that anyone gives a fuck at all," he says. "To me, it's all gravy. Look at all the genius people out there who nobody gives a fuck about."
Bell confesses he doesn't see the same hidden message as we do. "I never looked for an overarching theme in these songs; I was just hoping my favorite songs would get chosen."
But it's Shriner who has the best idea for keeping Weezer going in perpetuity. He points out how Cuomo has invited his 7-year-old daughter onstage a handful of times to play piano on "Perfect Situation," and how Shriner's 7-year-old son practices drums for an hour a day—and 50 minutes of that, he says, is Weezer songs. ("And it's not because I told him to.") Couple that with Wilson's kids having a natural disposition to making music (the drummer says his older song has mastered the Rocksmith video game on bass), and Shriner has a great idea: Weezer II.
"Not Weezer II," he clarifies. "Just Weezer. Like, we play until we absolutely look like shit and people can't stand looking at us anymore and our voices are starting to go. But I think we got a good 20 more years before we hit that point. We're far from done. But I could just see us sitting on the side of the stage, cheering our kids on. It would be so cool. I love seeing Rivers and [his daughter] up there.
"I don't really believe in coincidences; things really work out for a reason," the bassist resolves. "And some of 'em might seem questionable. [My son] challenged me and my wife in a way we needed to be challenged, and we grew from that. So I relate that to the band as well, and our challenges and the difficulties and the good and the bad and all that. Weezer's becoming the absolutely perfect band that it's supposed to be. I'm so proud of Weezer. Nobody's perfect, but we're on our path to destiny, and our legacy is being completed."
NOISE ON THE SIDEBAR
EVEN THOUGH WEEZER HAVEN'T RELEASED A NEW ALBUM IN FOUR YEARS, that doesn't mean the members were resting on their laurels. Far from it: In fact, all four members each released music through different projects. Frontman Rivers Cuomo formed Scott & Rivers with Allister bassist/vocalist Scott Murphy; the duo released their self-titled album, a bubbly J-pop affair, exclusively in Japan in 2013. Pat Wilson revived his lo-fi rock side project, the Special Goodness, in 2012, digitally self-releasing Natural, his fourth album under the moniker. Guitarist Brian Bell has stayed busy with his band, a '70s-rock-leaning quartet called the Relationship, featuring current/ex-members of U.S. Bombs and the Bravery. They released their self-titled debut in late 2010 and are currently working on a follow-up, with four songs already in the can (via analog 8-track to one-inch tape, natch).
Bassist Scott Shriner threw his hat into the ring in 2012 with "Pretty (Watch The Shadows)," the dark and moody debut single from his solo project, Shriners, on a limited-edition 7-inch—only he never follwed it up with an album. "I got cold feet," he admits. "You only get one chance to say, 'This is my album, and this is what I want to sound like.' I happened to be going through therapy at the time, working on some heavy shit from when I was a kid, so I wrote it all out. One of the songs is really brutal. It's not the whole picture of me. I'm gonna add to that and put out a record." Shriner says the album will have a bevy of ringers on it, including ex-Queens Of The Stone Age drummer Joey Castillo and Velvet Revolver guitarist Dave Kushner, but the real question is this: Would he let his son play drums on a track?
"Yeah, if he's good enough!" he says, laughing. "The drums need to be top fucking tier for me, man."