Billboard interview with Patrick Wilson - October 12, 1996

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Print interview with Patrick Wilson
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Publication Billboard (Link)
Interviewee Patrick Wilson
Interviewer Bradley Bambarger
Date October 12, 1996
Title The Modern Age
Format Print
External link Via
References See where this interview is referenced on Weezerpedia

The Modern Age
Author: Bradley Bambarger (Billboard)
Published: October 12, 1996

"El Scorcho," the first single from Weezer’s second DGC/Geffen album, “Pinkerton,” sets the tone for the collection perfectly. The song’s opening line, “God damn you half-Japanese girls/Do it to me every time,” introduces listeners to front man Rivers Cuomo’s wholly personal yet thoroughly rockin’ gloss on “Madame Butterfly.”

Named for the ugly American in Puccini’s opera, “Pinkerton” finds the enigmatic Cuomo ostensibly examining his recent romantic affiliations — particularly his yen for Asian women — in an oddly affecting power poperetta. Although in the dark about Cuomo’s true muse and motivations, Weezer drummer Pat Wilson says the album’s theme has yielded at least one tangible benefit: “We’ve already sold out all our shows in Japan in advance — maybe the concept’s working.”

Last year, Weezer put three songs from its self-titled debut record into the top 10 of Modern Rock Tracks: “Undone (The Sweater Song),” “Buddy Holly,” and “Say It Ain’t So.” No. 21 on Modern Rock Tracks this week, “El Scorcho” shows off the band’s characteristic humor as well as its increasing musical invention.

With Weezer producing “Pinkerton” itself, the album took on a much rawer cast than the band’s Ric Ocasek-helmed debut. “ ‘El Scorcho’ is fun in a way that a lot of records on the radio aren’t,” Wilson says. “Most of the stuff out there is calculated and sterile. Even the people who really care about music are making the same old, same old, manipulating things by computer to make it all neat”

'The noisy, unrestrained character of the album sessions graduated to the initial conceptions for the “El Scorcho” video. Playing off Cuomo’s quote of a Public Enemy rhyme in the song, Weezer and putative director Spike Jonze had the idea of having former Public Enemy court jester Flavor Flav open things up. Though that shoot didn’t work out, Wilson relishes what might have been: “Can you imagine? Flavor Flav singing, ‘God damn you half-Japanese girls’?”