Blast Off!

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"Blast Off!"
Blast Off! cover
Demo by Rivers Cuomo
Album Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo
Released December 18, 2007
Recorded February 1995 in Hamburg Germany
Length 1:57
Label Geffen
Writer(s) Rivers Cuomo
RC# 199
COR# N/A
Producer Rivers Cuomo
Status officially released
Live debut August 19, 2011
Rivers Cuomo song chronology
"Lisa"
(RC# 198)
"Blast Off!"
(RC# 199)
"Who You Callin' Bitch?"
(RC# 200)
Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo track listing
"Longtime Sunshine"
(7)
"Blast Off!"
(8)
"Who You Callin' Bitch?"
(9)
Songs from the Black Hole (Tracklist 1) track listing
"Blast Off!"
(1)
"You Won't Get With Me Tonight"
(2)
Songs from the Black Hole (Tracklist 2) track listing
"Blast Off!"
(1)
"Who You Callin' Bitch?"
(2)
Songs from the Black Hole cover
Cover for SFTBH demo
Cover for SFTBH demo

"Blast Off!" is a song by Rivers Cuomo which was intended to be the opening track to the unfinished rock opera, Songs from the Black Hole. Although previously leaked, this song saw an official release on Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, where it has a fixed intro (the original has the word 'blast' truncated) and also leads directly into "Who You Callin' Bitch?".

Appearances

Overview

The lead-off track (Act 1, Scene 1) for Songs from the Black Hole takes place on the main deck of the spaceship Betsy II on May 10, 2126. The lyrics are a conversation between the main character Jonas and his shipmates Wuan and Dondó. Jonas is excited yet reserved about the prospect of doing what he thinks is his dream job, that is, going out into space to save Nomis from being swallowed by it's sun. Wuan and Dondó are much more upbeat about the experience. In the middle of the song, M1 interjects via vocoder to remind them of the task at hand. In the last verse we find that a female character, Maria, the ship's cook, has entered the scene and that Jonas has a history with her from back at Star Corps Academy.

The song was initially released to fans online by Cuomo in 2002. In response to a thread on the Rivers Correspondence Board analyzing the song alongside Death and Destruction, Rivers (posting as 'ace') mentioned "blast off is one of the greatest melodies ANYONE'S ever written. pure billy joel." He went on to add, "BO is a better melody. D+D is a better song."

The version found on Alone is edited in some areas, as the original master tape was damaged. According to Karl Koch, a full-band version was attempted during the sessions for Pinkerton and was in consideration for release on the Deluxe Edition of that album in 2010, but Cuomo and drummer Pat Wilson ultimately decided the performance wasn't adequate. [1]

"Blast Off!" was played live for the first time with the full band on August 19, 2011 at a concert at WaMu Theater in Seattle, WA. It was the encore song after a "Double Memories Night", during which the band performed both the Blue album and Pinkerton in their entirety.

Liner notes

The success of Weezer's first album stirred up a lot of mixed feelings in me-- "Yay, I'm happy" as well as "I'm not sure this is the life I want to lead." I set about exploring and expressing those feelings in a rock musical called Songs from the Black Hole.

I had the perfect opportunity to work on this project when Matt had to go back to the United States because of a family emergency leaving the rest of Weezer in Hamburg, Germany, in the middle of a tour, with nothing to do for a week. Karl and I rode the subway to a studio every day in the outskirts of the city. [Today, we still remember some of the subway stops that were called out by the monotone, automated, male German voice: "Kristuskirche... Osterstrasse."]

At the studio, I recorded "Blast Off" which I had re-worked and expanded from a 1993 songlet "Negativland". The song was to be sung by the four male lead characters in the musical, Jonas (me), Wuan (Brian), Dondó (Matt), and our mechanoid M1 (Karl). MI's part I sang with a vocoder. The song expresses the characters' different feelings about heading out on space mission, or, in other words, my different feelings about heading out on tour and up the charts with a rock band.

From my 1995 notebook:
Act I
10 May 2126
Scene I (The Main Deck)
Betsy II blasts off with a 5-person 1-mechanoid crew aboard, bound for ...?
Captain Jonas feels a strange sense of trepidation that his mates, Wuan and Dondó, do not. They are simply stoked to be on this ship, partying, bound to return as heroes. Mechanoid M1 warns them not to forget the mission: ...?

Music video

The music video was directed by Karl Koch and released via iTunes and YouTube to promote Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo although it saw it's debut on Yahoo! on January 11th 2008. The footage is of Rivers in Japan visiting Kyoko's family in December 2007. It was the first time fans saw Rivers with a mustache.

Personnel

  • Rivers Cuomo – lead guitar, lead vocals, percussion, rhythm guitar, bass guitar

Lyrics

Demo

[JONAS:]
Blast off! Up to the stars we go!
And leave behind everything I used to know
Somebody's giving me a whole lot of money
To do what I think I want to
So why am I still feeling blue? Oh Wuan and Dondo!

[WUAN and DONDO:]
Goddamn! Get your head out of your hands!
Here's to all the times we're gonna have
Cooped up for a year
With the two best looking babes I've seen all year

[WUAN:]
Get me another bottle of beer, 'cause I'm feelin' fine!

[JONAS:]
Go ahead and waste your head
We've got the time
I hope you don't object that I
Speak my mind

[M1:]
Don't forget the purpose of the mission
Or Nomis will get swallowed by its sun
Each one of you is a top graduate
Of the Star Corps Academy
It's up to you to reach for a dream! Oh Wuan and Dondo!

[WUAN:]
Go ahead and waste your life
On silly fears
I hope you don't object if I
Crack another beer, yeah!

[DONDO:]
Hold on, who is it here that I see?
Wasn't she your favorite bitch in the academy?

[JONAS:]
I don't know if I wanna lead on this woman
You know, I've done that before
She's actually a good girl

[DONDO:]
Or at least a cheap ho...

Alternate verse

This verse originates from earlier drafts of "Blast Off" and replaces the M1 segment during live performances of the song

[WUAN:]
Sit back and light up a fat one, man
It's gonna be a long, cold trip if you act like that
Think of all the chicks and the money and the news crews
Waitin' back home for us

[JONAS:]
Let me off the magic bus
I don't think I belong


For additional lyric variants, see Songs from the Black Hole, draft 2.

See also