Hartford Courant interview with Matt Sharp - November 30, 1995

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Weezer's Matt Sharp Focusing at the Moment on Rentals' New Album

By Roger Catlin; Courant Rock Critic


Matt Sharp spent every penny he made from being in the band Weezer on a little non-Weezer recording he initially never meant to release.

"It cost about 10 grand," Sharp says over the phone from Denver. Even with the riches that came from the success of his main band's 2 million-selling debut, he says, "it was everything I had."

Part of the problem, Sharp says, is "we got into this Jeff Lynne thing where more is more." And what was once a bare-bones punk-guitar album became a fun little New Wave keyboard album. Return of the Rentals, released last month, brought back the sound of Gary Numan, the Cars and the old Moog synthesizer.

And now The Rentals are out on their own tour. After a stint opening for Alanis Morrissette, the band plays the Sting in New Britain Wednesday night as part of WMRQ- FM's (104.1) Jingle Bell Jam with the Toadies, Garbage, Eve's Plum and Letters to Cleo.

"The No. 1 and 2 questions I get asked all the time," says Sharp, "are: 'Has Weezer broken up?' And, 'What is a Moog?'"

Weezer, whose drummer Pat Wilson also plays double duty on the Rentals album, has indeed not broken up. In fact the one criterion Sharp had for all the labels that were interested in signing his band is that the album be released in the fall so as not to interfere with Weezer's schedule. (The winning mogul was Madonna and her Maverick Records.)

"We've already started recording the next record," Sharp says of Weezer. Because of the success of The Rentals (which includes on the road Cherielynne Westrich, Rod Cervera, Jim Richards, Myra Rudolph and Mike Fletcher), Sharp may have more input on future Weezer projects with Rivers Cuomo, the former Mansfield resident who heads the band.

As for the Moog, of course, it's one of the first generation of synthesizers, developed by Robert Moog. The Rentals are touring with four 1977 models of the Moog Source.

Many who were introduced to The Rentals through their low-budget video for "Friends of P" may think the band is from Czechoslovakia with their nerdy suits, black-and-white footage and Eastern European subtitles — an image repeated on the album cover art.

But that look was chosen because it was a low-budget approach for an already low-budget video; because of a quick need for cover art, a still was nabbed from the video, making some think it is a continuing Rentals look.

On tour, the band wears regular clothes. Putting on those suits, Sharp says, "would be too hot."