Historic event: 11/04/1992
weezer records Demo #3 AKA "the real demo"
Sometime in early November '92, [suspected to be Nov 4-5] weezer had a chance to record for cheap at a 16 track studio that was built in a converted garage in central hollywood. They could have done it in one full day, but the studio was being "borrowed" with out the knowledge of its owner, who was only absent from the property at certain times. Engineering the session was Jon Pikus, who the band knew pretty well as he was the drummer for El Magnifico, who had shared numerous bills with weezer in recent months. Over the course of 2 nights, Five songs were recorded and mixed: "no one else", "the world has turned", "say it ain't so", "undone" and the new [previously unplayed by the band] "surf wax america".
Jon was at the time a capable but still learning engineer, and the tape, while being the best-yet representation of the band, was still flawed by some sonic strangeness, such as a snare drum that sounded kinda like a tennis ball hitting a racket.
Jon Pikus writes:
"i actually was paid for my services, in the form of a pair of stereo speakers (the kind you buy from a dude in a van for like $100, who lures you in by asking if you want to buy some "studio monitors"). [that is indeed what happened, heh heh, several months earlier at 1711 Stoner Ave! --k]. The studio's usual monitor speakers had gone missing and we needed to mix, so one of the guys in the band brought these giant speakers in, we mixed on them, and then in lieu of payment (which i think we all estimated at around $200, but no one had any cash) they left me the speakers as my compensation. then i blew them up shortly thereafter on another session.
Matt and I mixed it late at night 'cause the others had gone home, until 4 am, heavily referencing the [Pixies'] surfer rosa CD which was the only album we had there, the cracking snare sound was an impulsive late night decision that just seemed to lend itself to the recording (in retrospect does it crack a little too much? well, sure).
the intro of undone had some talking from bandmembers of Wax, joe sib & soda i think, in addition to the vinyl snippets we mixed in..." [actually I recall a lot of mentioning of Wax done by Matt and the guys in their vocal takes. I dont recall any actual Wax member in attendance, but it HAS been over 10 years...] -karl
"...i had my mastering guy Alan Yoshida at A&M master it for me for free as a favor. there was also a short bonus track of rivers playing beethoven's 9th symphony for like 30 seconds that got left off. i thought that say it aint so was the real gem of the session, and i kept it on my production reel for a few years to follow." ---Jon Pikus
The "vinyl snippets" were actually Karl's first contribution to a weezer recording, a series of bits sampled [recorded direct from a turntable at the studio] from records karl had assembled. This was recorded in the beginning 2 verses. The band also did the talking thing, and the result was pretty chaotic. Records used included The Star Wars Storybook (Darth's "you are part of the rebel alliance, and a traitor!"), the story of the Hobbit (Gollem's "tasty morsels..."), and some other bits of nonsense. The second verse ends with Jason Croppers voice: "I told you, not to touch me-!", but what he originally had said was "i told you, not to touch me there!"
The band dove into the bizarre world of trying to get signed at this point, printing up many copies of the tape, and intending to agressively send them out to label offices, lawyers, and producers, and give them out to label-personnel at shows. While some of these things were in fact done, the band was so worried about the demo's sound quality that they ended up pretty much only giving it to people when requested. Overall there were 3 different printings made. There were no j-cards, just adhesive label stickers on the cassettes. The first set (about 75 cassettes) had light blue labels. The second (about 100) had green ones, and #3 (about 100) had yellow labels.
The tape consisted of 4 songs. They were never quite satisfied with the then brand new "Surf Wax America", so that song was only added to a handful of copies for the band's freinds, added to the unlabelled side B.
The "9th symphony" bit that Pikus recounts was in fact recorded, but I beleive it was actually a bit of Bach, and was a sort of 'coda' to undone on the original demo tape. It breaks down with wacky chords after a mistake. This bit never made it to mp3/bootleg form.
The recording session is significant for being the birth place of the "=w=" symbol. Pat Wilson and Karl were fooling around, drawing stuff into the purple fuzz covered wall of the control room area, when discussion turned to a weezer logo. Pat said "what about..." and drew a rough "=w=" into the fuzz. Pat and Karl were hysterical with laughter for a long time. Finally, wishing to get a concrete version of this symbol into the world, Karl took some engineers labeling tape and made a crude =w= logo, which was affixed to the back of Rivers's shirt, where it remained for quite a while before falling off somewhere.