Illinois Entertainer article - June 2002
The Weezer Rules
By Althea Legaspi
Weezer has taken control. Taken control of promotion. Taken control of management. Taken control of publicity. Taken control of production. In short, they are taking control of their careers the way they see fit, a decision that caused a bit of controversy in the headlines. It all started with a letter sent back in February. Both press and radio received an eight-song sampler of music from their at-the-time-not-yet-released album, Maladroit. With it was a hand-signed letter from Weezer on their official stationery. Makes sense, yes? A band has new material, and wants to get it out there. They should be commended. We thought it pretty cool. And the results seemed outstanding enough. Within a couple weeks, radio stations across the country began to play songs from the sampler, particularly the infectious and distinctly Weezer-sounding "Dope Nose." It garnered enough airplay to make a number 25 debut on Airplay Monitor's (Billboard's sister publication) Modern Rock Tracks Audience chart in the first week of March.
The problem was that their label, Interscope/Geffen, wasn't too into the idea of self-promotion, as the label wasn't aware of the sampler until they heard songs being played on the radio. According to Weezer's official website (www.weezer.com), label execs asked frontman/singer/guitarist Rivers Cuomo to write all the radio stations that he sent advances to and ask them to hold off promoting the tracks until the label was ready to service "Dope Nose" as a single. Weezer had also posted songs on their website, but had to take them down as well.
Despite the contention, the band seems unfazed. "The flack that I'm aware of is generally from what I read, and I don't entirely trust what I read. Nobody from the label came and said, 'You know you're really pissing me off.' So, it just felt like the right thing to do - fire off a bunch of music so that people can hear and get excited about it," says Pat Wilson, drummer. "I think it's the wave of the future. I just feel like we're being more responsible about our careers. It's like, 'let's take some responsibility - we have to.' Nobody's gonna care about it as much as we do, no matter what they say. So it just seems like the smart business move to me."
In fact, the self-promotion kick far surpasses sending out new material: in order to set-up interviews or for any kind of press, you'll need to set it up with Cuomo himself. And he recently decided to manage the band as well. Says Cuomo via email, "A desire to be nagged less," is what led him to the ultimate decision to take matters into his own hands. Besides, he says, "We can do a better job than anyone else." Brian Bell, Weezer's guitarist, elaborates, "We are taking on management ourselves and kind of putting that work on ourselves, which is actually kind of, I think, positive. And it seems like for some reason things have gotten better. It doesn't seem like anyone has cared less about us, and I don't think it has anything to do with having a manager or not having a manager, it's just our output is greater and the fan interest never waned."