Jennifer Chiba and Elliott Smith
|Birth name||Jennifer Chiba|
|Born||June 17, 1967 (age 54)|
Jennifer Chiba is a musician, most notably of the band Happy Ending. Rivers Cuomo has referred to her as his "on-again off-again girlfriend" or "girlfriend" (in quotes) from around 1992 through 1995. In the liner notes for Alone II, Cuomo wrote:
Since late '92, through many of the difficult days of playing the clubs in L.A. with Weezer, Jennifer Chiba had been my kind-of-girlfriend. I had benefitted greatly from her care and yet I had always kept my heart hard to her, believing that if Weezer did make it, I would want to be free for the many superior options I imagined would be available to me. Now in the summer of '94, as Weezer was indeed starting to make it, Chiba said she would resist me because of my refusal to commit. But whenever Weezer came through town I called her up looking for a place to stay (because I was no longer renting an apartment) and she gave in, letting me into her heart and home. In mid-July, when Weezer came to L.A. to record some B-sides ("Mykel and Carli", "Susanne", and "My Evaline") I stayed with her. We had an argument. She wanted more commitment and I wanted continued freedom. At the end of the work period, I flew back to my mom's house in Connecticut and on July 14 wrote a song called "I'll Think About You" (Track 19) that I hoped captured the pain and conflict of my situation with Chiba.
Additionally, Cuomo has confirmed that the character Maria, from the unfinished Songs from the Black Hole album concept, was inspired by Chiba and that the relationship between Maria and Jonas was based on that of Chiba and Cuomo. Cuomo's relationship with Chiba also influenced Pinkerton, including the album's cover art. Cuomo confirmed in 2020 that he chose the image because it appeared on a postcard sent to him by Chiba, adding that "it captured the feeling of winter loneliness that I was feeling in Cambridge".
Chiba was later the girlfriend of singer-songwriter Elliott Smith when he died in 2003. Cuomo wrote "The Other Way" about wanting to console Chiba after Smith's death, while questioning his motives for wanting to do so.