Make Believe Sessions

From Weezerpedia

The Make Believe Sessions were three phases of recordings made by Weezer from late 2003 through early 2005, which resulted in the completion of the album Make Believe.


In November 2003, in preparation for a fifth album, true pre-production demos were recorded. Then in December, recording for an album began in earnest. Over the course of three separate sessions, many different songs, as well as different versions/mixes of songs, were committed to tape. These recordings differed rather strongly in sound from prior sessions, including the Album 5 Demos, S.I.R. Demos, and Acoustic Office Demos. These new recordings reflected a sound closer to what Make Believe would ultimately sound like. The band was indeed beginning to home in on a final recording. However, due to the band's constant recording and second-guessing, many recordings from these sessions did not actually end up on the album, and to this day remain unreleased. The crop of unreleased songs became know as *the "fallen soldiers"

Phase One: Cello

In December 2003, afer completing a whirlwind round of recordings and rehearsals the previous month, Weezer checked into Cello Studios and began to record a fifth album. With Rick Rubin present, things went well.

Committing songs to 2-inch, 24-track tape, and using Pro Tools to clean things up, a host of songs were laid down between December 1st and December 19th. In truth, the recordings weren't fully completed, but would have required only a few touch-ups to be releasable. Despite the good vibes, the band soon decided that the results were not up to par, and set the recordings aside. However, during the next two rounds of recordings, many of the songs were reconsidered by the band. Still, while many of these songs did end up on Make Believe in the long run, much of the material was touched up or completely re-recorded during later sessions.

Interestingly enough, Cello Studios closed its doors in early 2004, making Weezer one of the last artists to grace its hallowed halls.

Phase One song list

The following recordings were worked up by Weezer at Cello in December 2003, and mixed on January 30th 2004:

Phase Two: Grandmaster

After seemingly aborting the Cello sessions altogether, Rivers began a series of solo demo sessions recorded over the first half of 2004. By July, the rest of the band was getting antsy. Brian and Rick Rubin were cool with whatever Rivers wanted, but at a July meeting, Scott and Pat decided that they were raring to go on a new round of sessions, and the others agreed. They moved the party to Grandmaster Studios, and recording commenced.

By this time, Rivers had whittled down a list of twelve specific songs that he felt were right for the album. He asked the others to humor him, and focus only on these songs. If the end result was not up to par, he would gladly open things up to suggestion.

Rubin assumed a very 'hands off' position during this round of recording, with engineer Chad Bamford providing some production duties, and Rubin would check in daily. Between July 22nd and September 15th, the twelve songs were crafted, and a rough mix CD was compiled on September 25th.

Rivers left the sessions to return to school, and Pat, Brian, and Scott were left to finish overdubbing. However, the trio felt that there were some song being left behind that had much potential, so between September 16th and October 22nd, not only did they finish the required overdubs, but they also worked on other 'forgotten' songs from the previous session. Five additional songs were 'rebuilt' by the band from older recordings, creating a list of seventeen total songs recorded at Grandmaster.

Phase Two song list

These twelve songs were completed before Rivers left for school:

These five songs were tinkered with by the remaining three members:

Phase Three: Rubin's home studio

After Rivers returned from school in late January of 2005, the band reconvened with Rubin at his home studio to listen to previous recordings and assess their progress. Having previously dismissed the December 2003 Cello sessions, the band found that they felt the recordings were better than they remembered, and began to give them more attention, finishing any overdubs that were necessary to complete the songs. This caused them to toss aside much of the work completed the previous summer and fall.

At this time, Geffen was in contact with the band, and was requesting that they finish an album for a spring release - which meant masters would have to be turned in by early March. This sent the band scrambling to complete the album, and many last-minute tweaks and decisions were made. Things were shifting so rapidly that the final track listing wasn't finalized until the eleventh hour. As such, clips of the band working on eventual non-LP tracks turned up in a press documentary.

The blistering pace of recording and decision making carried through until April 6th, about a month after the label's request. Still, with Rubin's clout, the album was in fact mastered in time to make its original planned release date of May 10th - exactly eleven years after The Blue Album.

Phase Three song list

The following list of rough mixes were compiled at the outset of, and worked on during, this phase:

The following songs were unlikely to make the cut at this point:

The final results

When the dust settled, three batches of songs emerged. First and foremost were the twelve songs completed for Make Believe. Secondly, eleven tracks that were essentially finished, but left unmixed, became *The "fallen soldiers". Lastly, there remained a brief list of songs that weren't completed to anyone's satisfaction, and left by the wayside:

See also