Riverpedia archive - 09/07/2020

From Weezerpedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Anthony Cuomo

My paternal grandfather.

Came from Fossacesia, Italy. The Cuomos had long been carpenters, cabinet-makers. 'Tony' broke with tradition to become a shoemaker, shoe-repairman.

He emigrated to the US. Possibly illegally. Definitely didn't come through Ellis Island, but rather Toronto to Buffalo, then Rochester, NY.

When I was a toddler, I call him "doot-doo" after the sound of his hammer, working on the shoes. And we all called him that thereafter.

His shop was in the front room of the their house, on Moran Street, Rochester New York.

In the mid 1970's, after my parents split up, he was assaulted in his shop. He eye was carved out and his throat was slit. Luckily my uncle Michael found him and his life was saved. He had a glass eye from then on.

His didn't speak much English (Italian being his native language) but he smiled a lot and radiated warmth.

Further reading:

Frank Cuomo
Denise Cuomo

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 19:41 PM utc )

Denise Cuomo

My paternal grandmother.

( Last edited by Tiffany at 2020-09-07 19:03 PM utc )

Frank Cuomo

My dad. My parents divorced when I was about 4.

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 14:11 PM utc )

Hello Everybody

Hello Everybody

Hello everybody, For my part, I’ll fill you in on what I’ve been up to since the summer tour ended. - First of all, I dropped out of school. I didn’t feel like going back. - That means I have more time for music. I’ve been playing shows with some of my Boston friends—Mikey on bass and Zeph on drums (both from a band called Chevy Heston)—trying out the songs that may appear on the next Weezer record. They’re very different from those on Pinkerton and ol’ Blue but I’m not going to tell you how. - I also actually recorded a new album with some other Boston friends, Fred (from the Gigolo Aunts) on drums and Drew (from Tracy Bonham’s band) on bass. This is an album of goofball songs I’ve written over the past six years that were never recorded by Weezer. Some of you might know some of these songs. Most of them are acoustic-y and almost country-ish, but don’t worry, it’s still a cool record. Unfortunately, I have no idea when it’s coming out. - By the way, avoid referring to either of these new bands as “solo projects”. The word “project” makes it sound like I’m working with construction paper and paste. Or that I’m dispassionately pouring hydrochloric acid on rocks to see if they fizzle. I’m not doing anything like that. I’m rocking out. This is a way of life, not a “project”. Also, there’s nothing “solo” about what I’m doing—I’m playing with other guys. I have no interest in playing music by myself. That would be about as much fun as playing tennis by myself or simply playing with myself (which, of course, suffices in a pinch). “Side project” seems a bogus term too, as if the music I’m making now is merely cranberry sauce alongside the roast turkey of Weezer. There’s no need to divide music up into meaningless categories like “side project” or “solo project” or “The Alan Parson’s Project”. We’re all just singing along like one big dysfunctional family. So relax. There’s just a lot of new songs and I want to play them while Pat, Matt, and Brian are busy working on their, um, other bands. - I also now have more time for soccer. I’m the starting left-midfielder on team “Brestchester United” which plays around Massachusetts in the Bay State League. I’ve scored two goals and I’m the fastest man on the field. As the season comes to a close, our team is fighting for second place in the division. - So my typical day is: wake up at 10, lie in bed and listen to Howard Stern for a ½ hour, get up, pee, have coffee, practice piano for an hour, work on songs all afternoon (or, alternately, procrastinate and accomplish nothing), play music with friends and/or go to soccer practice, and finally, at the end of the night, call up a girlfriend for some affection before I go to bed, (although I make sure that the girl is at least 3000 miles away so as to avoid the risk of actually forming some kind of real relationship). That’s a typical day. Sound exciting? It’s not. But I’m having a lot of fun and I’m getting a lot accomplished. There’s a butt-load of new songs waiting to be heard. If you’re in Boston any time soon, check the paper and come see me play.

On a sadder note, I must report that, even as a wealthy rock star, I’m still forced to survive on the meager diet of my “starving artist” days, namely Ramen noodles and peanut butter and jelly. Not a day goes by that, hunched over my cheerios, I don’t dream of a hot, well-balanced meal: stir-fry, spaghetti, or mashed potatoes. But this is not to be. All because I was born tragically deprived of man’s natural culinary faculties. Take this report not as a pathetic plea for pity, but rather merely as the unbiased observation of a surprising, if not tragic, fact. Donations of food welcome.

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 12:28 PM utc )

Letter To Steve Hodges

October 27, 1995

Steve Hodges The Dalles, Oregon

Dear Steve:

I am the singer of Weezer and the writer of BUDDY HOLLY. I only just now received your request dated March 23, 1995. If you're still interested, you have my full permission to arrange and play BUDDY HOLLY. I gained much from my involvement in my high school music department and would be happy and honored to be able to return this small favor.

I am now a music major at Harvard University. Although I haven't yet begun the study of orchestration, I would love to have a copy of your arrangement and a cassette of the performance (quality isn't important).

Please protect my privacy as I'm a hermit by nature.

Good luck transcribing our out-of-tune vocals.


Rivers Cuomo

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 19:15 PM utc )

My dad's nicknames for people and things

My dad has a fantastic ability to give people nicknames that stuck. And to coin alternate words for things.

tissue -- "hornblowers"
slippers -- "slinkers"
peanut butter -- "peenter bunter"
my uncle Michael -- "Ralphie"
my aunt Joanne -- "Dodo"
my mom -- "Choofie" and "Magenta"
me -- "Weezer" (and sometimes, Botch).

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 08:49 AM utc )

Pet Sounds

I discovered Pet Sounds at the ripe old age of twenty when I went to the local used CD store with the intention of buying a “classic” album by a “classic” band that I had not yet gotten into. Two CDs I found fit that description: Pet Sounds and Led Zeppelin I (don’t ask me how I managed to avoid Led Zeppelin through my teenage years, but I did.) Unfortunately, even after pawning my Mercyful Fate CDs, I could afford only one of the two. After much musing, I decided on Pet Sounds, primarily because the cover was so weird. It’s impossible to exaggerate the effect this decision has had on my life. Thank you Brian Wilson.

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 19:07 PM utc )

Pinkerton Concept

Weezer Pinkerton

This is a story about a guy who, disillusioned with the shallowness of his relationships, sets out to find the perfect woman and start a family. He meets a girl and thinks he falls in love, but she turns out to be too rock and roll for him. Determined to rise above this lifestyle, he sets his sights for utter purity but only ends up isolating himself from all human contact. In his solitude, his mind goes wild with fantasy and his natural urges are amplified and perverted. After several years, he finally comes to know and accept these urges as natural and human. He shaves his beard, which has grown to an enormous length, and sets out to return to the world. After a few false starts, he finds his salvation.

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 19:31 PM utc )

Sheila Can Do It

A "Homie" song I wrote in February of 1996, at the same time I was writing songs that would end up on Pinkerton. I originally used the name "Rachel" instead of "Sheila". It was partially inspired by Rachel Haden. Eventually came out on Van Weezer.

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 08:47 AM utc )

Van Weezer Tracklist

Van Weezer Tracklist (not in order)

  1. End of the Game
  2. Blue Dream
  3. Hero
  4. I’ve Thrown it All Away
  5. She Needs Me
  6. Precious Metal Girl
  7. Beginning of the end
  8. I need some of that
  9. Sheila can do It

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 08:46 AM utc )

Wagner and Stravinsky

Rivers Cuomo Carol Babiracki 10/13/96

Compare the Romantic and the Modern views of the representational capabilities of art as exemplified by Wagner and Stravinsky.

Music 97r Final Paper

"Every bar of dramatic music is justified only by the fact that it explains something in the action or in the character of the actor." Richard Wagner 1

"Do we not, in truth, ask the impossible of music when we expect it to express feelings, to translate dramatic situations, even to imitate nature?" Igor Stravinsky


Here, apparently, are two artists who hold entirely antagonistic views of the representational capabilities and responsibilities of art. Wagner holds that his music exists only to serve the expression of the drama, that all the elements of an operatic production—the orchestral music, the vocal melodies, the poetry, the scenery, the costumes, the lighting—can and should be united, in what he calls the Gesamtkunstwerk, for the purpose of expressing the drama. Stravinsky, on the other hand, holds that such a Synthesis of the Arts betrays and debases pure music with its arbitrary and artificial constraints—constraints that are entirely foreign to the natural laws of music. However, one must temper these two rather extreme opposing views with the knowledge that Wagner and Stravinsky were both headstrong characters wont to make bold or inflammatory statements not necessarily representative of their actual respective practices. Donald Grout points out that in practice Wagner occasionally abandons his ideal of the Gesamtkunstwerk, that "the drama is occasionally interrupted, or adorned, with interwoven scenes of decidedly operatic character that are not always strictly necessary to the plot."


Moreover, "Wagner sometimes introduces certain motifs for what seem to be purely musical reasons, without any obvious necessary connection with the dramatic situation . . ."


And Stravinsky—although squarely opposed to the belief that music is capable of representing emotions, objects, or dramatic situations—is best known for his ballets, an opera (The Rake's Progress), an opera-oratorio (Oedipus Rex), a choral symphony (Symphony of Psalms), and a dance piece based on an old folktale (L'histoire du soldat), all of which are forms which are generally programmatic in nature. Given this apparent contradiction—that the respective theories of Wagner and Stravinsky are in direct opposition, yet their practices reveal numerous similarities–the question arises: Exactly how do Wagner and Stravinsky differ, not in their theories nor on the surface of their compositions, but in what their music ultimately communicates to the listener?

If Stravinsky mistakenly believed that Wagner's ultimate point of communication was "the drama" (meaning "the plot"), one mustn't blame him, for Wagner himself forcefully made this claim, as witnessed in the quote opening this essay. Richard Crocker, in A History of Musical Style, corrects this common misunderstanding with an alternative explanation: in the music-dramas, contrary to the composer's own statements, Wagner actually makes "the music primary and the text secondary."


He observes that in Tristan und Isolde,

the plot . . . is in itself unimportant, serving only to bring the two lovers . . . together in circumstances that prohibit their love . . . The drama was conceived so as to facilitate the exploitation of luxurious harmonies and progressions . . . the nature of the harmonic events is reproduced by the drama but . . . the singing and acting [only] ride on the surface of the harmonies.


With this interpretation in mind, it is not surprising to learn that late in life Wagner rescinded his earlier claims and admitted that the "music-drama remained symphonic in the deepest sense: the text was in the end a program of the kind used by Berlioz and Liszt, to incite and guide the listener's imaginative response."


In the music-drama, the music does not exist to explain the text—the practice Stravinsky so strongly objects to—but rather, the text exists to provide a more concrete image of the music. Wagner saw the music-drama not as the enslavement of music by a higher dramatic purpose, but rather as the logical extension of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, taking the shape of the symphonic form but with it's meaning made clearer by the text.


Still, this is an attempt at the synthesis of text and music, regardless of which serves which, and as such would still be objectionable to Stravinsky, for if he believed that music is incapable of representing emotions, objects, or ideas, then surely he must have believed that text is incapable of accurately representing the meaning of the music.. Judging by The Rake's Progress, one gets the feeling that Stravinsky would object to any imposed relationship between text and music. For Stravinsky, dramatic action and text are forever isolated from music. However, it would be foolish to deny that there is some relationship between the two in Stravinsky's music. For example, in the graveyard scene, the composer does not set the text to a happy-sounding jig, but rather consciously chooses an agitated melody in G minor. How then can he insist that his music does not represent the "dark" and "dreadful place"? And when Tom goes mad and sings his childish song, then too, the music—a simple, repetitive melody in the major mode—seems a perfect match for the setting. How does this style differ from that of Wagner's music-dramas? For one, the key motives of any section are not attached to any particular emotion, object, word, or dramatic idea, as are the leitmotivs of Wagner. Rather they stand on their own and as a unifying component of the musical aspect of the composition. For example, in the graveyard scene, the following motive appears a number of times in Tom's part of the duet:

Instead of representing any one idea, this melody sets the various words: "dreadful is this place", "fills", "I", and "pay you"—all lines which have no obvious connection. This example illustrates that Stravinsky did not compose the drama and the music as an organic whole, as did Wagner, but rather, he used the dramatic setting as a point of departure and composed the music as an independent entity to sit beside the text but to retain it's own rationale, balance, order, and meaning.

Given that Stravinsky exhibits these values, it is not surprising that he relies on Classical models for many aspects of the composition of The Rake's Progress. The opera is broken up into arias, recitative accompanied by harpsichord, duets, and ensembles. In the Poetics of Music, he says that "Arias, ensembles, and their reciprocal relationships in the structure of an opera confer upon the whole work a coherence that is merely the external and visible manifestation of an internal and profound order".


Stravinsky makes no attempt at making a realistic presentation of the drama, as does Wagner. The plot is advanced mostly in the recitative sections, and the arias remain mostly pure musical expression, as they do in the operas of Mozart. The fragmented nature of this opera, along with the wholesale repetition of entire sections of music under different texts (for example, Shadow's "I burn" aria), insure that the music will be considered on a purely musical level, rather than as a representation of an ongoing drama.

Wagner sought to eliminate these divisions. He admired the dramatic force of the symphonic form and begrudged traditional opera the artificiality of its conventions. In Tristan und Isolde, long, uninterrupted passages of music chronicle the action through many changes of mood and subject. In this sense, the music-drama is the culmination of a trend that had been evolving from the earliest days of Western art music. In the Renaissance, Monteverdi cleverly reflected the imagery of his text in his melodies; in the Baroque era, Bach shaped his melodic lines to bear religious significance; in the Classic era, Mozart ingeniously characterized the characters of his operas with telling music; in the Romantic era, Schumann expressed his often complex innermost feelings in song-cycles; and in the late Romantic era, Wagner attempted a total synthesis of music and dramatic meaning. Nearly one hundred years after Tristan und Isolde, perhaps Stravinsky felt that music and text had gotten as close to each other as possible, or perhaps that they had gotten too close, and that it was no longer possible to proceed along the course along which Western art music had developed until that point. And so, in The Rake's Progress, he pulled them back apart. In The Rake's Progress, music is no longer a reflection of "mountains" or "valleys" in the text, nor of the emotions of the composer. In this opera, music is just music, to be judged on it's own merits alone, and on it's own terms. This absolutism is in stark contrast to the representationalism of Wagner and the Romantics, whose music Stravinsky describes as "smothered under literary flowers"


and is one of the hallmarks of the Modern era.

1 Phil G. Goulding, Classical Music (New York: Ballantine Books, 1992), 147

2 Igor Stravinsky, The Poetics of Music (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1942),

3 Donald J. Grout and Claude V. Palisca, A History of Western Music (New York, W.W. Norton, 1988), 748

4 Ibid., 748

5 Richard Crocker, A History of Musical Style (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1986), 457

6 Ibid., 462

7 Ibid., 457

8 Ibid., 457

9 Stravinsky, 62

10 Ibid., 60

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 09:05 AM utc )

Weezine Letter

Yo, I’m hungry. I just got home from school and I’ve got nothing but frozen dinners in the fridge, and I’m sick to death of frozen dinners. I’m twenty-five years old and I still have no idea how to cook. I guess I’ll have some Cheerios. But first: Mykel and Carli asked me to write something for the Weezine because they’re running out of interesting things to tell you guys, probably due to the fact that we haven’t done anything remotely interesting in the past nine months. So here are a few random facts that may or may not be of any interest to you: 1) My leg is doing much better! I’m not feeling too much pain anymore and the metal frame should be taken off by July. This whole experience turned out to be much more than I bargained for: the frame was supposed to be taken off last fall, but still I’m limping around with two pounds of metal screwed into my leg. When it’s all over I’ll be as good as new. I can’t wait; this year really sucked. 2) School is going great. I’m taking mostly music classes but last semester I also took expository writing and poetry and this semester I’m also taking astronomy. Nobody here recognizes me. I see other students wearing Weezer shirts and hats and they don’t even recognize me! They all think I’m just some weird crippled guy. Which is true. It’s nice to be a nobody again, but on the other hand, I’m getting lonely. If you happen to be in Boston and you see me limping home from school, don’t be afraid to say “hi”. 3) I’ve got about eight new songs now, but I still need to write at least two more before we can put out the next album. Please be patient—I want it to come out as badly as you do. I just want to make sure its great. It’s taken me a long time to come up with these songs because I don’t have a girl in my life making me miserable. Actually, I don’t have any meaningful relationships here at school and, unfortunately, relationships are the only thing I know how to write about. So we must wait and hope.

Thanks for all the fan mail; I read every letter. I feel like I know some of you pretty well now. I’m going to eat some Cheerios.

5000 G

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 19:17 PM utc )

Weezine Spring '97


hey everybody. School ain’t so bad. I switched to an English major . . . don’t ask me why. I’ve been to a lot of cool shows since I got back: blur, pavement, sebadoh, cibo matto, papas fritas, the apples, the lilies, bis, and the cardigans . . . I’m jealous. I want to be on stage. Soon, Rivers, soon.

The summer tour is going to be incredibly fun. You should all come see us play because I’m gonna be going nuts but if you don’t want to pay for a ticket to see No Doubt, I’ll understand (although I think they’re quite good.) You should come to the venue anyway and we can just chill in the parking lot.

Hey, I want to thank all of you who have supported and defended Weezer in the media. We’ve really had a hard time recently between the magazines that say terrible things about us and the radio stations that don’t play Weezer as much as they ought to. Sometimes I get so bummed out at all the criticism but I feel a million times better when I see you sticking up for us—for example, Jen Hagen who ripped Alternative Press an alternative asshole in their April issue. Thanks, guys. Also, don’t believe anything you read about us (although its probably all true): journalists have an amazing knack for twisting a story around till its scandalous enough to sell copy. And sometimes the things we say don’t come out how we mean them to. Sorry.

See you soon,

( Last edited by Rivers at 2020-09-07 19:19 PM utc )