Someday Never interview with Matt Sharp - June 27, 2003
Matt Sharp is better know as "that guy that used to be in Weezer" or as the frontman of the much-loved Rentals, but he's now embarking on a career as a solo artist with a full length album due out this spring. Katie talked with him a bit after a recent show in Omaha.
Matt Sharp is nice. Nice enough to do an after-show interview with not just me, but two of my Weezer/Rentals-worshipping friends. He's also deeply layered, with a soft, shy, secretive side and an outgoing, hilarious side -- not unlike his music. Although the atmosphere that evening was quiet and somber, Matt was goofing off all night, even doing some impromptu raps. I wondered what was up with him.
"Before the show I drank a Diet Coke, and somebody gave me a Diet Pepsi. For some reason, the Diet Pepsi really freaked me out. I felt like I just smoked crack or something," he said.
Matt seemed candid throughout the four-part conversation that evening, as people cleaned up clanking Rolling Rock bottles and the sticky floor. However, he was oddly shy about his private life. At the time, Matt was involved in legal troubles with his former Weezer band mates over compensation for "Undone (The Sweater Song)." Matt was not too eager to discuss his current legal troubles with the band.
"I like those guys a lot, I don't want to say anything bad about them. But I don't like what they're doing right now, and I had to do something to show it. It's not even about the money," he said.
We told a story about a friend of ours who'd seen Weezer almost a decade ago on a beach in California, and how the show was fun and sandy and carefree, how the four guys seemed so fresh and lighthearted. Matt said that at the time, they all loved their music. He said that Weezer was just a band of friends who could never have foretold their success.
"Those were some of the best times of my life," he remembered, helplessly smiling.
This tour was his first tour in the United States in over seven years. He was without a band this time (just a guitarist/keyboardist) and with an unplugged, more sober sound. I asked him what it was like to tour so much after such a long time of isolation.
"I've been in a cave, in a darker place for awhile. I ran away to this little country town and hung out there and wrote and thought and recorded. I've definitely had enough of being isolated. Being out's amazing. I love playing like this, playing these kinds of shows. This is kind of what I want to do from now on."
Although Matt really was hamming it up all night, I noticed that his new music seemed so dark, and about addiction or obsession. Matt said that we shouldn't worry about him.
"Some of those songs are about a time long since passed, and none of them are about drugs," he said.
The four of us laughed about the mid-nineties, the fashion trends that Matt helped to perpetuate, and playing guitar. He seemed clueless about and humbled by the influence he had on us twentysomethings.
Before the lights went down for the night, and before the venue was locked up (and we were locked in), my friends and I had one quick question about the mythical Spanish girl in Seven More Minutes. He mentioned her occasionally when his old Rentals songs came up on the setlist that night. Even his music on that album had a bit of Spanish flavor, so we knew she was important.
"I can't say much about her," he said, smiling his knowing, private smile.