The EWBAITE Development Thread (Fall 2010 to August 2014 Recordings, Listening Parties, & Concepts)
The EWBAITE Development Thread (Fall 2010 to August 2014 Recordings, Listening Parties, & Concepts) is a forum post assembled by user GeeWiz on the AllThingsWeezer forums on October 23, 2017, as a collation of info from fans who attended listening parties from 2010 to 2014. The forum post is archived here for posterity.
The EWBAITE Development Thread (Fall 2010 to August 2014 Recordings, Listening Parties, & Concepts)
Disclaimer: During my initial research for this project, I heard a lot of “I’m not really feeling this, so I’m going to pass for now.” If, after reading this, you have a change of heart, please message me and contribute what information you are willing. I would like this to be a much larger project, but I will need much more participation to achieve what I’d ultimately like to see.
Also, if you see something that contradicts your experience, please let me know. There was A LOT going on in these 4 years, but getting an accurate picture of what was going on is my ultimate goal.
With that said, let’s start at the beginning of this whole experimental period…
The Sea Opera (Fall 2010 to Spring 2011)
Sometime in 2010, Rivers began recording what we know as the “Sea Opera” demos with Shawn Everett. Why Shawn Everett? Possibly because they were just getting along and having fun after the recording of Hurley.
Here’s some quotes that seem to have relevant information on the plot.
Bleed0range said: ↑ Who knows, maybe Weezer have some other cool canceled projects that we don't know about that might be awesome (like the sea themed rock opera thing from .com)... I mean that sounded cool. It took me awhile to piece it all together, but I think I now know what that was all about. You can infer most of the story from the little clips shown of text about the characters. The story of a sailor named Mortimer Collins (according to the screenshot) on a ship called the Resolution who caught his wife/girlfriend cheating on him with the captain, Captain Buttress and threw himself overboard to drown himself (which seems to be the demo that Runners/Gohi heard from December 2010 backstage that they shared with us, one of them mentioned something about an Octopus and underwater sea creatures, which sounds like the drowning himself portion of the story)... You can infer that this clip is the same song... http://weezer.com/video/20110118-1 Because it points out in the lyrics "I'm at home here... in the briney [sea]." Which fits with the idea of drowning one's self in sorrow and accepting their fate in the angry way it is sung. Also it is prefaced with the line, "You wanted me to be a practical man, now I see how things were." Which fits in with the idea of his girl cheating on him. The video even points out the characters involved. Mortimer, his girl and then the captain who fucked her and made him go to kill himself. Also, this video http://weezer.com/video/20110105a-1 is labeled "Getting the underwater effect for a new weezer demo." Flat out telling you about the drowning in the ocean part. All of this story is told from the point of view of a rock band on the ship named "The Roaches." If you listen on .com, you can infer that from the voice that plays in the clip "An old rock band, the roaches... *indecipherable* ... have been called back to a triumphant reunion on[board the revolution]." which you can infer from this video http://weezer.com/video/20110118rrc-1 All that sounded really cool. Fuck.
MayorDanby said: ↑ SEA ROCK OPERA!!!!! I remember reading it's a woman he falls in love with in a brothel that they visited. He took her away from that lifestyle and he was falling in love only to find her with the captain with his pants down..or something. It said he was on deck all night till morning till he jumps overboard.... in the water he's hallucinating with the sea creatures...etc. Very cool stuff. :/ I want that fully realized and released dang it.
Bleed0range said: ↑ "Captain Buttress is having sex with her and.... Captain Buttress with his pants down yells at Mortimer, "Get back.." *** ... stays up for the remainder of the night on the deck of the ship and... at sunrise he jumps overboard... consciousness, he feels super happy and blissful as he hallucinates... where he is all powerful. Then all goes dark." "He fell in love with her on the night before the Resolution..." Yup. There's the story. This appears to be but one aspect of the entire thing, this sets up the events in the song here. He is all powerful as he hallucinates about the sea creatures as he is drowning and he claims I'm at home here in the briney.... I'm guessing this is towards the end and the earlier part of the story would have been him meeting the girl the night before they set sail on the ship and etc.
Confirmed songs from Sea Opera:
- Unknown Title (“In the back of your heart, woah, in the back of your mind.” Clip found in “Sea Opera Days” video that almost became the closer to EWBAITE title Rest In Peace, and eventually became the bridge of Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori)
- Rock and Roll Cockroach (“because Weezer will never die.” Mentioned in a Ustream in September 2010)
- Ballad of the Briney (“I’m at home here in the briney” – Part of this song includes the main character waving hello to octopuses and fish as he drowns. But, he doesn’t seem to drown but has an experience where he is “at home in the briney.” Basically he is delusional as he drowns, and instead of wanting to kill himself, he starts to feel warm, happy and safe.)
One cool thing from the videos is seeing River singing underwater for part of the songs where the main character is drowning.
All clips can be downloaded here (thanks @Ammar):
What is important to be gleaned from the clips here is that there is apparently a full album of Sea Opera songs fully recorded by Rivers and Shawn Everett. The clip of Ballad of the Briney sounds studio quality, though I’ve been told they are only “studio roughs.” They aren’t as rough as Time Flies…
The Sea Opera was abandoned, but the themes that made it up were incorporated into EWBAITE as The Panopticon Artist. No songs from The Sea Opera were released or used as a basis for songs on EWBAITE.
So the big questions from Sea Opera:
1.) Why did Rivers decide to revive the Songs From the Black Hole concept (as this is clearly a revival of that).
2.) Why was the concept dropped after being completely recorded.
And the big takeaways:
1.) The rock and roll band theme that became part of EWBAITE started here in 2010 with the concept of The Cockroaches. This morphed into The Astronauts by 2014.
2.) Nothing is ever “dropped.” The closer became Rest in Peace and the Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori.
3.) Rivers discards gold like it is trash.
4.) Rivers was over Hurley before it ever released (much like EWBAITE, White, and Pacific Daydream)
Ecce Homo (Fall 2011 – Spring 2012)
Information on Ecce Homo is scarce. @blueguy has a great Ecce Homo thread breaking down nearly everything we know. I don’t want to rehash all of that here. But, I can add the following:
The first time we heard the phrase “Ecce Homo” in relation to EWBAITE was at the June 2015 Nerd night when Rivers told @thenest
the nest said: ↑ in the middle of this conversation about "Everybody Needs Salvation", Rivers told me that the original working title for EWBAITE was going to be "Ecce Homo" - which he said in latin means "Behold the Man!"
We then received the following information:
justsomegohi said: ↑ Rivers said "Cleopatra" or "Ain't Got Nobody" were the first songs he wrote for Everything Will Be Alright in the End (I think he even implied they were written while he was on the Weezer cruise...)so it looks to me like the opposite is true. He started out this album writing songs by himself and then started co-writing later on for some reason.
Fall 2011 saw the recording of songs like Ain’t Got Nobody and Cleopatra. In January 2012, Weezer embarked on the first cruise which brought hardcore fans closer to the band than ever before. Rivers mentioned in interviews around EWBAITE that it was the cruise that led him to go back to that “Classic Weezer” sound.
What we know about Ecce Homo:
- Did not contain any co-writes
- Was pretty dark
- Had completed album art
- Track list was interspersed with instrumentals.
Ecce Homo Track List
- Unreleased Instrumental
- The Rules of Life
- The British Are Coming
- Unreleased Instrumental
- Ain't Got Nobody
- The Waste Land
- Everybody Needs Salvation
- Resurgam Fidei (Later became Return to Ithaka)
Also part of Ecce Homo was the song “Gravity Will Bring You Down," but its position in the tracklist is unknown.
I have spoken to multiple people who had listening parties. I have not spoken to anyone who heard Ecce Homo. The only confirmation we have that the album was ever titled that is from Rivers Cuomo himself. I even received one tip that specifically said “That wasn’t even one of the proposed titles.”
BUT, my research has also found that listening parties didn’t start in earnest until Fall of 2012, at which point Ecce Homo may have been abandoned, just as the Sea Opera was abandoned.
What seems to be the case, however, is that Ecce Homo had a more linear theme than EWBAITE that focused on historical figures and Rivers Cuomo’s relation to them. Starting with Rules of Life, Cuomo laments to his daughter that there are certain rules you have to follow if you want to go down in history. But, the song turns dark as he teaches that after you follow the rules, “they’ll fuck you.” The concept album then follows historical figures, with songs focusing on the Hindenburg (which went down in flames), Paul Revere trying to protect the new country from the old rulers, Cleopatra, and even Cuomo comparing himself to Christ (who was crucified). The title, Ecce Homo, means Behold the Man, which could be Cuomo saying these songs are what make up his personality. A sort of “This is what I am on paper.”
Anonymous was tested out from early 2012 to its eventual release on EWBAITE. During this time, it went from a “sprawling” 6 minute “epic,” to a truncated version that barely resembled itself. At some point, it also mutated into Up In The Clouds, which cribbed the chorus from Anonymous. The song was originally Anonymous, morphed into My Mystery for a time, but went back to Anonymous before its release. Some lyrics from one version of Anonymous:
I don’t want to call you Jesus I don’t want to call you Buddha I don’t want to call you Muhammad I don't even know your name No, I don't know the words to say So I call you Anonymous
The theme of Ecce Homo will later be adapted into the Patriarcha section of EWBAITE.
Listening Parties (Fall 2012-Fall 2013)
“I must have listened to over 200 songs for this record and rated them” - Brian Bell
When I did my listening party in mid-2014, I asked Karl how long they had been going on. His response was “if this was something that was done more than once, it has been going on for a while.” The feeling I got from that conversation was that the Listening Parties were started at the behest of Rivers. Further tips submitted over the past few days have confirmed that these parties went all the way back to Fall 2012. But, when they started, Ecce Homo was nowhere to be found.
The initial listening parties seemed to include demos from all different time periods. Some listeners reported hearing lost and long requested gems like East Coast Vs West Coast (Red Era), Bottle of Wine Song and Superman (1992), I’ve Thrown It All Away (1993) and 80s Prom Night (written at the first Weezer Cruise).
During Nerd Night III, MartinTheWarrior was told the following:
martinthewarrior said: ↑ Two facts (These may very well have already been posted, but out of reverence for my old weezer hard core days, here they are anyway) 1. They are on Universal now 2. There is a lot of co-writing going on, and it's of the top 40 variety. No sea opera, unless there is a change of heart before January. Excited anyhow. Hope it ends up good.
This information is verified by sources who attended listening parties. The random demos from the past made way to current songs that were tied to a potential self titled color album (I’ve heard Purple and Black tossed around).
Songs from this self-titled album would’ve included:
- I Need Some of That - “I need some of that. She was riding her 10 speed. Need some of that. She’s just what I need. Need some of that. With her long hair flowing and her bronze skin glowing. She is where its at.” Ended up as Where The Wind Blows on the second S&R album (thanks @Ammar)
- No Bars - A song utilizing solely cell phone metaphors for a relationship
- Guy With An Eye was presumably one of these songs
The songs from this period were, according to most accounts, pretty bad. This may have caused Rivers to course correct back to concept albums. A new concept started appearing titled Odysseus at times and The Wastelands at others, that seems to be a remade Ecce Homo. It took some of the original Ecce Homo songs (like Resurgam Fidei, now titled Return to Ithaka) but mixed them with co-written songs that had popped up. I’m unclear how Odysseus differed from the next stage in EWBAITE’s progression, Everything Will Be Alright In The End Except You Die.
Everything Will Be Alright In The End Except You Die (November 2013 – Fall 2014)
By November of 2013, a concept started to take shape that blended all of the previous efforts together. It combined the rock band aspect of Sea Opera, the historical narrative of Ecce Homo, and the co-writes of the proposed self titled albums.
Songs included in this phase:
- Rest In Peace
- When We Were Young (Original closer for EWBAITE, pretty good)
- Weekend Girl
- My Guitar - Cool chorus, and a theme of the “monster inside” and killing the monster with “My Guitar.” But verses were “very maladroit.” It sounded like a song for his daughter wherein the band would kill the monsters.
- Flight Plans
- Looking For A Fight
- Rules of Life
- Shining Star / The Band We Love - Early version of Eulogy. Featured portions of Kurt Cobain’s suicide note in the bridge.
- Send Her To Heaven
As the listening parties progressed, Everything Will Be Alright In The End took shape. Eventually, listening party attendees were rating the artwork, potential music video ideas, and even stage set ups for the impending tour.
Other notable songs:
- I Want To Autotune My Face
- Hyde - Rivers discussing his wife with a therapist. Discusses how she can be so nice, but also be a complete monster. Screams in the song “She’s a fucking murderer.”
- Up In The Clouds
- Let’s Go To The 44th Dimension - Remake of Everybody Needs Salvation
- Exonerate Me
- Up In The Clouds
- Expatriates In Paris (described by one as one of the greatest songs of this period)
- Co Dependant - Eventually became Girl We Got A Good Thing
- Cyclone - Eventually released on Scott And Rivers second album
Last note: I spoke to multiple people who said “We got the best songs.” There are some songs that people are sad are gone (Rules of Life being the biggest, but also My Guitar, Flight Plans, and others). But, ultimately, the songs that made it to EWBAITE were considered the cream of the crop. Unfortunately, by all accounts, the production on the early EWBAITE demos brought something that was missing from the final product. Also, Rivers meddling may have made some songs suffer from their initial incarnations.
Ecce Homo may be a lost gem, but there is too little information to truly know. What seems irrefutable is that there are a number of demos, between 20-40, that includes early versions of EWBAITE songs, studio demos of The Sea Opera, and other 2010-2014 songs that could compromise the pinnacle of not only Post Pinkerton Weezer, but some of the greatest songwriting in Rivers Cuomo’s career. And these songs, after being played for a limited number of fans, have been banished to the vaults.