The Indianapolis Star article - August 11, 1995

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Print interview with Patrick Wilson
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Publication The Indianapolis Star
Interviewee Patrick Wilson
Interviewer Marc D. Allan
Date August 11, 1995
Title 'Happy Days' are here again in Weezer video
Format Print
External link Via Newspapers.com (part 1)
Via Newspapers.com (part 2)
Associated concert Weezer concert: 08/12/1995
References See where this interview is referenced on Weezerpedia

'Happy Days' are here again in Weezer video
Author: Patrick Wilson (The Indianapolis Star)
Published: August 11, 1995


Of all the gigs the rock group Weezer will ever play, none will be more important than its one-song performance of Buddy Holly at Arnold's, the restaurant from TV's Happy Days. It may be the most attention-grabbing music video ever made.

While Weezer plays and girls in poodle skirts dance with boys with slicked-back hair, Fonzie, Richie and the Happy Days gang look on approvingly. The band members seem to be looking right back - a '90s group in a '70s TV show about the '50s. (Weezer performs at Deer Creek Music Center on Saturday as part of the WRZX-FM (103.3) X-fest.)

"Spike Jonze (the video director) called us up and said, 'I have the best idea of all time," "Weezer drummer Pat Wilson says. "He explained it to us, and we thought it was really cool.

"We recreated the set of Arnold's pretty accurately and used almost all the same camera angles and editing techniques from the original Happy Days. We bought a couple of minutes of old footage, little scenes here and there, and when you intersperse them with the filming we did, it's pretty amazing."

They hired actor Al Molinaro to reprise his role as the proprietor of the Happy Days hangout, filmed with a special filter to make their newly shot footage match the vintage clips, and came up with a hit video for a relatively paltry $100,000.

But as memorable as the video is, it's Weezer's music that keeps people coming back.

Appreciates the oldies

Weezer's self-titled debut disc shows an affection for '50s-'60s pop music and updates it for the '90s. It's the Beach Boys with grungy guitars. Earth Angel crossed with Smells Like Teen Spirit.

"In the '50s and '60s, there was a lot more emphasis on melody, especially with the Beatles and Beach Boys." Wilson says. "But even cheesy singles from the '50s had something you could remember."

Coupled with those melodies are singer/guitarist/songwriter Rivers Cuomo's lyrics about love, jealousy and heartbreak.

All this has come together in three years since the group formed in Los Angeles. In a little more than a year, Weezer had signed with Geffen Records and recorded its first disc with ex-Cars guitarist Ric Ocasek as producer.

"We were really smart to get Ric, because obviously he's made tons of records," Wilson says. "He got us a good engineer and put the mikes up and got some good sounds. We knew how to play the songs, we knew how to arrange songs, but we weren't familiar with a big studio recording experience."

They've been on the road since May 1994 promoting the disc, which has sold more than 1 million copies and spent 50 weeks on Billboard's Top 200 album chart. (It was No. 61 and rising - again - earlier this week.).

Time away from each other

When the tour finally ends, they'll record the followup to Weezer, then go their separate ways for a while. Wilson, Cuomo, bassist Matt Sharp and guitarist Brian Bell have, or are putting together, their own groups as outlets for their songwriting. Sharp's band, the Rentals, will release its debut disc on Madonna's Maverick Records label.

"There's just not enough room in Weezer for four songwriters." Wilson says. "It's not like the Beatles, even though, ideally, it could be like that. But it seems like in today's world, you need a really focused product to give to people so they can grasp it."

Wilson will sing and play guitar in his solo band, which also will include a friend from Junior high school on drums. They'll be auditioning bass players.

"I would feel stifled if I had to do this" meaning Weezer - "365-24-7," he says. "But I'm pretty thankful for all the success we've had."

Dial-a-song

  • To hear music by Weezer, call The Star's InfoLine service. On a push-button phone, call (317) 624-4636 and press 4002.