The Toronto Star article - November 28, 1994

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Print interview with Rivers Cuomo
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Publication The Toronto Star
Interviewee Rivers Cuomo
Interviewer Lenny Stoute
Date November 28, 1994
Title Out of the garage, into the charts
Sub-title The band Weezer at the Opera House tonight
Format Print
External link Archive via
Associated concert Weezer concert: 11/28/1994
References See where this interview is referenced on Weezerpedia

Out of the garage, into the charts
Author: Lenny Stoute (The Toronto Star)
Published: November 28, 1994

The band Weezer at the Opera House tonight

Some people achieve success, others have it thrown at them.

Then there's Rivers Cuomo, who arrived at his by a route somewhere in between. It's a trip that's left the 24 year old bemused, bothered and not at all besotted by the trappings of rock 'n' roll.

"Whatever adolescent rock 'n' roll fantasies I had are long gone. I don't want to sleep with a different girl every night, I don't do cocaine and only drink in self-defence. I'm not getting much out of it, I guess."

Cuomo writes and sings the songs that have pushed the band Weezer to prominence on the pop charts. Weezer arrives at the Opera House tonight as part of the third tour since last May's release of the band's self-titled major label debut.

"Touring's a necessary evil and mostly a pain. Every day a new city, a new hotel which looks the same, all kinds of people that you're obliged to deal with, the ongoing craziness of it. I hate all that."

"I can't write songs on the road, so that's another drag about touring. I guess I'm only here to support the album. It's part of the deal; you make the album, you have to go out and support it."

"The actual playing's the only neat thing; sometimes, we're flat and it doesn't happen. Or the audience is not into it and the gig doesn't happen. But mostly, we put on a strong show and we play the tunes just like they are on the album, but with more passion."

Cuomo delivers "passion" in a funereal tone reminiscent of Buster Keaton's. That's about the pitch of the conversation all along, so it's inquired if our boy's having a bad day.

"Oh no. I guess I don't have the brightest outlook. Actually, I'm surprised they gave you me. Usually, Matt (Sharp, bassist) does the interviews because he has a brighter outlook. I'm excited about the songwriting, I'm excited about the playing sometimes. A lot of the time I'm numb about the whole thing. I dunno that I would tour if I didn't have to. Next year we're going to Europe and that should be different, so I'm kind of excited about that."

But we don't really hit a wellspring of excitement, well, for this guy anyway, until we talk about the album. Recorded in a hectic two month stay in New York, under the popmeister wing of Ric Ocasek, it's an uneven but forceful and engaging reworking of pop's purest intents.

"It more than met my expectations, because my expectations were low. Most people usually hate their first album, so I was thinking it'll probably suck. It was a relief that it didn't totally suck. There are a few places where we lose the drive of the sessions and it sort of goes flat. Mostly, it sounds like a damm good album and I'm not sick of it yet."

"As to how well it did, that was a total surprise. I knew we were a good band; I just didn't know how many people would get what we're doing. It's more of a relief that they do. Means we can carry on."

"I've always admired The Cars and Ric Ocasek's songwriting and production skills. I wasn't worried about him handling the band's heavier side. He'd produced Bad Brains and they're a lot heavier than us."

"As usual, when we sent him the tape, I figured we'd never hear from him. What's he want with this scruffy little band? He must get hundreds of tapes. He got right back to us, he liked what he heard and at that stage, enthusiasm was what he brought to the project."

"Overall, he took the sound out of the garage and into the 24-track studio. We had this thing about making it sound underground and it kept coming out messy. Ric cleaned it up, added highlights and punch. And a hell of a lot of encouragement and little suggestions."

See also