Washington Times interview with Matt Sharp - November 30, 1995

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Nerd's Revenge: His Own Band

By Rob Runett and Gerald Mizejewski

When the trendy nerds of the platinum anti-pop group Weezer went on hiatus last year, bassist Matt Sharp went off to start his own band so he could create music that pleased only him.

It wasn't supposed to be popular.

The debut album of The Rentals—Return of the Rentals—has squealing synthesizers, buzzing guitars, technicolored harmonies and elegant violins built upon a base of strong, hard-rock bass. It has even spawned a Top 10 modern rock single, "Friends of P," a throwback to the age of new-wave L.A. rock, which is characteristic of the rest of the songs on the album.

This side project, however, was "not just a little side project," Mr. Sharp says. "I have lost far too much sleep during the writing, recording and mixing of this record for it to be called that."

The band, which performs at the 9:30 Club on Tuesday, is made up of semi-all-stars from other L.A. groups, including Weezer drummer Pat Wilson and That Dog's violinist Petra Haden.

Content for the spunky, Devo-sounding tunes is based on Mr. Sharp's love for the Moog keyboard and his desire to express his feelings about family, friends and relationships.

"They may not be the most original lyrical themes, but at least [these songs] were written honestly," the straight-faced singer-bassist says.

Overall, it's harmless, disposable fun.