What Magazine interview with Matt Sharp - August 6, 1995
Happy Days Are Here Again
Sales might be the most obvious indicator of how popular your band has become, but who cares if you're busting your chops on the road every night, unable to enjoy the money? Then there's the absorbing eye-opener that you don't even see any money until a) the record company is paid off and b) the royalties start trickling in.
But there are other, cooler feathers in a band's cap. Letterman is one. Rolling Stone is another. Seeing your CD racked in a truck stop counts too. Or in the case of L.A.'s Weezer, there's testing out the rock cliches and finding out they actually work.
"When you're touring I don't think you really notice any growth," says bassist Matt Sharp. "You don't listen to the radio so you don't have any sense of your record getting big. And the touring is always the same, for us at least. We go out and we play our record and we leave."
Lead vocalist/guitarist Rivers Cuomo doesn't exude a rock star presence, let alone the rest of the seemingly square Weezer, guitarist Brian Bell and drummer Patrick Wilson. Just note the cover of the band's self-titled Geffen debut; four shoulders-back, collars-out guys standing in a row like they're honoring the national anthem. Or check out their role in the "Buddy Holly" Happy Days cut-and-paste video. Therein lies Weezer's sense of humor. So when Weezer calls out to the audience, "Hello Toronto!" or Cleveland, wherever, it's meant tongue-in-cheek.
"You get bored if you play the same set all the time," admits Sharp. "So occasionally we do it but it's so obvious that it's a joke. I hope people understand. It started in Chicago. We played our first headlining show and the crowd was pretty insane. And all of a sudden Rivers goes (high voice) 'Let me hear you Chicago!' and we hear 'WHOOSH...RRRROAR.' We were like, 'Oh, my God that works!' It was so funny, we did it another 30 times.
"In Arizona we split the crowd," he recounts with amazement. "One side I did... I can't remember what the hell it was... that rock cliche thing like '1,2,3,' say some word. And we do the right side and then the left side and see which one is better. We'd do it back and forth and then say the right side won. It was just retarded stuff, but it's actually pretty funny when you realize these things work. And it actually makes everybody feel pretty great."