Matt Sharp -- former bassist for Weezer and mastermind of the Rentals -- is planning an acoustic tour with former Cake guitarist Greg Brown. Kicking off Sept. 9 at the tiny 92-seat Tamarind Theatre in

Matt Sharp -- former bassist for Weezer and mastermind of the Rentals -- is planning an acoustic tour with former Cake guitarist Greg Brown. Kicking off Sept. 5 at the tiny 92-seat Tamarind Theatre in Hollywood, Calif., the tour will find Sharp showcasing new material, as well as performing stripped-down versions of Rentals favorites in small capacity venues.

During a self-imposed winter isolation in the small town of Leipers Fork, Tenn., Sharp eschewed the hook-laden new-wave pop of his previous groups to create what he tells Billboard.com is "a collection of very sparse, slow, acoustic songs and ambient music." He tapped Brown to help him flesh out the sound of the recently completed project, which he hopes to release as an album sometime early next year on an as yet undetermined label.

"I have been chasing [Brown] for a while and I am totally humbled by his contribution," says Sharp, who exited Weezer in early 1998. "To me Greg is one of the great guitarists out there in the world. To me he is the American Johnny Marr," he says, referring to the critically adored former guitarist of the Smiths.

"Essentially this tour, which is really a last minute thing, is a way for Greg and I to bring the new record to directly to those who have been the most loyal and stuck by us while we've both been out of the spotlight," Sharp says. Since leaving Cake in the late 1990s, Brown has remained low key, releasing one album with fellow former Cake member Victor Damiani (guitar) in 2000 via the now defunct Capricorn label under the Deathray moniker.

At deadline, the full scope of the tour was still coming together, with only gigs in Hollywood, San Diego (Sept. 14, Epicenter), Austin, Texas (Sept. 18, Emo's), Atlanta (Sept. 21, the Earl), and New York (Sept. 29, Cutting Room) confirmed. Other stops in Nashville, Louisville, Ky., Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Minneapolis are still pending.

Each show will open with a "listening party" atmosphere where a few of the new songs will be previewed before the duo hits the stage. "It's kind of a way for us to meet with [fans] and say thanks for their patience and support." As for the performances, Sharp says he and Brown will "have the audience sit on stage with us or we'll sit on the floor with them and just we try to keep the shows as intimate and honest as possible."

In addition, Sharp's official Web sites mattsharp.net and overlee.com will offer an area for those attending the shows to give reviews of performances and album tracks. The former site currently boasts a poll asking for fans to vote on what Rentals song they would most like to hear in an acoustic setting.

Sharp released two albums on Maverick with the Rentals, a group he formed with Weezer drummer Pat Wilson, that dog. violinist Petra Haden, vocalist/keyboardist Cherielynn Westrich, and guitarist Rod Cervera. The first, "Return of the Rentals" was issued in 1996 during a break from Weezer and featured the single "Friends of P." The cut reached No. 7 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart and No. 82 on the Hot 100, while the album peaked at No. 19 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. The band's 1999 follow-up, "Seven More Minutes," topped out at No. 29 on the Heatseekers tally.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print