Late last year, as Rivers Cuomo and Scott Shriner sat with Billboard backstage at Los Angeles’ Forum at KROQ’s Almost Acoustic Xmas, Cuomo thumbed through a program and found a picture of himself from exactly 20 years earlier, when Weezer played the ’94 version of the show.
“I remember ’94: I was really depressed, I had a sore throat, overworked, it was probably the last show of the season. I remember sitting in my hotel in the San Fernando Valley totally freaked out and scared and depressed,” Cuomo recalled of that gig.
Two decades older, Cuomo is much more comfortable with himself and his band’s role in the music pantheon.
“Yeah, now we’re super excited to play the new songs, get in front of our audience, see all these other cool bands and we know this is what our life is,” he said. “We’re gonna do this year after year, there’s not so much stress about it.”
The unexpected then-and-now look at both Cuomo and Weezer, prompted by the photo in the booklet, was incredibly apt, it turns out, as the group’s Everything Will Be Alright in the End album was heavily influenced by that 1994 self-titled debut album.
“A few years ago we did something called the ‘Memories Tour,’ where we played our first two albums front to back, and we went out of there straight into studio to start writing and working on the new album, and those very old albums for us had a very big influence on us today, how we made this new album,” Cuomo said.
Looking at specific moments on Everything Will Be Alright in the End where the band hears the early days of Weezer, Shriner says some of the influences are clear, others not as much.
“There are obvious things where we hired the producer that made our first album, but then I’d say half of it is very classic, traditional Weezer sound,” he said. “Of course we’re doing some crazy new experiments too, but overall it’s much more grounded in our roots.”
The group delved into the new album on stage during some intimate shows late in 2014, playing the album from start to finish in small venues. “It’s just all those people that already love the album, that’s what they’re there for, and it’s just an incredible experience to play that much new music at this point,” Shriner said.
While the group only has one 2015 date announced, playing Santa Ana, Calif.’s very intimate Observatory as part of the two-day Burgerama 4 lineup (March 28 and 29), which also includes Ty Segall, the Black Lips, Jeff the Brotherhood, Gang of Four, Roky Erickson and much more, expect a very active 2015 touring year for Weezer.
“We’re looking forward to traveling next year and bringing our new songs and new record to different towns. Keep your eyes open for the Weezer tour,” Shriner said.
After wrapping 2014 as part of many multi-act bills, Cuomo wants Weezer to do their own tour. “I’d like to do a proper Weezer headlining tour rather than co-headlining or just festivals,” he said. “I want to celebrate all the different phases we’ve gone through and focus on the new record.”