Rivers Cuomo says Weezer’s “growing canon of material” is partly responsible for the retrospective turn he’s taken with his “Alone” series, next month’s release of the “Pinkerton — Deluxe Edition” and the compilation “Death to False Metal.”
“It does feel as we get older we have this growing canon of material, and it’s part of our lives and…there’s no getting away from it,” Cuomo tells Billboard.com. “It’s hard to add to it because it just becomes more impressive as time goes on…and I guess naturally we find that we spend more of our time and energy doing retrospective projects. Luckily I’m a very open-minded artist and I like to go wtih the flow and really go with what our audience wants to hear.”
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The irony, of course, is that Weezer’s audience, as well as critics, decidedly did not want to hear the dour “Pinkerton” when it was released in 1996, on the heels of Weezer’s more immediately accessible, triple-platinum 1994 debut album. Cuomo notes that “Pinkerton” was a reaction to its predecessor — “I felt like I was saying, ‘OK world, here’s the truth. Here’s what I’m really like,’ ” he explains — but he’s gratified by the more positive, revisionist view that’s grown over the years and hopes the deluxe set, which sports 25 demos, outtakes and live tracks, further cements “Pinkerton’s” reputation. “The intent of this particular project is to give our fans an opportunity to really hear what it was like in the studio in 1996,” he explains.
“Death to False Metal,” however, was a “different” proposition, as the band gathered ten tracks, including a cover of Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart,” that Cuomo says were “finished but didn’t belong on a record.” The tracks were subsequently retouched by the current Weezer lineup to become “the album that should logically follow ‘Hurley,’ ” the group’s latest release.
“It was extremely fun and easy,” Cuomo said, “because there’s all this material I loved, and it felt like the bulk of the work was already done and I got to go in…with a totally different perspective. It was easy to figure out, ‘Oh, there’s obviously supposed to be a solo there, so I’ll just edit that in,’ or, ‘That lyric was wrong’ or ‘Let me put a harmony there.'”
Weezer’s retrospective course will continue into November, with the release of a third “Alone” album — which Cuomo said will include more tracks from the “lost” pre-“Pinkerton” concept album, “Songs From the Black Hole” — and the publication of “The Pinkerton Diaries,” which compiles Cuomo’s journals, emails, letters and Harvard papers from 1994-97, “so you can get an inside look at exactly what I was thinking.”
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Weezer is also prepping for its five-city Memories Tour, which begins Nov. 26 in Universal City, Calif., and will feature two-night residencies during which the band will play the first “Weezer” album (aka the “Blue” album) and “Pinkerton” in sequence along with other material.
“Our core audience is always clamoring for more ‘Pinkerton’ and more ‘Blue’ album,” Cuomo notes, “so why not do a handful of these shows in select markets? A lot of them weren’t old enough to see those songs when we were originally playing them in the mid-90s, so we think it’ll be a real exciting event for them.”
Cuomo added that “there won’t be any replication from night to night” save for “Memories,” the single from the “Hurley” album.
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Weezer is also performing at the Voodoo Experience Festival on Oct. 29 in New Orleans and Oct. 30 in Atlanta, but beyond the Memories Tour, Cuomo said he and his bandmates “definitely don’t have any extensive touring on the books.” They are, however, working on Weezer’s 10th studio album, which is expected out in 2011 and which Cuomo says will likely veer away from publicity-courting stunts such as the “Pork and Beans” video and the album cover of “Lost” star Jorge “Hurley” Garcia.
“We’re getting a lot of criticism for that,” Cuomo acknowledged. “I think we’re taking that to heart, and I think we’re going to be more careful in the future about making sure there’s a healthier balance between being known for music with a strong intention, and then something occasionally outrageous to just remind the mainstream that we exist.”