I first got Weezer’s The Blue Album sometime in December of 1994. I was already a fan, having heard and enjoyed both Undone and Buddy Holly earlier that fall. But listening to the CD was an eye (or ear) opening experience. Opener My Name Is Jonas was a solid melodic rocker. The second song on the album was even better.
No One Else sounded like the perfect rock song. At first listen, I knew an album with songs like this, Buddy Holly and Undone was special. And I was right- the rest of the album was great. All these years later, No One Else is still electrifying.
The reason I’m writing about this today is that 19 years ago today, Weezer first played No One Else during a show at the Coconut Teaszer in LA. As Karl Koch explains in the Weezer Recording History:
Unfortunately no recording has turned up for this show, which was in my opinion , a turning point for the band. They played tighter than ever before, had a better sound, and (after internal debate) debuted “No One Else”, a song that started to steer the band in a previously invisible direction.
A few years back, I e-mailed Karl to ask what he meant about the debate and new direction. Karl replied; “Rather than sticking with a heavy Pixies-influenced sound, “No One Else” was one of the first songs to have the band wondering whether they were going in a “‘pop’, [or] too ‘commericial’ sounding” direction.
It is easy to see a slight Pixies influence (and a much heavier one in the band’s earliest demos) in Weezer’s material. But while that influence is still there, Weezer is much more melodic and pop-friendly than the Pixies.
(I always got a kick out of that unofficial video)
No One Else was played regularly by the band through 2002. My favorite live version of it comes from the summer of 2000, where for a few shows, they began the song with an extended intro. I was lucky enough to be at one of those performances and later get a recording. Even though the quality is suspect, you still get an idea of the intro in from this recording of the Cleveland ’00 show.
No One Else was eventually shuffled out of the band’s playlists in favor of singles and more current songs (although it has enjoyed a bit of a comeback during the Memories Tour). Even though it’s no longer in the band’s current repertoire, it’s nice to know they made the right choice all those years ago on September 15 at the Teaszer.