Weezer’s Pinkerton Deluxe: Putting The Puzzle Together

UPDATES

October 2010: Looking for Tragic Girl? Click here.

September, 2010: A Japanese Web site posted a possible tracklist, view it here.

February, 2010: There’s an update to this post here.

Back in 2004, Geffen released a deluxe edition of Weezer’s debut album, 1994’s Weezer (the Blue Album). It was a nice two-disc set, with disc one being the album itself and disc two containing the associated B-sides, some demos, live versions and two previously-unheard songs.

Fans enjoyed Blue deluxe, but from the moment it was issued, also started clamoring for a deluxe edition of Blue’s follow-up, 1996’s Pinkerton. And with good reason, as not only does Pinkerton have a number of “how did they leave these off the album” B-sides, but a whole craze devoted to Songs From The Black Hole, discarded material from Pinkerton’s earliest incarnation.

Earlier this year, the band announced that a Pinkerton Deluxe was in the works. Going off of the model of Blue Deluxe, most fans expected a similar two-disc set, with the album on one disc, and disc two containing demos, B-sides, live versions, and if the band was feeling charitable, some unused SFTBH material.

That would have made fans very happy. But earlier this summer, Popular Sounds, a fan blog, claimed much more was on the way for Pinkerton Deluxe:

Coming from an e-mail of vague provinence, I was informed that Pinkerton [Deluxe] will have a total of 43 tracks spanning 2 discs! The source confirmed that Disc 1 is 21 tracks, while Disc 2 is 22 tracks, one of which is a Weezer song no one has ever heard of called “Tragic Girl.” Quick, go look up Rivers’ COR, it ain’t on there. Folks, Pinkerton [Deluxe] is going to be HUGE.

There was a lot of skepticism surrounding these claims. There is no reference to a “Tragic Girl” in either Weezer.com’s Recording History or Rivers Cuomo’s Catalog of Riffs, the two indisputable sources of Weezer and Cuomo’s pre-2005 recording activity. There were some whispers on fan boards that the claims weren’t totally wrong, but the band was quiet about Pinkerton Deluxe, until this week, when the band’s twitter carried the news that the band was in the studio reviewing material for the deluxe album. Adding further intrigue was the confirmation of the Tragic Girl rumor, when without any prompting, Rivers tweeted:

“Tragic Girl” is going to be like “You Know You’re Right” for Pinkerton fans.

With the man behind Weezer confirming the existence of such a song, maybe this 43-track myth has some basis in reality after all.

So other than the ten songs that made up Pinkerton and Tragic Girl, what else will be on those two discs? They have to throw on the official Pinkerton B-sides, Waiting on You, You Gave Your Love To Me Softly, Devotion and I Just Threw Out the Love of My Dreams. A few acoustic versions of Blue and Pinkerton songs also made it as Pinkerton-era B-sides. Another possibility is Getting Up and Leaving, a song the band recorded but never released.

Even adding some of Rivers’ demos of Pinkerton songs, the track count just cracks 20, so it’s likely (if the 43-track item is true) that a number of full-band Songs From the Black Hole will finally make it out of the vaults.

(For those of you who don’t know, Cuomo’s original plan for Weezer’s second album was SFTBH, an ambitious rock opera with a storyline paralleling the band’s rise to fame and life on the road. SFTBH morphed into Pinkerton after the rejection of the rock opera idea, Rivers’ solitary first semester at Harvard and the release of then-bassist Matt Sharp’s first Rentals album).

Some of Cuomo’s original SFTBH demos have made it out on his Alone Series.  But fans have never heard the full-band versions, which Weezer recorded in the fall of ’95 before switching to the Pinkerton concept in the winter and spring of 96.  Going through the Recording history, the following songs got full-band treatment and have not been officially released:

  • Blast Off!
  • Superfriend
  • Longtime Sunshine
  • Longtime sunshine: Special ‘coda’ version experiment

Additionally, the band rehearsed versions of these and other songs which were never released.

In the later Pinkerton sessions, which took place in the summer of ’96, they also recorded I Swear It’s True (an earlier version of which was released on Blue Deluxe) and the aforementioned Getting Up and Leaving.  The band finished these with a different bassist the next summer, but because they were being held for a Pink Triangle retail single which was never released, these versions of these songs are also unheard.

Unlikely to make the album are Rivers’ demos from this era.  Most of Rivers’ demos have been held back for his Alone series, and going by the Recording History, it looks as if all the band recorded during this time was the material that comprised Pinkerton.

(Although, as an aside, it would be interesting if Weezer attempted recording two other songs Rivers wrote during this period, Sheila Can Do [It] and Sunshine O, two upbeat songs which Rivers wrote in between Pinkerton favorites The Good Life and Falling For You.  Both Sheila and Sunshine (which some fans believe to be about werewolves) were played during Rivers’ solo shows in Boston in 1997, and an excellent version of Sheila Can Do [It] is featured on HOMiE Volume 1, the greatest fan cover album of all time.  And neither song seems to fit in the emotional dimension the rest of Pinkerton inhabits).

Some online retailers have posted that Pinkerton Deluxe will go on sale next February, so we should get an idea of the real tracklist sometime soon.  Even if it’s not going to be 43 tracks, there’s still a lot out there that fans want to hear and hopefully, we’ll finally get them.

And once Weezer fans figure that out, then speculation can begin as to what will be featured on Weezer’s upcoming rarities album Odds and Ends.

10 thoughts on “Weezer’s Pinkerton Deluxe: Putting The Puzzle Together”

  1. Looks like Odds and Ends will be out first. Seeing as how the recording history is 10+ pages , I bet there’s a lot of material they can pick from. The final tracklist wont make everyone happy.

  2. Screams: I think if fans haven’t already revolted, a Maladroit Deluxe would leave the band with one or two fans left. Besides, they pretty much released all the Maladroit Sessions during the recording process.

    mtb: If they want to do Odds and Ends right, it’d be a 10-CD box set with a couple of hundred songs. Or just release them all online and let people pay for the songs they want to hear. But who said record companies ever did anything that made sense?

  3. Ooooooo, I didn’t know about this. How exciting.

    That’s a heck of a lot of songs, though. All I’d heard about was Odds and Ends, but if they’re releasing more, then that’s great news.

  4. One of the things about Weezer I enjoy is that as much as fans have to look forward to the future, there’s always material from the past that even if it’s unreleased, still has the potential to be really good music.

    If you were to ask me ten years ago (just when we started getting wind of all the unheard material) if I thought we’d ever hear this stuff, I would have said no. But a few years ago, they slowly started putting it out there, and now they’re doing it with the label’s approval, which, while there’s a cost involved, is probably the optimal situation for everyone involved.

  5. correction: it’s not a “fan” blog, I just happened to write about Weezer, and interview Karl Koch. Which, btw, was called the “best weezer related piece in a decade.” good day.

  6. PS (if you’re still out there) – I meant fan blog in the sense that it was a non-industry blog (which doesn’t even exist anymore). The “best weezer related piece in a decade” claim is quite interesting. I’ve never heard this particular acclaim awarded before. Maybe your now-extinct article was so good, you had to remove it from the Internet?

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