Weezer in the Rain

I found out something important last week. If concert tickets say ‘Rain or Shine,’ that means the concert will take place outside.

Also, that means there will be rain.

Last Friday, I saw my 12th Weezer concert outside the casino in Cincinnati (the outdoor concert was across the street from the county jail). The Civee graciously accompanied me despite the rain, which started as the opening band (Cincinnati’s Daap Girls) got their set underway. The Daap Girls weren’t the worst Weezer opening band I saw, nor were they the least memorable, so that’s a bonus. Although, the most entertaining part of the Daap Girls set was the dancing of the world’s biggest Daap Girls fan who was standing next to me. The rain let up for a bit before Weezer got started, but ramped back up to torrential levels about four songs in.


Even with the rain, I enjoyed the show. The set list was along the lines of the greatest hits set they’ve been playing lately (don’t they have a new album they should be working on?) with the addition of No One Else, which was great to hear. They sounded good, and changed up arrangements on some of the songs, including (If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To. Plus, they played No One Else.

Something different about this show- the crowd felt older. A lot of the people around us were talking about their kids. There was a family right in front of us, with two kids who looked to be about eight or nine. Seeing that made me think that I may be able to bring Hope to the next show, although I may not be able to get as close as I did Friday night.

Even though we was soaked by the end of the show (more accurately, soaked after standing there for 10 minutes), it was a fun show. The outdoor area of a casino across the street from a county jail made the location interesting. And while I could have done without the rain, it was certainly a memorable show.

Ten Awesome Weezer Songs You’ve Probably Never Heard

Weezer’s first album came out 18 years ago last month. Since then, they’ve released eight (or nine, depending on who you talk to) more, along with a plethora of b-sides and other songs that never even made it to an album.

I’ve written before about the large amount of material the band has produced but never released. But there’s a whole other category of Weezer song I’ve never really written about before: those songs that never made it to an official release (album, compilation, b-side or official digital companion) that somehow ended up in the hands of the fans.

Ten years ago, while working on their fourth album, Maladroit, Weezer put multiple versions of each album contender up on their Website for the fans to download. But they didn’t stop there- they also uploaded early versions of their fifth album demos (which never made it to an official release) and lead singer Rivers Cuomo shared many of his home demos with fans.

The reaction to the songs being shared was mixed. Fans debated the quality of the material, but most appreciated the chance to hear the songs throughout their development. To those who became fans after the Maladroit era, many of these (and other unreleased material) remains a surprise. And that’s the point of this list, to look at a number of Weezer songs that haven’t been “officially” released but are readily available.

In addition to the list above, I’m not counting Rivers’ solo demos or songs from his Boston shows (that’s what the Alone series is for). Nor am I counting early versions of songs that ended up on an album (if I were, the “doo-doo-doo-doo” Burndt Jamb and If You Want It would be on the list). Most of these songs were recorded between 2001 and 2002. That era is so heavily represented because that’s the source of most of the unreleased songs. Also, I’m relying on YouTube here, and the only available versions of these songs are from concerts, so I apologize in advance for the quality.

Here we go: Ten Awesome Weezer Songs You’ve Probably Never Heard (unless you’re a die-hard crazy fan):

10) 367

Put up on Weezer.com sometime in April of 2002, after the Maladroit sessions, but before the album was released. It featured what seemed to be a more personal theme than anything on Maladroit and some great instrumentation. The band would revisit this song later that year, but this is the best version.

9) Everybody Wants a Chance to Feel All Alone

From an acoustic session in the fall of 2002, released along with a version of Private Message (keep reading). The lyrics (seemingly involving choking) are a bit…different.

8) Saturday Night

Recorded with a slew of other songs in the summer of 2001 in Washington, DC, with Mikey on bass. Not sure what the song is about exactly, but it sounds like they’re having fun here. Weezer later attempted this during the Maladroit sessions, but it sounded differently.

7) My Brain is Working Overtime

Yes, a demo version of this song was available on Alone II. But this version is from the summer of 2000. This was one of the first new songs played by the band after coming back from their 1998-2000 hiatus. A poor version of this was available immediately after that first show (which took forever to download back in the days of dialup). Thankfully, better versions still surfaced.

6) The Victor

I can’t find a version of the best take of this song -released along with 367, the song features the same instrumentation and real point of view. Additionally, the April ’02 version started off with a near-minute long instrumental jam. This take, from later on in the year, isn’t as good, but is still pretty decent.

5) Sandwiches Time

Weezer recorded three different versions of this oddly-named tune, in the fall and winter of 2001. One version featured Rivers singing in his normal voice. The other two, well, you can hear for yourself. I also have to mention this is Hope’s favorite Weezer song title.

4) So Low

This goes without saying for all of the songs on this list, but I really think Weezer missed out by not putting So Low on an album. I first heard it at the Detroit show in September ’01 and got chills listening to it. The band played this a bunch of times in the fall of 2001 and then forgot about it. It resurfaced in the summer of ’02, but was changed to Mansion of Cardboard, a song about homelessness, and the magic was gone.

3) O Girl

Another one of the Summer 2000 Songs, or the first batch of Post-Pinkerton new songs. The song is energetic with a crazy (in a good way) chorus. There’s probably a better-sounding version of this out there, but it’s great to see this one being played.

2) Private Message

This is from the same acoustic session as Everybody Wants a Chance to Feel All Alone. This is actually the fourth version of this song we have (but I couldn’t find a video of my favorite, the original from April ’02). Personal lyrics and a great sound here, with the electric version featuring an energy that was only touched upon in the songs that made up Maladroit.

1) Baby

Some would say I’m cheating here. This song is from a show Rivers performed in Boston in January of 1998. However, bandmate Pat Wilson played the drums at this show. Additionally, the band would attempt this song in the spring of ’98 as they tried to get their third album off the ground. This was one of those songs Rivers wrote as a reaction to Pinkerton, a quasi-romantic repetitive song with lyrics that were poetic, but not personal. I’m not sure what this song is about (some interpretations of the lyrics are downright creepy), but I love it.

As I mentioned, most of these were released around 2002 and were recorded during an era where the band shared everything. Even with what we have, there are a number of good songs that didn’t make the list. While they don’t share as much anymore, they have opened up the vaults slightly. Other bands are using digital distribution streams to make money off their unreleased songs. If Weezer ever does the same, I might as well just send them my paychecks directly.

My Test of Wills With a 22-Month-Old

Tonight, I was tested as a parent like never before.

Recently, during dinnertime, Hope has finished eating much quicker than The Civee or I. And she repeatedly lets us know she’s finished. Sometimes she will sit with us as we eat, but many nights, she wants to get out of her chair and play, often asking for us to leave the table and play with her.

The Civee and I usually don’t give in. We’re fine letting her down early, but it’s our goal to finish our meal, hopefully impressing upon her the idea that as a family, we sit together until everyone is done eating. I should probably also mention that one of her favorite commands is “come,” and she will say this as she reaches for our hands to take us somewhere to show us something or to play with us.

Well, tonight, she finished early. And The Civee and I were enjoying our pork chops and conversation, so we let her down. She stood by my chair and looked up at me, grabbing my hand. “Come,” she said. To which I replied, “Hope, I am not done. We will play when mama and dada are done eating.”

She went away and came back after a few moments. Still with a big smile on her face, she looked up at me; “Daddy…come.” This started to weaken my resolve. The Civee and I had always taught her to refer to us as Mama and Dada. I don’t know where she got it from, but within the last week, she’s started calling me Daddy instead of Dada, and it just sounds so cute. But still, I stayed seated and continued my meal.

She pouted a little, went into the living room and came back a minute later. She grabbed at my hand, pointed to the couch with her other hand and said as she smiled and looked into my eyes; “Daddy….come. Watch…..Weezer.”

And there it was. This little girl knows my weak spot. We don’t watch a lot of television with her (and I’m pretty sure that Weezer videos are the only thing she and I watch together), but we do enjoy the many kid-friendly videos Weezer has. The Civee was looking at me too and I knew I had to stay put. I could not give in at this point. I simply said, “Hope, no.”

She started to cry. Which made me want to cry. All because I’m trying to teach her a lesson. We’ve had a great weekend so far, spending a lot of time playing and even taking a trip to COSI while The Civee studied. There will most likely be a time in the future when she won’t want to hang out or want my attention as much as she does now. And as tough as it may be to believe, she may not always want to watch Weezer videos with me.

Still, she does have to learn about mealtime. And I can’t give her the idea that I’m putty in her hands. It’s tough, but I’d like to think that what I did tonight was good for both of us.

It’s Time to Watch the Movie

It was a rainy day and The Civee and I had to do something with Hope this afternoon. We decided to take her to a movie.

We went to see The Muppets. It was age appropriate for her, The Civee and I wouldn’t be totally bored and Hope is familiar with the Muppets from Weezer’s Keep Fishin’ video (Weezer has a surprising number of kid-friendly videos).

We were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to last the whole movie. Hope gets vocal and likes to move around a lot, but we were willing to try.

The theater wasn’t that crowded, so we got seats near the aisle. There were a number of trailers and a Toy Story short before the movie started. Hope seemed to get the idea of watching what was going on on the big screen, although she often stood on her seat and talked (asking for more popcorn, mostly).

We did have to take her for a walk a few times and she got real antsy towards the end (damn those previews and the short feature!). But overall, she enjoyed the experience. The Civee and I liked the movie. And I’m glad to know what happened to the world’s supply of New Coke.

Also, when we were on our way into the theater, I saw a poster for the next movie I’m taking Hope to see:

Weezer’s No One Else: And if You See Her, Tell Her It’s O-hey-hey-hey-hey

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.

Hope has Excellent Taste in Music

Even though most of our music is on our computer, The Civee and I still have a shelf of CDs in our dining room. The other day, Hope and I were playing when she went over to the CD case. I told her to pick one out, so she took CD and started waving it around to no one in particular.

For those who can’t tell what it is:

This proves a hunch I’ve had for a long time: Hope’s a Troublemaker.

And to those (namely, Hope’s mom) who would say this picture is staged, don’t you think I would have gotten a better shot of her face?

Either way, I’m very proud of her choice. I have a feeling The Civee is not.

Longtime Sunshine: Weezer Fans are Satisfied in the Simple Things

I’ve written before about how Weezer has been busting out some old b-sides as part of their Memories tour (here and here).

Well, last night, they did something even more awesome than play an old b-side.  At a show in Austin, they played an unreleased (well, on the original album version) Pinkerton song, Longtime Sunshine.

The song was originally intended as the closer of Weezer’s abandoned rock opera, Songs from the Black Hole.  For a short time, Longtime Sunshine was going to be the final track on Pinkerton, but it got shelved in favor of Butterfly. In 2002,  Rivers Cuomo distributed an MP3 of his original demo to fans, and the track was later included on Cuomo’s first Alone album.  A different, experimental full band arrangement was featured on the Deluxe reissue of Pinkerton, and while the track has been a fan favorite since the days of the MP3, no one expected to ever hear a live version of the song.

Now, I have a feeling if the band doesn’t play this at a show, fans will riot.  And I wouldn’t blame them.  The performance is much different from the stripped-down acoustic versions we’ve heard.  Watch for yourself.

That dueling guitar solo just kills. And the fans singing along toward the end is great to hear.

I’ve been to a few Weezer shows (well, actually 11), and the setlist for last night’s show could be one of the best I’ve ever seen (the exclusion of Undone or Buddy Holly makes it a tough call):

The Greatest Man that Ever Lived
Perfect Situation
Dope Nose
Hash Pipe
You Gave Your Love to Me Softly
Longtime Sunshine
Only in Dreams

All of Pinkerton

No Beverly Hills or Island in the Sun, but Longtime Sunshine, Jamie, Susanne and Only in Dreams?  I need to invent a time machine and travel back in time to see this show.

Tragic Girl Adds a New Twist To Old Weezer

The official release date for Weezer’s Pinkerton Deluxe and Death to False Metal is a little more than two weeks away. But some of the new material for both albums is already out there. Seattle’s 107.7 The End is streaming Autopilot and The Odd Couple off Death To False Metal (both from the sessions for 2008’s The Red Album), along with a live version of El Scorcho and the newly-discovered Pinkerton-era track Tragic Girl from Pinkerton Deluxe.

I’m still in the process of listening (haven’t heard Tragic Girl yet) but I like what I hear so far.  Have a listen for yourself at blogs.1077theend.com/aharms/2010/10/14/new-music-weezer-from-death-to-false-metal-pinkerton-re-issue-here-stream/

Edit: I’ve listened to the three new songs a few (to be honest, more than a few) times and I’m happy.  Odd Couple is a sweet little number and Autopilot is a riff-driven new wave tune with a great bridge and interesting lyrics.

But the gem here is Tragic Girl.  I’m not 100 percent sure of the details, but the song was recorded in the summer of either 1996 (while recording some of the Pinkerton B-Sides, after the album proper was complete) or the following summer (for the Pink Triangle remix sessions).  Original bassist Matt Sharp did not play, as he was off galavanting with the Rentals.  Thematically, Tragic Girl fits in with the end of Pinkerton and would have fit in as either the second-to-last or last track.  The solo echoes that of Pink Triangle and the lyrics reference Butterfly. The song is a bit rough, and probably would have been edited had it been officially released.  But as it is, with its raw energy and emotion, it fits in perfectly with Pinkerton and is an amazing listen, even though we’ve had to wait 14 years for it.