Formed in 1992 in LA, Weezer is an American rock band fronted by Rivers Cuomo, alongside bandmates Patrick Wilson, Brian Bell, and Scott Shriner. With ten albums and a Grammy win under their belt, Weezer is an icon of alternative rock.
Here are some facts you might not have known about Weezer.
1. Suck It
Rivers Cuomo named the band Weezer because he had asthma and that’s what the kids in school called him. Kids really know how to go after the thing that’ll hurt you the most.
2. Runs In The Family
Cuomo’s dad, Frank, was a drummer in the 60s and played on Wayne Shorter’s 1970 album Odyssey of Iska.
3. Makes Like A Tree And…
Rivers Cuomo has a younger brother named Leaves.
4. Not A Big Stretch
The Cuomo family grew up on a Hindu ashram called Yogaville. Beginning to understand where the names Rivers and Leaves came from.
5. A Leg To Stand On
Cuomo was born with his left leg nearly two inches shorter than his right leg. After he became a successful rock star, he had it surgically fixed by breaking the bone and stretching his leg four times daily allowing the bone to grow longer and match the length of his other leg.
6. Art Imitates Life
The song “The Good Life” was written after Cuomo had this corrective surgery. The lyrics reference Cuomo having to walk around with a cane. The art on the single uses an X-ray of Cuomo’s leg.
7. Fight Song
Cuomo wrote his first song at the age of 14. It was a Kiss-inspired heavy metal anthem called “Fight For Your Right.”
8. The Sound And The Fury
Cuomo also formed his first band at the age of 14. It was called Fury and they covered three Kiss songs in their debut.
9. The Kids Always Know
The first verse of “Say It Ain’t So” references a moment in Cuomo’s teenage years where saw a drink in the refrigerator, knew his stepfather had started drinking again, and recognized it immediately as a sign of impending divorce.
Cuomo met his future Weezer bandmates Matt Sharp and Pat Wilson through a co-worker named Pat Finn when he was working at Tower Records in LA.
11. Challenge Accepted
As a personal challenge, Cuomo wrote fifty songs in December of 1991. Amongst these songs were eventual Weezer songs, “Undone,” “Only in Dreams,” “My Name is Jonas,” and “The World has Turned and Left Me Here.”
12. Where It All Began
Weezer’s first show ever was at a venue called Raji’s in West LA on March 19th, 1992.
13. Set It Off
Their first set list included the songs “Undone” and “The World Has Turned and Left Me Here” along with early tunes “I Can’t Forget the way” and “The Biggest Animal.”
14. Say It Ain’t So
The B-Side “Mykel & Carli” was a tribute to the band’s earliest and most ardent fans who became leaders of the band’s fan club. Both of the girls passed in a tragic 1997 car accident that also claimed the life of their sister Trysta.
15. Go Away
Jason Cropper, the original Weezer guitarist, was asked to leave the band under mysterious circumstances, and signed a strict nondisclosure agreement forbidding him from discussing his time with the band.
16. No Sweat
Despite insisting that the video for “Undone – The Sweater Song” have nothing to do with sweaters, they were sent 20 treatments involving sweaters including one where the band wore one giant sweater.
17. Keeping Up With The Jonze
The “Undone” video was one of the first clips that now-famous director Spike Jonze ever directed. It was shot on a Steadicam in one unbroken take and took 25 tries to get it right.
18. Band’s Best Friend
During the shoot, one of the dogs in the video left the gift of poop on Pat Wilson’s bass drum pedal.
The Jonas in “My Name is Jonas” is a reference to the main character of Lois Lowry’s The Giver. Jonas uses a sled in the story and Wepeel is the name of a sled that Cuomo owned as a child.
20. Let The Songs Speak For Themselves
The massive success of the Happy Days-themed “Buddy Holly” music video terrified Cuomo who was concerned that they would become a band that was popular only due to gimmicks. He insisted that they avoid gimmicky videos for their second album Pinkerton. Hey Ok-Go? Take note.
21. Garage Band
The garage referred to in “In the Garage” is at the Amherst House in LA where the band held all their early rehearsals.
22. Live From New York
Matt Sharp was also in the band The Rentals. One of the original Rentals members was a young Maya Rudolph of future Saturday Night Live fame.
23. Rent To Own
In 1998, Sharp left Weezer to join The Rentals full time, but reunited with Cuomo for a show at California State University in 2004.
24. Mikey Welsh
Sharp was replaced by Mikey Welsh who left the band after suffering a mental breakdown in 2001. He succumbed to a drug-related incident in 2011.
25. Escape From The Black Hole
Weezer’s second album was originally going to be a space-themed rock opera called Songs from the Black Hole, but the idea was abandoned midway through and the project eventually became Pinkerton.
After visiting the school campus after a soundcheck at a nearby venue, Cuomo applied, and was accepted, to Harvard on a whim.
27. Strong Thesis
Cuomo’s application essay was about his disillusionment with the rock and roll lifestyle. We agree. Fame, money, and women are the worst.
28. Class Project
Some of the lyrics form the song “El Scorcho” were taken directly from an essay written by one of Cuomo’s Harvard classmates.
29. Wrestle Mania
One of the lines was “watching Grunge leg-drop New Jack” and was a reference to Extreme Championship Wrestling stars Johnny Grunge and New Jack. We use the term “stars” loosely.
30. The Butterfly Effect
The other line was “listening to the Cio-Cio San,” a reference to Giacomo Puccini’s opera, Madame Butterfly. The opera also inspired the album title Pinkerton which is named after the story’s protagonist.
Cuomo was fascinated by the character of Pinkerton, seeing him as “the ultimate character representing male id.”
32. Japanese Girls
“El Scorcho” also contains the line “goddamn you half-Japanese girls” referencing Cuomo’s personal history of “disastrous encounters” with half-Japanese women, which developed into a thing for Asian women.
33. Feeling Hot, Hot, Hot
The title “El Scorcho” refers to “Del Scorcho” a brand of hot sauce available at the Del Taco chain.
34. Souvenir From A Trip
The song “Hash Pipe” was written after an experiment in which Cuomo took Ritalin, drank three shots, and sat on a chair in his backyard to imagine a song.
The original lyrics for the song "Tired of Intimacy" referred to Gwen, Cuomo's girlfriend at the time. She asked him to change it. He changed it to Lyn. But we all know it was you Gwen. We all know.
36. Pen Pal
“Across the Sea” is based on an actual letter that Cuomo received from a Japanese fan and some of the lyrics are taken from that letter word for word.
The set lists on the band’s 2002 tour were randomly made by using the shuffle function on a playlist that included all the songs that the band had rehearsed.
38. Hold On
“Beverly Hills” was inspired by a photo of Wilson Phillips in the program for the opening of the new Hollywood Bowl in LA and the fantasy of marrying an established celebrity. We get it. We too want to marry Chynna Phillips.
39. Love And Other Remedies
The band created an alternate rendition of the song, renaming it as "We Are All in Love" to ensure it was suitable for broadcast when it was released as a single.
40. With A Side Of Candy
“Pork and Beans” was included on the Red Album after the band’s label told them they needed an upbeat hit single. Cuomo based the song on a riff he had written and thrown away ten years earlier.
Alternative titles for “The Greatest Man That Ever Lived (Variations on a Shaker Hymn)” were “Player,” “Playa 4 Lyfe,” “Mack Daddy,” and “The Ballad of Oswaldo Sanchez.”
42. Who’s Your Daddy?
Cuomo wrote “I’m Your Daddy” to try and cheer up his daughter when she was hospitalized for five days as a 2-year old.
Raditute, the name of Weezer’s seventh album, was suggested to them by The Office star Rainn Wilson.
44. Tired Of Socks
The song "Where's my item?" pertains to socks. But Cuomo replaced the word “socks” with, you know, the other word.
Cuomo got into Vipassana meditation after it was recommended to him by producer Rick Rubin. He was concerned it would rob him of “the angst that’s necessary to being an artist.”
46. Is This Confirmed?
After he got into meditation, Cuomo vowed to be celibate for two years. He made it despite being a rock star.
47. Letting Go
In addition to avoiding bedroom intimacy, Cuomo also gave away or sold most of his possessions, did volunteer work, and resolved to settle all the conflicts in his life.