“I’m really excited about the future,” he says in reference to the newly completed, self-titled Weezer LP, which, in a long tradition chromatic differentiation, has been color coded red this time around (but it’s an odd shade, and if you stare at it on their Web site it’ll make your eyes go bonkers).
Something about the timing of this release feels very fitting; Weezer has always had a summery vibe about their simple but infectious, crunchy power-pop. And here we are again – it’s May in Southern California, and the temperature has already brimmed over into the mid-90s.
The fellas weren’t interested in repeating history though, even on the heels of their last hugely successful album Make Believe with the runaway modern rock hit, “Beverly Hills.”
Wilson reflects on going back to do it all again, admitting a bit of creative restlessness: “It started to feel a little by the numbers – write, record, tour. So we asked ourselves: how can we do this in a deeper way?”
The answer came in a self-challenging effort to shake up every song from the demo forward.
“Each song is in its own world,” he explains, “the arrangements are just a lot wackier.”
And not only that, Wilson – the designated drummer – steps up to the mic stand for a track, as well as chugging away at the guitar. In fact, three out of the 10 songs were not “Rivers songs,” the famously shy, temperamental writer of classic Weezer smashes like “Buddy Holly” and “The Sweater Song.”
But old school fans need not get too leery of change, as Wilson laughingly affirms what he believes Blur frontman Damon Albarn once said that, “no matter what you do, you think you’re going to change everything and do things so drastically different, but, at the end of the day it still sounds like you!”
Hey, with these guys that’s not the worst realization in the world.
As the sun beats down overhead, we digress and talk about some of Wilson’s favorite summer music, which, right now is the Bird and the Bee (“out of L.A.” he says, “total sittin’ by the pool, chill music”) and some inspiring memories of a 2005 Coachella performance (“the sun just set and it cooled down, just a magical time”).
“What I remember most about summer is really just riding my bike. I don’t think kids do that anymore. When’s the last time you saw a kid on his BMX?” he asks.
In Los Angeles? I don’t know.
“Never!” Wilson exclaims, “It doesn’t happen. They’re inside playing ‘Warcraft’...”
About this point Wilson interrupts himself abruptly: “Sorry, kid emergency.”
I hear some young wailing over the line – turns out his son stubbed his toe, but there's no need for a hospital trip. But I take the opportunity to jump to a question about the obvious generation gap that’s formed between the band and its fan base.
In fact, the early-’90s model Weezer (before their numerous and lengthy hiatuses) had a massive influence on several post-2000 era rockers, from the All-American Rejects and Jimmy Eat World to the Used and Plain White T’s.
“We’re obviously flattered. But we’re just trying to keep things fresh. We look at bands like Radiohead who can keep doing stuff that’s cool. If we just do the same thing over and over, you sort of become a nostalgia act. Actually, I think Weezer’s best days are in front of it, to be honest.”
And again, the timing feels right. The beginning of the summer is the perfect time to look ahead.
Weezer (The Red Album) will be available June 3.