Weezer is an American rock and roll band. The specific genre of their music is debated, although it can be said that their style is related to alternative rock and/or emo. Formed on February 14, 1992, they have released four full length albums, an EP, a DVD, and most recently a two-disc set, deluxe remastered edition of their debut album with the addition of b-sides and imports. Their fifth album, entitled "Make Believe," is presently being recorded and is expected to be released in the spring of 2005. The video for their new single, "Beverly Hills", was filmed February 28, 2005 in Los Angeles, and directed by Marcos Siega, who directed many of the band's other videos.
The band formed on February 14th, 1992 in Los Angeles, California with original members Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, Matt Sharp, and Jason Cropper. Five weeks later they had their first gig, opening for Dogstar (featuring Keanu Reeves) at Raji's Bar and Ribshack on Hollywood Boulevard. Weezer began playing clubs to small audiences around L.A. and recording home-demos. Soon the band began to receive attention from various A&R reps, and was signed on June 25, 1993 by Todd Sullivan, an A&R rep from Geffen Records. The band was signed onto the DGC label (later became Interscope).
The band began recording their debut album in late August 1993 at Electric Lady Studios in New York City. Ric Ocasek, former singer/songwriter for The Cars, was chosen as producer. After the recording of the album, guitarist Jason Cropper was fired from the band by Cuomo. Cropper was replaced by guitarist Brian Bell, a former member of the band Carnival Art. Cropper's guitar parts were rerecorded by Cuomo, and Bell replaced Cropper's vocals. The recording of the album finished in early October 1993, and the band headed back to L.A.
On May 10, 1994, Weezer released their self-titled album, which became known as The Blue Album (see 1994 in music). The Blue Album included the hit singles, such as "Buddy Holly," "Undone (The Sweater Song)," and "Say it Ain't So." The video of "Buddy Holly" was included on the CD-ROM of Windows 95.
In late December, 1994, Weezer took a break from touring for the Christmas holiday. Rivers Cuomo traveled back east to his home state of Connecticut, and using an eight-track recorder, he began piecing together demo material for Weezer's next album. Coumo's original concept for Weezer's sophmore effort was to be a space-themed rock opera, Songs from the Black Hole. The album would feature songs that flowed together seamlessly, and end with a special coda that briefly revisited the major musical elements of the piece. The band began demoing and working on Rivers' concept through intermittent recording sessions in the spring and summer of 1995. Ultimately, the Songs from the Black Hole album concept was dropped, but many of the songs from the sessions were used on their second album.
Weezer's sophmore effort, Pinkerton, was released on September 24, 1996 The album was given lackluster reviews by critics (see 1996 in music), and sales of the album were low compared to their debut. The title of the album was inspired by a character in the opera Madame Butterfly written by one of Cuomo's favorite artists, Giacomo Puccini. Songs like "The Good Life" and "El Scorcho" were scribed during Cuomo's time at Harvard, and feature personal reflections on the change from rock star to anonymous student. From an industry perspective, the album was not originally seen as a critical or financial success . Over the years, the album grew in popularity, and is often now pointed out by major rock critics as a alternative rock masterpiece. Rolling Stone Magazine, which in 1996 labeled Pinkerton the Worst Album of the Year, updated their view in 2004 and inducted Pinkerton into its Album Hall of Fame, giving a brand new five-star review rating.
A five-year recording drought followed the release of Pinkerton, with Rivers spending more time at Harvard and playing solo shows in Boston. During this time little public information was being released about the state of the band. However, thanks to word-of-mouth and a strong following on internet, Weezer's popularity continued to grow.
In 2000, Weezer re-formed and went on tour without a new album. The tour was a huge hit, and sold out several of the large venues it traveled to. During the tour, Cuomo began writing songs again, and Weezer played some of them live. Eventually, the band went back into the studio to produce a third album. Weezer (2001) was self-titled again to signify a sort of rebirth for Weezer. This album quickly became known as The Green Album. Shortly after the release of The Green Album, Weezer went on another American tour, attracting many new fans along the way. A fourth album, Maladroit, was released in 2002 (see 2002 in music), and served as a departure from the catchy pop-influenced music of The Green Album. In the summer and early fall of 2004, the members of Weezer recorded a large amount of material intended for a new album to be released in the spring of 2005. On Friday, January 7, 2005 several Weezer fans noticed that several radio stations had announced the next single from the band (entitled "Beverly Hills") would be released on March 21 or March 22 of the same year. The discovery set the tentative date for the release of the fifth album as April or May of 2005.
Weezer has also played several shows under the pseudonym Goat Punishment. Their first shows under the pseudonym featured the new Weezer lineup (now featuring Mikey Welsh) playing covers of songs by Nirvana and Oasis. Later the name Goat Punishment was used while the members of Weezer recorded a show for the HBO concert series, Reverb.
Weezer is also very well known for their innovative music videos. While "Undone (The Sweater Song)" was big on MTV, it was the Spike Jonze-directed "Buddy Holly" video, which used footage from various episodes of Happy Days, that made them pop icons. The video is akin to other defining videos of the 90s such as Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and The Smashing Pumpkins' "Tonight, Tonight," because all three of these videos helped the artists reach an audience not often reached by alternative rock bands. However, Weezer's Pinkerton videos were not well played and quickly forgotten. It would take the sumo clip of "Hash Pipe" (or as the title card stated, "H*** Pipe") to bring Weezer back into the eyes of music video viewers. They then recorded two videos for "Island in the Sun," the first focusing on a Mexican wedding, and the second involving Weezer with animals in a wildlife reserve. Their video for "Photograph" was a staple for Much Music USA (now Fuse). Maladroit's "Dope Nose" was unspectacular at best, though it was put into a rather regular rotation. However, it was the follow up, "Keep Fishin'", that would place Weezer in an elite group of defining music video makers of the early 2000s. "Keep Fishin'" combined Weezer with The Muppets and became an MTV staple.
In March of 2004, Weezer released their first DVD. Titled "Video Capture Device", the DVD contains all of their current music videos, live concerts, and homemade movies. The DVD hit hard on the DVD compilation charts and was declared "Gold" on November 8, 2004.
As of July 2002, Weezer had sold more than 5,000,000 copies of their albums.