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Thread: Van Weezer

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    Van Weezer

    Rivers Cuomo on the Biological Need to Shred, Heavy Metal, and Why Singing Your Solos First Makes For Good Phrasing

    By Richard Bienstock 2 days ago

    Rivers Cuomo lets the shred-obsessed kid inside him break free on 'Van Weezer,' a record that's half Blue Album, half '80s metal.




    Since their earliest days as a band more than a quarter century ago, Weezer have been blurring the line between serious and humorous.

    Their debut single, 1994’s “Undone – The Sweater Song,” was, as frontman Rivers Cuomo once said, “supposed to be a sad song, but everyone thinks it’s hilarious.”

    Their most recent hit, meanwhile, was a faithful and wholly unironic (or was it?) reading of Toto’s enduring ’80s soft-rock touchstone, “Africa.”

    Suffice to say then, casual Weezer fans who aren’t steeped in the group’s history might understandably misinterpret the intent behind the title of the group’s new and 15th studio album, Van Weezer (Atlantic/Crush).

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    Yes, it’s an obvious nod to hard-rock kingpins Van Halen. But even if the line from, say, “Hot for Teacher” to “Buddy Holly” isn’t immediately clear, the album’s name is hardly smirky posturing.

    A few years ago, we began to feel like our audience wanted to see some serious shredding. If the audience responds to something, you start doing more of it

    Far from it. Cuomo has always been vocal about his formative years as a shred-obsessed, hard rock-and-heavy-metal-loving teenager growing up in 1980s suburban Connecticut.

    “At my core, I’m just cut from that cloth,” he tells Guitar Player. And as he recently discovered, a sizable portion of Weezer’s audience might actually worship at the shred alter as well.

    “Historically, when Weezer have played a show, people are there to sing along to big choruses. There’s not too much guitar wizardry going on,” Cuomo acknowledges.


    “But starting a few years ago, we began to feel like our audience wanted to see some serious shredding. If I happened to randomly start doing some two-handed tapping or something like that, the crowd would go absolutely nuts.

    “And if the audience responds to something, you just start doing more of it and you let it evolve. So there started to be a lot more shredding going on at the shows, and that led to the idea to do this album.”


    And so, roughly six months after the release of their 2019 studio effort, Weezer (the Black Album), the band – Cuomo, guitarist Brian Bell, bassist Scott Shriner, and drummer Patrick Wilson – unveiled the first single from Van Weezer, a power-pop anthem titled “The End of the Game.”

    True to Cuomo’s words, it kicks off with some ’80s-evoking two-handed tapping (even if, the guitarist acknowledges, the inspiration for the shreddy lick was not Eddie Van Halen but rather Angus Young and his open-string pull-off motif in AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”).

    It’s called 'Van Weezer,' so it’s half ’80s metal and it’s half Weezer

    Similar hard-rock references abound throughout Van Weezer, including the note-for-note cribbing of Randy Rhoads’ iconic riff from Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” in “Blue Dream,” the fist-pumping solo that highlights “She Needs Me,” and the bombastic drum salvo that opens “I Need Some of That,” which is itself a note-perfect re-creation of the beat that kicks off Quiet Riot’s 1983 hesher anthem, “Metal Health (Bang Your Head).”

    Despite all those retro signifiers, Cuomo emphasizes that the new album is no mere homage.

    “It’s called Van Weezer,” he says, “so it’s half ’80s metal and it’s half Weezer. At no point did we want it to fully sound like one or the other. So there are moments where it sounds like straight-up Blue Album [Weezer’s 1994 debut], and then there are times where it’s like, ‘That sounds like Mötley Crüe!’ or “Oh my God, they’re totally doing a Poison guitar-chorus thing on that song!”





    Read more at https://www.guitarplayer.com/players...cTdvsKq-KtxLPk
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    Anarchy in the USA
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    Psuedo 80's metal with an "ET" video. Yeah, that's about as goddamned Retro as it gets. But these are the guys who made an entire video based on "Happy Days" in the 1990s, so Retro was always their thing, I guess.
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