Spin the Black Circle

Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.
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Posts Tagged ‘Weezer’

From the vault: An interview with Rivers Cuomo

Friday, October 1st, 2010


Rivers Cuomo interviewFINAL by GuerrilaCandy

One of the perks of being a professional music journalist is having the opportunity to interview your favorite musicians. Back in 2005, when I was still relatively green at interviewing rock stars, I took full advantage of that perk when Weezer was rolling through town with the Foo Fighters and I sent an interview request to the band’s publicist.

When I was a teenager Weezer was one of favorite bands and I still rock the Blue Album and Pinkerton quite often now that I am closer to my 40s than I am my 20s. I was extremely excited and extremely nervous to have a conversation with Rivers Cuomo and I think the playback of the nearly 30-minute interview reflects that. You see, my conversation with Rivers, which you can stream or download above, is a bit of a tough listen.

Or at least it was for me when I played it back on cassette tape and transferred it to a mp3 file. It was the first time I had listened to the interview since writing this piece five years ago (Note that I also interviewed Dave Grohl for the same article. Maybe I’ll transfer that to mp3 too and post it here next time the Foo Fighters come to town) and I cringed several times last night while playing it back. Hopefully budding music journalists can learn a few lessons of how to conduct interviews if they happen to stumble upon this post. The lessons to be learned here are to come prepared, try to be professional and don’t be nervous.

My attempt at small talk during the beginning of the interview was a massive fail and for some reason I ended a lot of the questions with “is that correct?” I rack that last one up to nervousness. On the plus side, as the interview progresses Rivers opens up a bit and I think that’s because he could tell I’m a very informed fan and critic who came prepared for the interview. Or maybe he could tell I was going down in flames and wanted to provide me with some material I could use for a print article. But enough about my analysis of my unpolished interview skills. You’ll just have to trust me that I have since become better at firing questions at rock stars.

Once you get through the awkwardness (you can actually hear me say “awkward” after one question while listening to the interview) there’s actually some pretty good stuff here. Of course all that stuff is from five years ago, but I have yet to read an interview where Rivers talks about his perfectionist tendencies and how the band tweaks its records after each pressing. So bonus points to me for getting that info. Other moments of note are and the parts where he tells me that he misses being with girls (he was celibate and unmarried at the time), the really interesting talk about Pinkerton and when he completely dodges my question about his brother teaching at the University of Washington.

Despite my mixed feelings about the interview I still consider my conversation with Rivers to be a highlight of my career thus far, albeit a slightly awkward highlight.


Weezer, Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday coming to WRA Sept. 10

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

According to Absolutepunk.net the Blink-182 reunion tour is coming to White River Amphitheatre Sept. 10. The boys in Blink will be accompanied by Weezer, Taking Back Sunday and Chester French.

Wait, let me rephrase that. WEEZER is coming to White River Amphitheatre Sept. 10 and they are bringing with them the runited Blink-182, Taking Back Sunday and Chester French. There, that’s better.

No word on ticket prices or an on-sale date yet.


My five favorite club shows of 2008

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

For my final Ear Candy column of the year for the print edition of the Seattle P-I my editor has asked me to write about my top 5 club shows of the year. While I was not able to make it to every club show in Seattle (due to my geographical location as well as the fact I spent most of the year covering major concerts and festivals for the P-I), I did spend plenty of nights in dark, sweaty, booze-filled clubs witnessing some really great music.

So here’s a recap of my five favorite club shows of the year:

Weezer’s Hootenanny @ Vera Project

Yes, it was an invite-only event. Yes, it wasn’t an actual =W= concert. And yes, Rivers Cuomo’s mustache made an appearance. All of those things only touch the surface of why this was one of the coolest shows of the year. Take 200 =W= fans, crazy instruments and a rocking kazoo solo on “Beverly Hills” and you’ve got one heckuva hootenanny.

The Gutter Twins @ Showbox at the Market

The two-day Sup Pop 20 Festival was an amazing fete the venerable local label threw for itself, but you didn’t experience all of SP20 if you weren’t at this show. The combination of Mark Lanegan and Greg Dulli in the darkened confines of the Showbox was spellbinding.

Tom Morello, Mike McCready and Stone Gossard @ Showbox at the Market

This get-out-the-vote show didn’t include any big surprise special guests like many speculated it would (come on, three-fifths of Peal Jam was in the building and no PJ surprise appearance?) but really the show didn’t need any razzle-dazzle stars to impress. Tom Morello broke out RATM riffs and played enough of his upbeat new material to prove he is a more than adequate frontman. Mike McCready kicked out a set of six spectacular Hendrix covers and Stone Gossard played honky-tonk versions of “1999″ and “Ace of Spades.” Oh yeah, and at the end of the show McCready and Morello jammed together.

Dyme Def 3Badbrothaaas Mixtape Release Party @ Nectar

Hip-hop gets a bad reputation by critics because for the most part it often comes off as boring when performed live because the crowd is often not engaged. Well, this release of the “3Badbrothaaas” Mixtape (which was handed out for free at the show) and the performance by Dyme Def at Nectar proved Seattle can do hip-hop right. The performance by these three MCs was one of the most charismatic sets I saw all year, and I saw more than 200 acts this year (yes, I keep count).

Supersuckers 20th Anniversary @ Showbox at the Market

Sup Pop wasn’t the only Seattle institution celebrating 20 years in business in 2008. The rockabilly punks in Supersuckers railed off a 35-song set list during a show that lasted more than two hours and touched on every one of their records. The only thing that was missing was their excellent cover of “Hey Ya!” Oh, and to help mark 20 years, Green River got together for another show ( only the band’s third in its 20 years since breaking up) to toast their friends in Supersuckers.


REVIEW: Weezer @ KeyArena

Monday, October 13th, 2008

I spent my Saturday night rocking out with the goofy guys in Weezer at KeyArena. You can read my review by clicking here.

Here are some side notes that didn’t make it into the review:

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My busy early fall schedule

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

Summer is typically the best season for concerts, but that doesn’t mean fall and winter are slumming it when it comes to packing some awesome club and arena rock shows.

Here’s where you’ll find me the next few weeks:

My Morning Jacket @ McCaw Hall Sept. 28

I know very little about MMJ.  But I have always been curious about their live show because I have heard so many good things about it. My buddy had an extra ticket and I couldn’t say no when he offered it up. Plus, “Evil Urges” was a surprise favorite for me this summer.

Cold War Kids @ Showbox at the Market Sept. 29

Like I mentioned earlier this week, I saw these guys at Sasquatch! and was highly impressed. I’ve listened to the new record about a half dozen times and it doesn’t resonate with me the same way the band’s last record did, but maybe after a few more listens I will like it more. I suppose I had better get to liking it since it’s likely CWK will play a lot of new material at the Showbox.

ReverbFEST in Ballard Oct. 4

I attended last year’s ReverbFEST and it was a blast. What made it so much fun was that all the acts were local and all the shows took place in Ballard, one of my favorite western Washington locales. This year I am really excited to see Team Gina and my new favorite local band SHIM. I am sure I will discover plenty more excellent local gems while venue hopping and drinking beer throughout the day.

Weezer at KeyArena Oct. 11

I’m a Weezer fan and this will be my third time seeing the band play KeyArena. The first time was pretty mediocre and the second time was probably the best =W= show I’ve seen, so it will be interesting to see what the group’s tour behind the surprisingly pretty decent “Red Album” will bring. What’s that? You don’t like the “Red Album?” Well, id you can’t crack a smile while listening to “The Greatest Man Who Ever Lived” then you simply don’t like music.


VIDEO: Weezer covering Nirvana’s “Sliver”

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Last week I posted a few vids of Harvey Danger and Schoolyard Heroes covering Nirvana songs. Today, on the 17th anniversary of the release of “Nevermind,” here is a video of Weezer covering “Sliver.”


Grab your pocket protectors and get ready to rawk, =W= is coming

Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Yesterday the tour stops and dates were announced for Weezer’s fall jaunt across the U.S. in support of the band’s surprisingly good self-titled record (a.k.a. The Red Album).

The band will be at KeyArena Oct. 11, which is a Saturday night. Opening acts are Angels and Airwaves (blah :P ) and Tokyo Police Club (meh.)

Weezer has long been one of my favorite groups and I am excited to have the chance to see them live again. If I go to the Oct. 11 show it will mark my fourth =W= show. Out of those four I would have to say the group’s last stop at KeyArena during their Wee Fighters/Foozer tour with Foo Fighters was likely their best performance of the lot.

You can read about my most recent encounter with =W=, where I rocked the kazoo solo on “Beverly Hills” with the band during a recording session, by clicking here.

I’ll have more on my interactions with Rivers Cuomo as the show date comes closer (he’s a lot shorter than you think, and surprisingly he is a really good interview), but for now I just wanted to share the news of the upcoming show. Ticket prices and an on-sale date for tickets has yet to be announced. You can read the press release announcing the tour below.

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Music journalist Travis Hay drops some knowledge and insight about local and national music news, offers reviews and offers a place for conversation on all things music.