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Many Rivers to cross

Weezer refuses to stick a fork in it

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The "Red Album": For the first time in its history,   Weezer had each member put on a songwriting hat.
  • The "Red Album": For the first time in its history, Weezer had each member put on a songwriting hat.

Two years ago, it looked as if Weezer might have made its last album with 2005's Make Believe. Frontman Rivers Cuomo, quoted in a July 2006 mtv.com article, said he thought the group might be finished for good.

"Really, for the moment, we are done. And I'm not certain we'll ever make a record again, unless it becomes really obvious to me that we need to do one," Rivers was quoted as saying.

That statement followed earlier reports in which the band members openly expressed uncertainty about the group's future. But drummer Pat Wilson says he always figured Weezer would return.

"I never really thought we would end, because it seems like as far as getting along and stuff, it was worse in the beginning and it's gotten better ever since," says Wilson.

Like much of Weezer's large fan base, Wilson says he saw the mtv.com article. But Cuomo assured him his future plans featured Weezer.

"That [mtv.com article] got a lot of people calling me and e-mailing me and asking me all kinds of questions," Wilson says. "I immediately asked Rivers about it, and he's like, 'I was misquoted. That's really not what I said.' So I said OK."

Sure enough, by 2007 there were hints of a new studio album in the wind. But Cuomo, Wilson and bandmates Brian Bell (guitar) and Scott Shriner (bass) wanted to shake up the album-making process.

The band discussed myriad ideas for experimenting with song structures, musical styles and instrumentation. One that reached fruition was having all four band members join in songwriting which, to that point, had been Cuomo's exclusive domain.

On the sixth CD (which is self-titled, but is commonly referred to as the "Red Album" because of the color of the CD jacket), Wilson and Bell each contributed one song, while Shriner co-wrote a third ("Cold Dark World") with Cuomo.

Wilson says Cuomo welcomed having bandmates contribute songs.

"I think maybe Rivers was never really all that comfortable being, like, this classic frontman," Wilson says. "I think he just wants to write and sing songs. So that was part of the reason why [shared songwriting] was going to be part of the new math going forward, like we could balance things out a little better."

Weezer sounds re-energized on the "Red Album." It features a good helping of crisp, crunchy and catchy rockers, such as "Troublemaker," "Dreamin'" and "Everybody Get Dangerous," as well as quirkier gems like the modern rock hit "Pork and Beans." A few of the new songs should figure into Weezer's upcoming shows.

"It looks like right now, it will probably be most of the hits," says Wilson, "and a good spread from all of the records and some B-sides that we've probably never played before."

scene@csindy.com

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