Q&A with Weezer’s Pat Wilson

Written by J.T. Leroy on . Posted in Miscellaneous, Posts.


When
I’m all down in a Karen Carpenter-dumps sort of way, and to add insult to
injury I’ve got a huge sinkload of greased-up dishes in front of me, there
is only one antidote to my ills. I whip out the Weezer. It’s that mix of
crescendo rock-pop, crooning along about lost loves, lost toys, craved surfboards,
that blows my blues away. And I ain’t alone! The cult of Weezer flies in
the face of the infamously brief lifespan of most rock bands. Without the band
touring or releasing a new album since 1996’s Pinkerton, adulators
of Weezer have multiplied like pod people. Their new album, the self-titled
Weezer (referred to as the "Green Album"), is more joyously rocking
and rollicking than their other releases and is making the cult of Weezer mainstream.
I interviewed Pat Wilson, the band’s lovable drummer.

I
love your new record.

Thank
you.

I
mean, it’s really amazing. I was just talking to Shirley Manson, from Garbage,
and she loves it. She’s been jumping all around, really enjoying it and everything.

Right-o.

So
how long ago did you guys record this stuff?

We
recorded this music in January of this year. So it’s pretty fresh.

So
you’re married and you live in Portland and when Weezer’s not going
on you have another band, right?

That’s
right. It’s kind of a weird scene, because in ’97 I made a record and
I called it The Special Goodness, so it’s sort of like, it’s
a band but it was all me. And that record never got put out. It was for Geffen,
but I just made another record and again it’s all me. But now I play with
Mikey [Welsh], who’s also in Weezer and we went out and did a couple of tours.
But he was kind of busy in L.A. so I just figured, you know what, I’ll just
do it myself, because I’ll go crazy if I don’t. In a perfect world,
the Special Goodness is Pat Wilson, Mikey from Weezer and Atom Willard who played
with Rocket from the Crypt. He’s the drummer but otherwise it’s like
Weezer time.

Your
whole thing now, it’s kind of like being Sleeping Beauty and then all of
a sudden having to get up and do the Olympics or something.

Yeah.
I mean I think everybody’s amazed at how much of a phenomenon Weezer has
become because it wasn’t like this when we stopped touring with the last
record. I mean we were popular but nothing like this.

How
is Rivers [Cuomo, Weezer’s lead singer] taking it all?

Oh,
I think he’s psyched. I think he was worried that people weren’t gonna
like the record because it’s not as heart-on-your-sleeve emotional, but I
don’t think it’s that different, I really don’t.

No,
I don’t either. I think it’s incredibly energetic and really well constructed.
Are you going to bring your wife with you on tour?

Yeah,
she’s with me until September, then she has to go back to school.

Are
you the only married one?

Yeah.

What’s
Matt Sharp [former bass player] up to?

You
know, I really don’t know. I haven’t talked to him in a long time.

Do
you think he’s feeling, well…

He’s
feeling bad?

Yeah,
’cause it seemed like when he was leaving, it was like he was leaving a sinking
ship, and now…

It’s
not really like that, because Weezer’s a weird scene in that we were like
kind of like all capable of doing the singing and songwriting at first. And it
just kind of turned into more of a focus on Rivers, which is probably for the
best because at the time he was writing the most concise music. So I think Matt
looks at it as just a natural thing, he needed to go do his own thing, and otherwise
he’d just go crazy. But I think he may feel a little freaked out; obviously,
there’s gotta be a part of him that’s like, yeah, maybe I shouldn’t
have left Weezer.

Well,
he seemed like he loved it–he was so into being a rock star. You know?

Well,
there is that.

He
was very into being a rock star and I’ve heard the stories of him being on
the road and the girls and everything.

He,
I mean, we were all pretty young when this all happened and I think it’s
not unusual to see people get sort of, you know, into themselves. And I think
some people are more guilty of that than others. If that’s not beating around
the bush about Matt I don’t know what is. [laughs]

Well,
I’ve heard Rivers isn’t pleading for the pussy like he was last time.

No,
no.

Does
he have a steady girlfriend?

You
know, I thought he did but now I don’t think he does. I don’t really
know.

I
heard how after the shows he would go out looking for girls–especially Asian
girls.

Yeah.

So
has that kinda calmed down or–

There’s
none of that, I mean, I think they tried so hard back in the day to be sort of
like debauched rock stars, but they just couldn’t, you know?

Well,
I think he did a pretty good job.

Yeah,
but it wasn’t like a natural scene you know. It wasn’t like backstage
at a Van Halen concert in 1981, it was a pretty forced thing.

Plus
the fans are all like 13.

I
think the last thing on a Weezer fan’s mind is trying to hook up with a guy
in a band.

Sure,
but he was pretty clear, wanting somebody who was of age, didn’t have a boyfriend
and was hopefully half Asian–from what I heard.

Yeah.

You
know?

Yeah,
that kinda creeped me out. Like shopping.

Yeah,
exactly. So, do you think he’s gonna be doing more of that?

No,
I think he’s too busy. He’s really focused on the band and he’s
focused on a lot of business details and I think that takes up all of his time.

Is
it gonna be over a year that you’ll be on the road, or maybe even longer?

We’re
starting to think that probably the holidays would be when we stop. We have to
look at what’s going on, but I think in our perfect world, we would tour
until sometime towards the holidays and then just immediately make another record.
Because we could make one right now. And we sort of feel in a way, like, let’s
just get on with it so we can do the new stuff. We’ve got a whole record
that we could just put together right now if we wanted.

Wow,
who wrote that stuff, like how do y’all write?

Rivers
writes everything and then we play it.

Does
he arrange it?

No,
I think the band just sort of arranges it. I think on the "Green Record"
there wasn’t that much room for cool stuff, it’s kind of like early
Beatles with Marshalls. Still, this record is not just like "Here’s
the band, listen to them play," it’s more like "Here’s the
song, listen to it." I think the next record will be a little different.
I think it will be more like "Hash Pipe," really. I think "Hash
Pipe" is the one song on the record that I think everybody feels really great
about as far as how we play and what’s going on in it compositionally. It’s
just fun as hell to play. It’s just a big rip, you know?

Yeah.

That’s
kind of what we want to do.

When
you’re not in Weezer, do you make enough money from the publishing kind of
stuff to live or do you have to work?

I
haven’t had to work since Weezer got a record deal so that’s pretty
cool. And I actually just came off two pretty successful tours of the Special
Goodness that Mikey and I did. That’s always there, too, if we wanna go do
it. We just got in a van and just went and played clubs and it was a blast.

Did
folks know who you were?

Oh
yeah. It was cool. That was my first inclination that something was going on because,
you know, who’s the Special Goodness? It’s nobody, unless you know something
about Weezer, and that was who came out and it was amazing.

It’s
just swell that a band that’s great is getting bigger. I mean you guys are
really something magical together, there’s this real sweetness mixed with
incredible power rock-pop. I think it strikes a real chord with folks and there’s
so much out there that’s kind of dark.

It’s
hard to make optimistic music that doesn’t suck.

 

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