Weezer, still going strong, heads to Durham

CorrespondentMay 30, 2014 

Weezer in concert - Bethlehem Pa

Rivers Cuomo and Scott Shriner of the rock band Weezer.

OWEN SWEENEY — INVISION/AP

  • Details

    Who: Weezer (Jeff The Brotherhood opens.)

    When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

    Where: Durham Performing Arts Center, 123 Vivian St., Durham

    Cost: $59.50-$99.50

    Info: 919-680-2787 or dpacnc.com

Rivers Cuomo is one of the most fascinating rock stars you’ll ever encounter. At points he comes across in song as a juvenile mid-lifer. But this is also the bookish singer-songwriter who took a hiatus from rock stardom to study music composition at Harvard during the mid-’90’s.

The cerebral leader of Weezer (the band plays Thursday at the Durham Performing Arts Center) is what the late comic George Carlin liked to call “a fascinating guy.” Cuomo has penned a number of memorable melodic pop songs, some with drummer Patrick Wilson, with touches of muscular guitar lines leavened with quirky humor.

“Rivers is unique and so talented,” Wilson said. “I’ve written a lot of songs with Rivers and it’s been a great experience. Rivers was always smart enough to focus on being a songwriter. Back in the early days, I was about the music. I couldn’t help but focus on that. Those were good days.”

The days have been very good for the Weezer core – Cuomo, Wilson and guitarist Brian Bell – together since 1992.

“Weezer comes from a different place than most (contemporary) bands,” Wilson said. “We come from a time in which members of bands all played together (in the studio). You get something great on the right take and run with it. We’ve had a lot of great things happen in the studio.”

Weezer – indebted to Cheap Trick and the Pixies – has been remarkably consistent since its eponymous debut disc (known as “The Blue Album”) dropped 20 years ago. “Undone (the Sweater Song)” and “Buddy Holly” remain cute pop tunes that are still radio favorites. 1994’s “Pinkerton” may be the band’s greatest artistic statement. It’s as dark and twisted as the prior album was sunny and straightforward. In fact, each of the band’s studio albums have had its moment. They’ve always been able to craft radio-ready songs with huge hooks as well as the offbeat.

Part of what keeps Weezer ticking is the time the band members make for solo projects. Cuomo has worked on a pair of solo albums, “Alone” and “Alone 2: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo.” Bell has focused on his project, the band The Relationship, and Wilson has won critical acclaim for his side band, The Special Goodness.

“I think it’s healthy to work on other things,” Wilson said. “Weezer takes a lot of time and energy but I’m not complaining. I feel like we have it all.”

So don’t be surprised if Weezer, which has recorded nine albums, is around for quite awhile.

“There’s no reason to stop,” Wilson said. “We might take some breaks but we’ve never broken up and we all get along so well. We still believe we have plenty to contribute.”

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