Tag Archives: Weezer

Undone Sanitarium

Ok, I can’t pass up an opportunity to talk about this (via Rolling Stone):

Last week Rolling Stone chatted up Rivers Cuomo about Weezer’s new album Raditude. Near the end we asked about the 15th anniversary of their debut single “Undone – The Sweater Song,” which he now admits is “almost a complete rip-off” of Metallica’s 1986 classic “Welcome Home (Sanitarium).”

If you read on, Cuomo mentions that he did not, as the title of the RS piece dictates, “rip off” Metallica, but rather, years later, realized the guitar riffs sound the same.

And it is uncanny. Take a listen:

Metallica – “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)”:

Weezer – “Undone (The Sweater Song)” (live):

Obviously, each track undergoes their own transgressions and dips and turns, but that first set of guitar chords and that basic pattern is eerily similar.

If you believe that Cuomo ripped off Metallica, and even if you don’t, it puts another cog in the Weezer ain’t emo machine. For folks who’ve picked up Rivers’ Edge: The Weezer Story, there is a length of material in which it’s revealed that Cuomo was heavily into, well, heavy metal as a child, specifically those legendary licks from the likes of KISS. One of the many things that sets Weezer apart from most of the emo acts before and around their start is their heavy reliance on power-pop tinged heavy metal. Few acts outside of Fugazi wished to channel the same ideas and music of heavy metal in the emo/punk/post-hardcore/post-punk realm, although Weezer’s influence on the emo world since the millennium (along with various other contributing factors) has changed things around drastically.

But, I digress.

Cuomo was always something of a metalhead-loving nerd type, much like Chuck Klosterman, and was never one to hide it. And he managed to bring it out quite well in many a Weezer tune. It wouldn’t surprise me if Cuomo spun Master of Puppets back in the day, as that album still looms large in the metal community. Though he didn’t consciously rip off “Welcome Home,” it wouldn’t be surprising to think that the opening guitar composition somehow popped into his head in a new form while Cuomo wrote “Undone.”

But, as with so many things, we may never know what Cuomo was thinking at the time… or now really.

Hipsters Say The Darndest Things…

Well, I must stop myself there. I can’t say for sure if any of these folks are indeed of the hipster mentality. My guess is Anamanaguchi aren’t exactly, as they appear to have something of a normal sense of humor and hang out with genuine fun-loving guys Harry and the Potters (who are a very friendly duo of brothers from the area). But, look at this picture:

Am I right? Well, at least the dude on the right. But, as I said, far too much judging for me…

Anyway, the band will be performing at The Middle East next week, and The Boston Phoenix did a little piece on them with an interesting bit of information:

Anamanaguchi go back to 2003, when founding guitarist and programmer Peter Berkman was in the ninth grade in Westchester. In between recording Weezer covers on a four-track, he and his “songwriting bro” at the time, George, “would get some snacks, like some plain doughnuts, and play Mega Man, and we realized, ‘Oh shit, the music in this Bubble Man level is totally, like, the first emo song.’ We were listening to Sunny Day Real Estate all the time and we were like, ‘It’s the same thing, check it out!’ “

Listening in on their tunes on myspace certainly make the picture startlingly-clear; the power-pop metal rings true to Weezer, while some of the intricate guitar work is pretty reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate in all forms… and the inclusion of these sounds into “bitpop,” “chiptune,” or, as I like to call it (starting right… now) “nintechno” (not sure that really works for Anamanaguchi, but it’ll do for now) is pretty creative at least… Now I just need to get my hands on the song from the Bubble Man level of Mega Man to know what they’re talking about… Great stuff, but don’t get me started on their Wavves cover…

Switching from that, I stumbled upon a blog filed with post-post-modern non-sequitors that many a hipster tends to flock to in the guise of humor (not the blog, but the writing style). And here’s what a recent entry stated:

 

inventor of emo
i didn’t realize how ian mackaye annoys me until i saw him in person at the silver jews and he thought i was pointing at him.
At least she recognized Ian MacKaye’s connection to emo… in some form. But this is obviously a non-sequitor… the Silver Jews only went on a tour or two (unless I’m mistaken) and haven’t gone anywhere near DC in the recent past…. but I digress. The blogger may not be a hipster, but the humor is certainly in the guise and tone that many a scene-follower today tend to consider “funny.”
For your viewing pleasure, a trip back to when emocore was starting up, and Ian MacKaye’s reaction to the term during an Embrace show:

Guitar Hero 5: Emo Edition

Guitar Hero, the popular musical-video game phenomenon is coming out with its fifth volume. And it might as well be called the “Emo Edition.” Or the Indie Edition… One fits with the other.

While the new version of Guitar Hero (GH5) if you will, has the regular mainstream-rock fare, it’s jam packed with many an indie, and emo, act. Just look at the official list:

3 Doors Down, A Perfect Circle, AGI, Arctic Monkeys, Attack! Attack! UK, Band of Horses, Beastie Boys, Beck, Billy Idol, Billy Squier, Blink-182, Blur, Bob Dylan, Bon Jovi, Brand New, Bush, Children of Bodom, Coldplay, Darker My Love, Darkest Hour, David Bowie, Deep Purple, Dire Straits, Duran Duran, Eagles of Death Metal, Elliott Smith, Elton John, Face To Face, Garbage, Gorillaz, Government Mule, Grand Funk Railroad, Iggy Pop, Iron Maiden, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Eat World, John Mellencamp, Johnny Cash, Kaiser Chiefs, King Crimson, Kings of Leon, Kiss, Love and Rockets, Megadeth, Motley Crue, Muse, My Morning Jacket, Nirvana, No Doubt, Peter Frampton, Public Enemy (featuring Zakk Wylde), Queen & David Bowie, Queens of the Stone Age, Rammstein, Rose Hill Drive, Rush, Santana, Scars on Broadway, Screaming Trees, Smashing Pumpkins, Sonic Youth, Spacehog, Stevie Wonder, Sublime, Sunny Day Real Estate, T. Rex, The Bronx, The Derek Trucks Band, The Duke Spirit, The Killers, The Police, The Raconteurs, The Rolling Stones, The Sword, The White Stripes, Thin Lizzy, Thrice, Tom Petty, TV On The Radio, Vampire Weekend, Weezer, Wild Cherry, Wolfmother

You can check out the full list here.

Ok, so it’s not overrun with emo artists, but there’s a good deal of them: Brand New, Jimmy Eat World, Sunny Day Real Estate, Thrice, Weezer. That’s enough to take notice. And the Sunny Day Real Estate entry is, above all, really odd… I know my thirst for a reunion is getting the best of me, but it seems very coincidental that they’re included in all the bands… could we see something along the lines of when the Sex Pistols reunited (again) and debuted a re-recording of “Anarchy In The UK” for Guitar Hero 3? Hopefully not. Maybe I’m searching for a connection way to hard, but we’ll find out…

What may be even more interesting than SDRE are some of the other included acts.

Spacehog?! They’ve got to be using “In The Meantime” which I haven’t heard on the radio since middle school.

Screaming Trees?! Gotta love Mark Lanegan and that band, but all I can remember of them from when they were around was “Nearly Lost You” being on the air, and yet that wasn’t their “big” hit.

Elliott Smith?! Aside from the guy’s stuff in Heatmiser, I’m not quite sure what they could put into GH5!

And then there are the newer indie acts. You’ve got your Arctic Monkeys, Band of Horses, The Duke Spirit (really? on a video game?), TV On The Radio (hopefully something other than “Wolf Like Me” – they’ve got plenty of great songs that people aren’t aware of!), and Vampire Weekend (ugh).

Activision’s got quite a game on its hands. Looks like I’ll have to find a friend with a copy come September 1st.

My hopeful selections for Guitar Hero 5:

Spacehog – “In The Meantime”:

Screaming Trees – “Nearly Lost You”:

Elliott Smith – “Miss Misery” (let it be the live Oscar version):

Sunny Day Real Estate – “J’Nuh”:

Brand New – “Jesus”:

iMusician Meme

Stumbled upon this video through the 100 Bands in 100 Days Project:

iBand… one of those many “phenomena” that might not be called such if it weren’t for the Internet. And these folks aren’t the only ones in on the iPod/Phone-as-an-instrument idea. The number of videos of people either screwing around with a Metallica solo or a hacker using their igadget as a drum sampler to replay “Drop It Like It’s Hot.” What a meme. Here are a handful for your enjoyment:

Metallica – “Nothing Else Matters”:

Black Sabbath – “Paranoid”:

The Police – “Message In A Bottle”:

AC/DC – “Highway to Hell”:

Snoop Dog – “Drop It Like It’s Hot”:

Benny Benassi – “Satisfaction”:

Kanye West – “Stronger”:

Weezer – “Say It Ain’t So”:

Fall Out Boy – “Beat It”:

Want To Write A Book About Your Favorite Band?

Continuum’s 33 1/3 series is by far the best collection of books on rock records… In fact, it’s pretty much the only one that continually publishes works on a strong range of albums. They’ve gotten a strong showing on numerous “best of” listings for 2008 for a number of books on records such as Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality (written by the Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle) and Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love (by Carl Wilson).

And now you can write one too. Continuum’s call for open proposals for the 33 1/3 series has been out for a couple of months, and the deadline is fast approaching. But, there is still time to submit a proposal – you have until midnight on New Years Eve.

What are they looking for? Here’s a quick peek:

“Regarding your choice of album: this is entirely up to you. I don’t, sadly, have the time to answer emails asking “would album X stand a better chance than album Y?” – so use your best judgment here. My advice would be this: we are looking to sell some books. That’s the bottom line. If you are absolutely convinced that we could sell 4,000 or 5,000 copies of a book about your chosen album, then go for it.”

For more information, check out the blog and specific submission entry.
The question for this blog is will an emo album be picked out of the lucky handful that are selected? True, Weezer’s Pinkerton is on the table for future publication, but the merits of that being a true emo album/band versus the impact of that band/album on 3rd wave emo acts is debatable and could formulate an entire book. So, that aside, will an undeniable emo album be selected for future publication?

Judging from the comments on the blog, the possibilities are there. One commenter has been a vehement supporter of writing about emo albums:

“Blogger transylvanian said…

Here’s a question. Who would buy a book about a modern post-hardcore/emo band like Brand New (any of their records), Say Anything (…is a Real Boy), or Thrice (Vheissu, The Illusion of Safety)?

I have serious plans to write either a Brand New or Say Anything book. I believe these boos would be awesome, but I also believe they’d sell a lot of copies.”

I’d love to see the total listing of submissions, which will no doubt be posted on the blog. Fingers crossed for everyone who has submitted a proposal!

Weak Warp

Warped 08

Warped '08

Warped Tour begins in Mansfield, Massachusetts in a number of hours, and sadly, I will not be in attendance. Warped really is a one-of-a-kind entity, and while the Lollapalooza’s that came before it may have dropped their aims to bring alternative music to the masses across the vastness of America (most recently, Ozzfest suffered the same fate, with a single show in Dallas, Texas rather than a full-out tour). Being able to experience the tour-on-wheels is certainly remarkable; a full-blown, 8 staged (and a handful of music-tents) carnival that appears out of nowhere and is taken down by dusk. There isn’t a second that some form of musical expression isn’t being tossed into the air from corners of whatever open-space the tour rolls through, a rumbling monstrosity of noise that lasts twelve hours and leaves you dirty, exhausted, and sunburned.

And yet, I’m not sad necessarily because I’m missing the tour, but the idea of the tour. Warped Tour was created to bring music of all shapes and sizes to the masses at a cheap price. Certainly, half of that is true; tickets for Warped are exceedingly inexpensive ($25 – $35, give or take), especially considering the mounds of bands that pile in for the summer-long haul. Yet, what may be cheap in price has ultimately become cheap in experience. Among the most vivid memories of my last experience at Warped Tour (aside from the veritable dust storms that arose across Fitchburg due to the mosh pits) was the in-your-face consumerism. I can’t say I’ve never yearned for free shit (at one point in my life, I went after free crap at events with a certain vigor), but to see mounds of kids scramble for a free t-shirt from the Truth while not being completely knowledgeable of what those pieces of merchandise represent left me feeling sick.

Warped Tour merch stands

Warped Tour merch stands

What’s more, merchandise seems to have a bigger role in Warped than the live experience of music itself. Every band rolls in with a merch tent crammed with t-shirts, CDs, hats, and whatever you can slap a band-name on. It’s understandable that a band wants to get their name out there, but when consumerism overtakes the music it’s meant to represent, something is amiss. The idea of punk is to be able to express yourself musically in a voice that’s separate from the mainstream. So what does that say when the majority of space taken up during Warped Tour is simply urging people to spend money than do something individually? As Marshall McLuhan said, “the medium is the message.”

The fact that an alternative/punk tour has become such an arm of industry is aggravating in its own right. But, the idea that Warped Tour has failed its original intents to bridge the gap of “punk” within the mainstream is even worse. There is a reason that emo, punk, and pop punk are seen with such severe and negative stereotypes, and unfortunately Warped Tour hasn’t put forth any acts to incur otherwise. This year is no different. Aside from a handful of punk/emo bands (Say Anything, The Bronx, Against Me! chief among them), this year’s Warped is certainly lacking a diverse lineup that it used to parade across the country.

Against Me!

Against Me!

Where are the ground-breaking artists meant to bring a sense of something entirely different than the “norm” punk acts (why is there even such a thing as the “norm” for punk)? Sure, the inclusion of Dillinger Escape Plan and Matisyahu (as well as classics such as The Germs and Fear) offer up a slice of diverse noise, but those acts are only on the tour for a week or two. What ever happened to folks like Andrew WK, Beck, Billy Idol, Black Eye Peas, Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, D12, Deftones, Eminem, Fu Manchu, Godsmack, Gogol Bordello, Hank Williams III, Hatebreed, Hed PE, Helmet, Ice-T, Immortal Technique, Incubus, Joan Jett, Jurassic Five, Kid Rock, Kottonmouth Kings, L7, Limp Bizkit, Long Beach Dub Allstars, Misfits, NERD, No Doubt, Ozma, Ozomatli, Pietasters, Quarashi, Reverend Horton Heat, Rollins Band, Snot, Staind, Streeghtlight Manifesto, Sublime, Sugar Ray, Talib Kweli, Valient Thorr, and Weezer? Whether or not you like or disdain the previous bands, or any group on this year’s Warped Tour, you have to admit that this year’s Warped is missing the diverse showcase of sounds it used to contain.

In the pits at Warped Tour

In the pits at Warped Tour

If Warped Tour is ground zero for punk on the mainstream level, then what kind of images are being portrayed about emo and other forms of punk? When all the sounds are similar, the images stereotypic, where does that leave the definition? Punk, as it is viewed by the majority of society, is fast becoming a Levittown (if it isn’t already). Although creating a vast blueprint may be ideal for living spaces, it doesn’t and shouldn’t suit music. Music is meant to project individual creations to the world, not blur the lines of people into one big ball that can easily be circumscribed as the ideal for everyone. The minute any genre can be made fun of simply through compressing dozens of its acts into a small box, something is certainly wrong. Hopefully, this is just a short bumble and not a terrible fall for Warped and the idea of punk on a widespread level.

Dillinger Escape Plan – Milk Lizard (live at Warped Tour):