I’ve been listening to a lot of Weezer in the last couple of weeks as I write my song. I always land on the first two albums, the Blue Album and Pinkerton for my inspiration. I’ve wondered if I can really call myself a Weezer fan when I only really listen to two of the six Weezer albums, but the more I talked to Weezer fans, including Tim, the more I realize I am not alone. So what happened to Weezer?
Weezer took an extended break in 1997 after touring with the Pinkerton album, and when the returned a few years later, they had lost bassist and back-up vocalist Matt Sharp. When the Green Album came out in 2000, it brought increased band popularity with a younger fanbase, but mixed reviews from old Weezer fans. For those of us who poured over Pinkerton and had to buy multiple discs of the Blue Album because we had worn them out (happened twice to me), there was something different about Weezer in 2000, and I don’t think it was just the abrasive single Hash-Pipe.
Could Matt Sharp’s absence have changed the band so much? As a bassist, I really think so. He is an extremely emotive bassist that fills space really well. The nature of Weezer’s songs leave lots of room, and Sharp was remarkably adept at making his basslines matter. Also, those of us who remember watching Weezer on Letterman play Say it Ain’t So on the Letterman in 1995 (I remember what I was wearing!), know that Matt Sharp delivered one of the coolest bass performances that we had seen up to that time. Remember, in rock/pop, alternative music up until Weezer (with the exception of Flea), it was all about dark clothes, long hair, and bassist who stood in the back and bobbed their heads. Then there is this:
Our friend Steve Goold is an advocate for musical passion. I tend to think that Matt Sharp’s passion is hard to quantify, but makes a huge difference in the early Weezer years over and against their more recent work.