“We’ve Figured Out A Way To Keep Weezer Awesome” – Scott Shriner
The kings of alt.rock are riding high on the back of their latest album and UK tour…
Words: George Garner
Hot on the heels of releasing their brilliant new 4K-rated ‘White Album‘, Weezer have also just completed their first UK shows in a long, long time. At both dates at Manchester Academy and London’s O2 Academy Brixton, the kings of geek-rock delivered a host of classics, rarities and killer new songs to a rapturous reception. We caught up with =w= bassist Scott Shriner to find out about life in Weezer circa-2016…
How are you doing today, good sir?
Scott Shriner: “We’re good man, we’re really enjoying being in the UK, being in London and having a blast. I wish we were playing more shows! It feels like we’re in a really good place right now. Rivers [Cuomo, vocals/guitar] is writing awesome music, I think we’ve kind of figured out a way for us to move forward and keep Weezer awesome. Two [albums] in a row now!”
It felt special in the O2 Academy Brixton – was it special for you?
“Yeah, it really was. We never got a chance to come over here when we released Everything Will Be Alright In The End , and that was a special record for me. And also [it’s good] to be able to play some new songs, which are such a joy to play live. Then there’s the classics, everyone’s singing along – I barely needed to sing or do anything, it was unbelievable. Manchester was insane as well. That was exciting.”
Everyone got a chance to sing/talk in Pork And Beans – Pat Wilson seemed genuinely moved…
“I love Pat so much, and so do the fans. It makes me happy to see him have a moment and share himself with the people – it’s so cool!”
Pat speaks to the O2 Academy Brixton:
Speaking of cool, you looked like a badass with a double-neck bass guitar during the start of Wasteland…
“I’m so happy to play that! I know this may be unpopular but I’m a bit of a prog music fan, like old Genesis and I just feel the quality of musicianship is so high in England. We were talking about ‘why is it English bands are so amazing?’ I don’t know if it’s the schooling, or how serious they take things in their work ethic, but to be able to play a double-neck in England, I was like ‘Man, I got some balls doing this.’”
At least you pulled it off…
When it comes to making a Weezer setlist in 2016, do you agonise about it, or just go with what feels right on the day?
“We have so many classic songs we can play that people love, but I feel we also have a duty to do these songs off the last record and the new album – we just need more time! There’s Perfect Situation and… I can name another 20 songs we could play every night and we’d need another hour.”
Weezer’s O2 Academy Brixton setlist – 05/04/2016:
You also dug deep into the archive by bringing out You Gave Your Love To Me Softly with Brian Bell singing…
“We’ve been doing it on this run, it’s good for Rivers to have a minute to not have to sing, especially after as much work he’s put in on that point. We all like singing so it’s great for us. I think it’s great that Brian’s singing You Gave Your Love… he’s got such a fantastic voice. It’s just a great moment in the set.”
There was another great moment, too: you finally got to play The British Are Coming in England…
“I know! We sort of realised, like, do people in England really even know the story we’re telling? We don’t know if they do or not! Probably not. It’s not something your guys are going to teach in history class, you guys are so studied and normally know American history better than us but I think that part might have been excluded. We did Troublemaker in Manchester and British Are Coming in London. It’s a fantastic song.”
It seems that spirits are very high in the Weezer camp right now?
“I feel like we’re getting on our feet again. It followed a natural progression of us trying to stretch out a bit and try some different things – to see what works and what doesn’t, what we believe in and what we don’t. We found this perfect little blend of what makes Weezer great and then it’s about how we keep it sounding fresh and modern. I think our producer Jake Sinclair was the right man for the job. I know Rivers is continuing to write every day – and he’s singing amazing every day.”
So, you’re seeing him hit a bit of a prolific patch?
“I am right now. I think everybody’s personal lives have gotten into a good groove and Rivers has found a great way to go through the day and function. It took a minute to figure out. He’s a hardworking guy, man, and he really cares a lot. It’s such a huge difference to 2005, or whatever. These last two records have been a big dramatic change and it just keeps improving – we’re all doing our best to be better musicians and bring more to the world. That’s our mission. I feel like I’m tooting my own horn or whatever now…”
Toot away. Finally, do you think we’ll see a full UK tour on the horizon any time soon?
“I don’t know, man. Nothing would make me happier. There’s so many places we’ve not been able to get to in the last few years and I would strongly vote for it. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!”
Weezer’s self-titled 10th album – aka ‘The White Album’ is available now via Atlantic – download it here.