11 Bands Who Wouldn’t Be Here Without Weezer
None of the easy labels are right for Weezer. Calling them emo neglects their syrupy hard rock riffs and classic approach; calling them alternative rock does no justice to their perfectly-crafted song structures and straightforward honesty; calling them pop-punk makes them sound bouncier and less self-aware than they always were. At the end of the day, there’s just no other genre that scratches the itch that only Weezer can reach.
That concentrated specificity has clearly had countless effects on music of all of the aforementioned genres as it’s slowly dispersed its influence over the years – so we look at 11 bands whose music owes a great deal to the Los Angeles geek rock heroes…
On the surface, SWMRS are a bit more rhythm-driven and stony than Weezer. But there’s so much that the former band has done that the latter paved the way for: vulnerable party rock, low-to-the-ground pop culture appreciation, the big issues of the world as seen through some weirdo kids from California. Just because Weezer started in the garage doesn’t mean they never went skating at Venice Beach.
Jacksonville nu-metal stars Cold don’t just share sonic similarities with Weezer, they share writer’s credits. Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo was actually an intrinsic part of writing Cold’s big hit Stupid Girl. “When Rivers started the song, he was like, ‘Yeah, it sounds like Weezer on acid, dude,’” Cold mastermind Scooter told Kerrang!. “And he goes, ‘It’s a little darker than a Weezer song, but I get where you’re going. Let me have it a couple days and see what I come up with, and then let’s get together and get on this.’”
UK alternative trio Puppy definitely wouldn’t have their mixture of metallic hard-rock riffs and glittery pop choruses without Weezer before them. But they also embody Rivers and co.’s classic atmosphere of a crew of friends making fun rock’n’roll out of their garage.
“We started going heavier primarily because we all loved it, and because it’s a lot more fun to play,” drummer Billy Howard told Kerrang! when the band visited Brooklyn to play their first American show. “There are a lot more directions you can go, and you can play harder and louder, and it’s a lot more dynamic.”
If not for their surfishness, Culture Abuse might be just another party rock band. But that little slice of the beach present in their sound makes their music just that much exciting. That’s an atmosphere that Weezer injected hard into their music from Surf Wax America onwards. Now, which band’s music sounds the most like the soundtrack to a slow-mo scene at the end of an indie movie – there’s a challenge.
Vulnerable verse, invincible chorus – that’s what Dead Soft owe to Weezer. The Canadian indie-punk trio always manage to include a high-impact hook in their songs, even if they sound plunky and suburban otherwise.
“I think the first time I heard Weezer was when my older sister put In The Garage on a mix tape she made for me when I was a kid,” says frontman Nathaniel Epp. “At the time I was into a lot of heavy music, lots of cheesy metal stuff that I would later denounce and then learn to love again, but at the time hearing those heavy thick distorted guitars with sweet poppy melodies and lyrics about being a sensitive weirdo was definitely a revelation.”
It definitely sounds like FIDLAR had more fun in high school than Weezer. The party-punk quartet sing way more about smoking weed and skulling coldies than Rivers Cuomo ever has. But their massive, infectious songs also detail the inherent awkwardness and self-doubt that comes with that kind of lifestyle – stuff Weezer know all about. Not an obvious connection, which makes it all the more interesting when you notice it.
The easy way that Weezer helped with Joyce Manor’s development is their popularization of emo as a whole. More specifically, though, Weezer kept things low to the ground; even their sweeping declarations of love took place in a strip mall parking lot or a beach town near your parents’ summer house. Joyce Manor channel that tangible human side of punk, until you can almost imagine the pilled-up upholstery on the couch in their basement bedroom.
Bomb The Music Industry!
BTMI’s Jeff Rosenstock would probably have something snarky to say about his ska band’s inclusion on this list. But that’s kind of why they’re on here – Bomb The Music Industry! have always operated with a certain aggressive self-awareness, calling out the scene while simultaneously filling it with big, hooky anthems. That same eye-roll/wink combo is found throughout Weezer’s music as they acknowledge the normie players behind their bitchin’ jams.
Not only do Toronto punks PUP owe much of their sound to Weezer, but their subject matter also has a Rivers-esque vibe. On songs like Morbid Stuff, the band confront darkness and anger with a fun, almost self-deprecating realism. When frontman Stefan Babcock yells, ‘I was bored as fuck!’ at the start of Morbid Stuff, it evokes a similar vibe to when Rivers sings, ‘This is beginning to hurt’ at the opening of Getchoo. Brothers in arms, for sure.
Read this: A loving look back at PUP’s career
The Dirty Nil
Though their sound jangles a lot harder than Weezer’s thick emo riffs, Canadian hard rockers The Dirty Nil are obvious disciples of Pinkerton. One listen to guitarist/vocalist Luke Bentham’s howled humanisms, and you can hear what the band learned along the way. Given their appreciation for late ’70s rock and early ’80s metal, it’s almost like these dudes are how Weezer secretly always wanted to sound.
Long Island’s oso oso are probably the contemporary band on this list who channel what people most think of as Weezer’s classic vibe. While the bravado and confidence of later records albums isn’t really present, that born-to-lose normality from the first three albums shines through in spades. The more one listens to oso oso, the more they’re surprised that Weezer didn’t come from Long Island.
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