I have no idea why, but for some reason, Microsoft included the music video for Weezer’s Buddy Holly single on their Windows 95 installation disc in a folder called ‘Fun Stuff’.
This is the only time you will hear me praise Microsoft, but that was surely the coolest thing the company has ever done. It was through this disc that at the age of 12 or 13, I discovered a band that would be a regular feature on my cassette tapes, then CD collection, then mp3 player and now Spotify and iTunes playlists. I guess that means I’ve been listening to Weezer for around 20 years, a sobering thought! There was something about their crunching, grungy guitars, paired not with the usual long hair and head-banging, but instead with thick-rimmed glasses and cardigans that appealed to me.
A short time thereafter, I was speaking with a friend, Ben Hall, who was 4 or 5 years older than me and into music. It turns out he was a big Weezer fan and had their first album. A couple of weeks later, without warning, a padded envelope arrived at my home addressed to me. I opened it to discover an appropriately blue audio cassette with Weezer’s ‘Blue Album’ recorded onto it. Listening to music on recorded audio cassettes was pretty great, especially when you hit the end of the tape mid-song and had to turn the cassette over in order to continue listening – something my children will never experience!
That tape saw some serious usage and my admiration for Weezer carried on from there and their music is part of the soundtrack of my teenage years, with my band Reptar (we were pretty bad) even covering Buddy Holly.
Fast-forward now to the present day and our new life in California. One of the great things about being here is that so many bands pass through. I wanted to make the most of this and downloaded an app called Songkick, that scans your iTunes and Spotify playlists and tells you which bands are playing in your area. In September and October alone, I was delighted to learn that The Gaslight Anthem, Bob Dylan, Better Than Ezra, Young Rebel Set, Kasabian and, yes, Weezer, were playing in the bay area. While going to several concerts in the space of a few weeks wasn’t really an option(!), Weezer was one that I didn’t want to miss – as far as I had been aware, they had not toured in North East England and I’d never seen them play live.
I sent an email around the team at Apple and five other Weezer fans said they would like to come along to the show in San Jose. The show was great – Weezer performed well and I loved it.
If I were to be critical, I’d say that you could tell that they had been playing some of those songs for 20 years! Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer is now 44 years old. This whole thing had me feeling old. Some of the energy and feeling that had no doubt surrounded the songs at the time of writing must have been drained out over the course of endless gigs spanning decades. Also, they played for just over an hour. The last concert I went to was Bruce Springsteen in Sunderland and he played for three hours, so perhaps I went in with unrealistic expectations! Nevertheless, Weezer will continue to be on my playlists long after iTunes and Spotify have run their course and we’re experiencing music via osmosis or something. Or maybe we’ll go back to those cassette tapes?! The End.