Friday, February 25, 2011

Back When Audioslave Was Still Rage

I'm jumping ahead a little, but one thing I've learned over the last few months is that all Weezer fans have a "Weezer story." My friend Zack from Chicago, for example, thinks of his father, who passed away, whenever he hears Weezer (specifically In the Garage). His dad introduced him to the Blue Album and they used to listen together, which is part of why their music is so meaningful to him. My other friend, Crystal from Wisconsin, associates Weezer and the Blue Album with finding her own strong, independent female voice. She'd have to explain her story, but the point is, we all have a Weezer story. Whenever I meet a fellow fan, I almost always ask, "What's your Weezer story?" Never fail, every Weezer fan has one.

I guess my Weezer story starts back in 1991, and it actually starts with Hole. As in, Courtney Love. Yeah, that Hole. September 1991 was a time of transition for me. I was 13 years old, just starting high school as a freshman. I got contacts, was learning how to manage my crazy curly hair (step 1 = stop hairspraying my bangs into a giant tidal wave), and I was starting to figure out how to be comfortable with who I was.

Now, I've always been different. When I say different, what I mean is, I've always stood out. Literally. I was always at least a head taller than all the other kids in my class my entire life. By the time I was 13, I was 6-ft-3. I stopped growing in 1993, at age 16. I was (and still am) 6-ft-5.

So... during this time of transition, in addition to changing my hair and my glasses, I also stopped listening to Milli Vanilli and Vanilla Ice and started listening to this crazy, angry, vulgar band called Hole. Keep in mind, this was before I heard of Nirvana -- although Hole's Pretty On the Inside and Nevermind came out around the same time, I heard Hole first. I'm just pointing this out to give you some context. So you know what's coming, but it hadn't come yet.

Anyway, I had never heard anything so empowering as Hole. This bitch was clearly different and didn't give a fuck who knew it. "When I was a teenage whore, my mother asked me she said baby what for?" "I've seen your repulsion and it looks real good on you." "And every one of you looks the same. And every one of you feels the same." Wow. Respect. She was a mutant and she was proud. I wanted to be just like her.

Things just got better and better for oddball me from there. Starting high school in 1991 was one of the luckiest breaks someone like me could have gotten. First came Courtney, then came Kurt, then Pearl Jam, Live, Green Day, Weezer, etc. Because of these guys, being different became a good thing. Everybody wanted to be different. The jocks started growing their hair out, wearing ripped up jeans and flannels and starting bands. The blonde preppy bitches started dying their hair purple and trying to be my friends. Pretty people started wearing glasses to look more nerdy. Everyone shopped at thrift stores. It was a wonderful time to be different.

Me? I didn't even have to try. I was freakishly tall, thin, and pale, with severe features and naturally black hair. I wore band t-shirts and my dad's old "vintage" pants because no other pants were long enough. Because being different was what was in style in the 90s, high school was a breeze for a mutant like me. I was no longer getting picked last in P.E., cute seniors were asking me out as a sophomore, I was on student council, voted "Most Unique" in our yearbook, etc. etc.

Getting back to Weezer... I got the Blue Album as soon as it came out in 1994. I was either a junior or a senior. I loved Buddy Holly, the Sweater Song, and Say It Ain't So, along with everyone else. My best friend at the time and I used to drive around in her '67 powder blue Camaro (her with her platinum or burgundy hair and baby doll dresses, and me with my black nails and Doc Martens - woohoo unisex sizes!) listening to Weezer, Hole, Babes In Toyland, PJ Harvey, Beck and the Pixies. Our music philosophy was the same as our style philosophy: "The weirder the better."

The summer after I graduated high school in 1995 was probably the happiest summer of my life. I remember my friends Allison, Rex, Yasmien, Max and I drove to the lake one time SCREAMING the words to Say It Ain't So in unison the whole way there. (Right before stripping down to our underwear, jumping in the lake, and playing truth or dare). It was a happy, carefree time, and it was a good time to be different.

Like I said, my Weezer obsession didn't start until I was 32 (last Sep). But my love of Weezer started in 1994, with the Blue Album. And Hole and Nirvana. Originally, for me, Weezer was just a small piece of the beautiful, blessed, lucky weirdness that was the 90s. Little did I know, that was only the beginning. :)


  1. I feel so oddly jealous that you had friends that really loved Weezer...I just had Sue and we kinda kept it on the dl lol since our friends were REALLY not into it! I love, love that you were such a trendsetter :)

  2. See, out of my friends, there's only one fan of Weezer, and she's in Canada, so as it stands, I'm the only one with flying the weezie flag! But for me, my Weezer story is that I've always been into bands whose music I have been able to connect to, on some level. There have been a fair few I've been into, but it has been fleeting and soon after I'd find myself searching again! Now Weezer I knew of, I just hasn't actively listened to. When I finally heard Blue and Pinkerton properly, I was hooked.
    Now this only happened about a year or so ago. Was playing some music at work from my managers ipod, and saw blue on their so I played it. I found myself listening to it more often, then went out and got blue and pinkerton. I remembered reading about how pinkerton was this amazing album but one that was critically dismissed at the time. Even from my first listen, I couldn't see why.
    From there I found myself listening to their music with a sense of hunger, like I needed to hear it! I'd have the albums on repeat for days, I would read about Weezer and the stories around songs, albums, band members and fans. There was and is so much more to Weezer than just the music, and I love this fact with a passion!
    I remember reading about the memories tour and a passing thought creeped into my head - "how cool would it be to see those shows?" I gave up hoping because all the shows were in America. I think it was my sister who suggested i just go anyway! So I began researching the trip, and within a month had booked it all and was ready to go: I was gonna see Weezer, in Chicago, playing Blue and Pinkerton. Words could not describe my excitement! Especially because I ordered VIP packs... I would get to meet the band!
    From there, I searched twitter for others who would be going to those shows, and that is how I met you, Claudia! At the show! And what a show. For my first time in America, its gonna take some beating! Was the best week of my life. Such amazing shows, such amazing fans.

    I hope this message was coherent! Haha

  3. Kyoko - I wouldn't say I had friends that "loved" Weezer. They just liked the music that was popular on the radio at the time, which happened to be Weezer. They were no where near as "passionate" as I am now. Hell, I was nowhere near as passionate about them as I am now.

  4. Tabraz - I think it's amazing that you took such a huge leap - going overseas and putting so much money and energy into doing something to make yourself happy. I'm glad you had an amazing time, and I'm so glad I got to share some of that experience with you. Can you imagine how great it's going to be for Kyoko in NJ in May???