Last year, Pamela and I were members of Weezer for a couple of hours. I blogged about it on MySpace, but I forgot that there are people (Mom!) who read this blog but are not on MySpace. So here are the Weezer posts:
* * *
Monday, June 23, 2008
So on a whim I sent an e-mail to try out for this hootenanny tour Weezer is doing. Pam got the bulletin on MySpace announcing the band's intention to do an old folk-style hootenanny tour, recording each show, and choosing the best tracks for a future release. I didn't think much of it. Believe it or not, I have a low opinion of my musical skills (which is probably why I don't promote my MySpace music site.)
I sent the e-mail, promising to bring my mandolin of picked (the rules include bringing instruments you can easily carry, and I figured everyone and his dog would be submitting with guitars) and linking to the aforementioned MySpace music site.Well, I got picked. So tomorrow Pamela and I will be whisked away to an ultra-secret location (she's my plus one.)
The problem is, I'm no where near as confident on the mando as I am on the guitar. And see above statement re: my opinion of my musical skills.
So I've spent most of the weekend boning up on my mando skills (with brief breaks here and there to edit my "Pin-Up Girls" draft, work on a puppet, and see Get Smart). Thankfully, they picked easy songs for the hootenanny ("Pork and Beans", "Islands in the Sun", Radiohead's "Creep", "Say it Ain't So", "El Scorcho", and "Beverly Hills") and I believe I have finally mastered the F-sharp-minor chord for mandolin.
I'm strangely not nervous about tomorrow, in part because Weezer is so cool. The way I look at it, it takes massive cajones to open up the band to a group of (mostly, I assume) amateur musicians. Name one other modern pop band that has done anything even remotely like this. It's nuts. So the boys in the band are either insane, or they're genuinely open and welcoming individuals. Possibly a combination of all three. So I imagine tomorrow will hold a pretty laid-back atmosphere, lots of laughs, and an over all good time.And for one brief, shining moment, I will be an auxillary member of Weezer. Sort of. In a way.
So it's time to pack up the mando, smooch Pammy once again for pushing me to send that e-mail (okay, it wasn't exactly a whim) and get a good night's sleep.
I'll be sure to let you all know how it went!(P.S. If you haven't purchased the Red Album yet, for crying out loud DO SO! It's by far their best album yet, and may be the best pop album of the year. Well, at least until John Mayer's new one drops next month. Seriously, though -- This album kicks all kinds of ass.)
We arrived at the 20th Century Fox parking structure a little early, and wound up standing around for an hour waiting for the busses to begin ferrying us to the soundstage.
This video was shot shortly before we showed up. There was a lot of impromptu jamming over the course of the day.
In typical Hollywood fashion, there was much "hurry up and wait" between our arrival and finally sitting down Indian style in the soundstage.
This hootenanny was videotaped as part of the Nissan Live Sets series of concerts, brought to you by Yahoo! So the official video will be up, hopefully before too long. We were forbidden from bringing in cameras -- even cell phones -- so there is precious little in the way of images I can share.
But I can try to paint a picture.
Pamela and I were seperated. I was put closer to Rivers (about eight feet in front of him) on the floor, and Pamela was about the same distance from Pat (the drummer.) Brian Bell was on a platform to my right, Scott was to my left. I was hemmed in by Weezers!
The boys in the band are just plain folks. Just as I had thought they would be. They conversed with the fans in their immediate vicinity, laughed, goofed off, etc. When it was work time, they were focused on the task at hand. We ran through the set list, nailing just about every song on the first take. (We did two takes of "Creep" due to feedback issues.) Between songs, these spontaneous jams broke out, and the guys would join in. Jams on "Surfwax", "Troublemaker", and a couple of others. Rivers seemed to enjoy these the most ... I imagine it's because the spontenaity of the jam is the perfect embodiment of the hootenanny spirit.
After "Say it Ain't So" Rivers thanked us and told us "You're all officially Weezers now. You're all in the band." And Scott reiterated this later. That was pretty cool.
The songs in the set sounded just freaking awesome. Aside from having more guitars than Los Lobos, we had melodicas, glockenspiels, kazoos, accordians, a full horn section ... it was truly a smorgasboard of handheld instruments. When we all fired up at once, like the on chorus of "Pork and Beans", it was a thunderous, rapturous wall of sound. A folk symphony if ever there was one.
For the (orginal) members of Weezer, I'd say, "Hootenanny for the win!" Fantastic idea, and a true pleasure to be a part of. And I can't wait to hear the finished product.
Here we are:
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Whatever Happened to Jennifer Ward?
Current mood: thoughtful
There are some people you meet who you take an instant liking to. People who can increase the quality of life just by being in the same room with you. Jennifer "Skippy" Ward was one such person for Pamela and me.
Today Nissan Live Sets on Yahoo! will present the Weezer Hootenanny that Pamela and I attended a couple of weeks back. And I can't think of Weezer without thinking of Jennifer Ward. She was a HUGE fan of the Weez, back before it was cool.
I know Jennifer had some health issues. The word through the grapevine (via Brian) is that she ran out of options, went to Africa for a last ditch cure, and most likely passed away.
But I don't know what actually happened to her! Maybe the last ditch cure worked, and she's living a wonderful life somewhere. Possibly not. Either way, I would like to know with some certainty "what happened."
At any rate, it's traditional for a band member to put acknowledgements in the liner notes. So here are mine, as a temporary Weezer:
Thanks to Jennifer Ward for turning me on to this scrappy little band all those years ago. Thanks to Kae Ellen for carrying the Weezer torch. And thanks to Pammy for a wonderful Christmas present, and for encouraging me to apply to the Hootenanny.
* * *
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Current mood: excited
The videos are finally posted! I'm mid-second draft of the play I'm writing, so I haven't watched them all yet. You can find the whole enchilada here. I see they included one of our "intermission jams," the song "Jamie."
For your viewing pleasure, if MySpace allows it (they are so weird about embeds!) Here's "Pork and Beans" by the Weezers, all 254 of us:
* * *
It was such a thrill to be a part of this experience. I was contacted a few months later to rejoin the band for their concert at the Forum. Pam and I had tickets for that show, so I reluctantly said "nah." But I have to tell you, as much as I enjoyed watching, I really wanted to be on stage with them.