July 2005, one month after I graduated high school, Weezer was on the cover of Alternative Press magazine. Their new album “Make Believe” was recently released, and after much turmoil within the band during recent years, in the interview they discussed the many levels of dysfunction between the band members. River Cuomo, like the lead singers of many bands that break from obscurity into stardom, went through a period of unrest and Weezer took a long hiatus between albums; ending that hiatus with the release of Make Believe.
I began college two months later, taking that issue of Alternative Press with me. I cut out the final four paragraphs of that article and pinned it on the bulletin board at my desk; and it has been there ever since. (It’s traveled to the bulletin board of three dorm rooms, one fabulous house, and to my current apartment.)
Like in most Alternative Press articles written by Jason Pettigrew (who has since graduated from Music Editor to Editor in Chief), the finale of the article is subtle yet effective in combining the themes and stories from the previous pages. The final portion of this article, the part that I’ve kept with me all these years, changed my personal perceptions about writing and, consequentially, my intended journey through college. This passage made me want to write; knowing that the only way I could aspire to someday be able to write like Pettigrew did in this article was to keep writing.
When you read it, it may not seem so profound. But – to each, his own.
So without further adieu, here’s the end of the article that has had a major impact on my life; specifically, I find the final two paragraphs to be of great importance.
“The final conversation with Bell for this article takes place at the band’s management office. At one point, we end up watching a muted TV set in the corner turned to Fuse. The clip for “We’re All To Blame” by Sum 41 shows up. There’s a lot of Solid Gold- inspired dancing. Bell says something about how Weezer had that idea first, at which point he’s informed that he original idea that Spike Jones had for using Public Enemy jester Flavor Flav as Weezer’s back up singer in the video for “El Scorcho” was later used by Taking Back Sunday. Bell has never seen the Taking Back Sunday video, but the reason he thinks videos like “El Scorcho” work conceptually for Weezer is because they operate under the unsaid rule of only using one setup. He dismisses the idea he has for “Beverly Hills” because it would require more than one set up. (The band ended up shooting at the Playboy Mansion.) This is precisely the ways fans have always treated Weezer: They’re a band you loved based on very specific conditions. Make Believe works best when the idea is reversed."
"The treatment Bell had for the video is loosely based around some reality-TV show it’s doubtful anyone with a college education ever watches. In the clip that will never be, the members of Weezer are all subject to severe makeovers: The way they look physically changes completely by the final scene. It’s a little too complex and metaphorical for a song that sounds like a soda commercial, which may explain why, the first time Bell foes over the concept in his manager’s office, it sinks. But then he explains it again, this time including the ending, which is sort of brilliant, in a typically Weezer way. By the clips conclusion, the members of Weezer all reveal themselves and their new looks except Cuomo. He still appears exactly the way he did when the video started."
So, everyone changes but him?
“Right, except for Rivers,” Bell beams, staring out the window at the diming sun and the still line of palm trees. “He’s not allowed to change.”