Nearly 25 years after the release of its eponymous “Blue Album,” Weezer is still enjoying success and rocking crowds. Currently, the band is touring behind its eleventh studio album, “Pacific Daydream.”
That tour, which also features alt-rockers Pixies and The Wombats, comes to Bold Sphere Music at Champions Square in New Orleans at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 26.
Though Weezer is known for its rowdy riffs (“Beverly Hills,” “Buddy Holly,” “Hash Pipe”) and genre-pioneering emo tunes (“Say It Ain’t So,” or anything from 1997’s “Pinkerton”), the band is back in the mainstream spotlight because of a social media joke.
In June, Weezer gained its first Billboard Hot 100 hit in nine years with a cover of Toto’s “Africa.” The release came after a Twitter user, @weezerafrica, jokingly encouraged the band to cover the yacht rock band’s 1982 No. 1 hit.
In between tour dates, Weezer bassist Scott Shriner called to discuss the band’s hit cover and staying relevant in 2018.
I liked how the band decided to release a cover of Toto’s “Rosanna” first, then “Africa.”
Shriner: That’s pretty good, right? We had this surprise announcement, and people were like, “What’s it going to be?” Then we released “Rosanna.” We like to keep people guessing. It makes for a more dramatic reveal.
The band stayed true to the songs, too.
It all came down to “how would Weezer play these songs?” That was a little bit straighter, a little more reckless. We wanted to capture the yacht rock spirit of it. It felt different to play that way, and that’s what we enjoyed the most.
When you couple the “Africa” hit with jamming with The Cars at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, this has been a banner year for Weezer. What were you thinking when you were on stage with The Cars?
When (The Cars’ guitarist/songwriter/vocalist) Ric Ocasek asked, I just started hopping up and down. The Cars is one of my all-time favorite bands. I was trying not to smile the entire time.
What was it like when you got the call to play with Weezer?
A kid drives a Honda to Los Angeles from Toledo to try and make it in music, to be a rock star. Before (guitarist/songwriter) Rivers (Cuomo) called me, it was a real struggle. I had been here almost 10 years, trying to find my dream gig. I wouldn’t give up. My mom was begging me to move home. I was like, “No, I need $60 to buy a car battery. I’ll be OK.” I got the call from Rivers, and it was a dream come true.
It feels like the band hasn't stopped since the “Green Album.” How do you keep going? How do you stay relevant and still be Weezer?
We’ve figured out a way. Rivers’ lyrics are the glue. We change our approach and our sound, but Rivers is Rivers. Everybody has such different strengths. It’s like being married. You stick together, work your stuff out, and you’ve just got to be yourself.
With every release, you have die-hard fans saying, “This isn’t old Weezer" or "This doesn’t sound like 'Pinkerton.' "
Yeah, ("Pinkerton" is) an awesome record, but who can stay in one head space and write the same record over and over again? We don’t feel the need to repeat ourselves. We’re looking for a way to always keep growing.
The bank of songs the band can play on stage now is tremendous. Do you have a favorite and least favorite?
Does anyone really want to know my least favorite? Am I allowed to even say that? All right, fine, I’ll just wing it. If we play “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” … I’m cool to not play that song anymore. But it was the last time we were in the Top 100 besides the Toto cover. Live, when we play it, and at the chorus we all scream "girl," and everyone jumps up and screams, that’s a great moment. Whether I enjoy it or not, it’s irrelevant because I’m not up there for me.
My son and I were listening to “Take Control” off (the album) “Maladroit” earlier, and that song really does it for me. I wish we’d play that song again.
“Maladroit” is probably the most underrated Weezer album. When will people get nostalgic for that?
There’s a small group of people who are waving the flag for that album. I’m hoping it’ll come up like how we were doing a few “Blue Album” and “Pinkerton” shows. Right now, though, we’re too busy playing and working on new songs. We’re looking to the future, not the past.
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 26
WHERE: Champions Square, LaSalle Street, New Orleans
COST: $35 and up at ticketmaster.com