When Weezer first got attention from MTV with 1994’s self-titled album — also known as The Blue Album — the group was viewed as a novelty act of sorts. Hit singles like “Buddy Holly,” “Say It Ain’t So” and “Undone (The Sweater Song)” were mistakenly seen as being comedic by many critics, rather than as examples of smart, original, and memorable guitar-centric rock. Even though the tide of rock radio changed by the time Weezer released its second album, Pinkerton, and would change quite a few more times since then, Weezer is still here. The Los Angeles-based band has scored more than two dozen radio hits in its 25 years as a band, and has recorded three full-length studio efforts within the last four years.
The latest album from Weezer — which consists of vocalist/guitarist Rivers Cuomo, guitarist Brian Bell, bassist Scott Shriner, and drummer Pat Wilson — is Pacific Daydream, as set for an October 27, 2017, release via Atlantic Records partner label Crush Music. A proper follow-up to 2016’s Pacific Daydream, which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Album, Pacific Daydream was produced by Butch Walker. First single “Feels Like Summer” was released many months ago in March, reaching No. 1 on the U.S. alternative radio charts and going on to be Weezer’s biggest radio hit in nearly a decade. “Mexican Fender,” as co-written with Toby Gad, was premiered in August via Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show on Apple Music.
I had the pleasure of speaking with guitarist Brian Bell via phone to learn more about Pacific Daydream. Aside from his work in Weezer, Bell is the frontman of the band The Relationship and occasionally pops up in other projects. More on Bell and Weezer can be found online at www.weezer.com.
Do you have a favorite song on your new record?
Brian Bell: I like all the songs. I think they’re very adventurous and extremely layered. I think there’s something understated and magical about the song “Get Right.” It might be my favorite, but I like them all.
On the last album, I believe you co-wrote “L.A. Girls” and “Endless Bummer.” Did you write anything on the new record?
Brian Bell: No, I just came in with 10 to 12 guitar parts for every song, and about 5 to 10 background vocal ideas.
That sounds like a lot of writing to me. I know that one of the songs you contributed to an earlier Weezer album was previously written for The Relationship. When writing a song, do you know outright whether it is for Weezer or The Relationship?
Brian Bell: No, I just know if it’s a good song. If it gets used [for Weezer], great. If it doesn’t get used, then I’ll use it [for The Relationship]. I’m always interested in what it sounds like when it goes through the Rivers computer, a.k.a. his brain, as opposed to just my own.
What’s coming up for The Relationship in the coming months? I know you put out Clara Obscura a few months ago.
Brian Bell: Nothing is on the horizon. I kind of put it on the backburner so I could focus on Pacific Daydream. Now that that’s been recorded, we have to tour it. I guess I’m gonna start writing. I’m listening a lot and trying to decide what direction to go in next with it. I definitely miss doing it.
Is it true that you might be producing an album for another artist? I believe I read they are called Ultra Sound Edukators.
Brian Bell: That is not true. I did something like that over nine years ago, but no, I’m not interested in producing other artists at this phase of my life.
So finally, Brian, any last words for the kids?
Brian Bell: For the kids? (laughs) All that stuff always sounds corny when you say it, “a word of advice.” I’m just super-grateful that all our Weezer supporters throughout the years, they’re gonna be happy with this new release, Pacific Daydream. I’m very excited by it.
[Featured Image by Jeremy Cowart]