After two years of living in seclusion, Matt Sharp is returning with a debut
solo album he hopes won't be overshadowed by his lawsuit against Weezer.
Sharp is suing his former band over compensation for "Undone (The Sweater
Song)," most of Pinkerton and a few other songs he claims to have
co-written (see "Former Weezer Bassist
Matt Sharp Sues Band Over Royalties").
"The songwriting stuff is a very small part" of the lawsuit, Sharp insisted.
"Legal speak is not human speak, and it's real easy not to get a good idea
of what it's really about," he said. "All I can tell you is I found out some
things recently about their actions that really changed the whole thing and,
all in all, really broke my heart. They left me no choice than to have to
deal with it this way."
Sharp, who formed the Rentals as a side project in 1994 but never returned
to Weezer after 1996's Pinkerton, said there are many misconceptions
about his relationship with Weezer, the biggest being that he quit the band.
"It's simply not true," he said. "In no way did I ever walk away from those
guys, quit or leave Weezer."
When contacted Wednesday, Weezer had no comment, standing by their original
statement that they would rather address the lawsuit in court than in the
Whether a settlement can be reached before the matter reaches a courtroom,
Sharp refused to speculate. One thing is for certain, he won't be rejoining
the band as he claims to have been lead to believe when Mikey Welsh
mysteriously left last fall. Weezer are ecstatic about new bassist Scott
Shriner, and besides, Sharp isn't so sure he would fit in with the band's
current sound anyway.
"I don't have much in common with what they're doing anymore, probably. I
have no idea, I haven't heard any of that stuff," Sharp said. "It's a
These days Sharp is playing sparse acoustic songs he wrote in a small
recording studio in tiny Leipers Fork, Tennessee. The Rentals, whose second
album of quirky pop, Seven More Minutes, was released in 1999 (see
Rentals Record"), are no longer, Sharp said.
The singer/multi-instrumentalist is mastering his self-titled album in Los
Angeles this week and will begin shopping it to labels this summer. "I'm
looking for people who aren't going to judge me by what I've done, but by
what I'm doing," Sharp said. "I mean, you definitely can't be pogoing to
Aside from a bit of organ, Matt Sharp was recorded with just an
acoustic guitar no bass, drums or keyboards. The spare music
coincides with Sharp's simple and somber lyrics.
"The goal before going to Leipers was just to make something that doesn't
have so many walls between what you are trying to say and what the person is
listening to, how they take it in," Sharp explained. "Realizing you don't
need orchestras and 5 million guitars and bashing drums and 20 tracks of
Moog and all this stuff just to tell a girl she is breaking your heart, or
whatever you are trying to say."
The setting for the sessions, a farmhouse without a television and
surrounded by open fields, had a lot to do with Sharp's new sound. "It was a
pretty romantic time," he said. "It can drive you crazy, but it was a
fabulous place just to do a lot of thinking. You're left to your own
devices. Re-asking a lot of the same questions I hadn't asked in a while.
'What is it that turns you on?' Those kinds of questions."
Looking back, Sharp regrets separating himself so much from the rest of the
world, especially now that he has been back performing, playing small
unannounced shows around the West Coast with former Cake guitarist Greg
"It's very difficult in retrospect to understand why you haven't done this,"
Sharp said. "You go out and be with cool people who are moved by music into
the same things as you. To deny yourself of that for a long time is really
odd. I'm like, 'Ahhh, OK, I don't know why I did that.' "
Matt Sharp track list, according to Sharp:
- "All Those Dreams"
- "Just Like Movie Stars"
- "Every Time in Blue"
- "Goodbye West Coast"
- "Visions of Anna"
- "Let Me Pass"
- "Watch the Weather Break"
- "After the Angels Pass"
- "Thoughts from a Slow Train"
- "Before You Go"