They’ve been a band for more than 13 years, releasing five albums and winning over an army of overly devoted fans in the process. But all that could soon be a distant memory, because it looks like Weezer might never make another album again.
Last week, MTV News spoke to the band before the launch of its co-headlining tour with the Foo Fighters (see “Weezer, Foos Bring Arena-Rock Spectacle To Foozer (WeeFighters?) Tour Kickoff” ), and the guys were more than candid about a whole host of subjects, including the fact that Make Believe could very well be their final LP.
“We have no idea if we’re going to be a band next year. That’s the fun of being in Weezer,” guitarist Brian Bell laughed. “That’s why we put out albums every three years, and we have these dark periods where we don’t know if we’re even going to be a band anymore. But I always have this gut feeling that everything will take care of itself, one way or the other, and it always does.”
The whole topic sprang from a discussion about the contents of the Make Believe liner notes, in particular one page that contains the following quote, taken from William Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”: “This rough magic/ I here abjure, and, when I have required/ Some heavenly music, which even now I do/ To work mine end upon their senses that/ This airy charm is for, I’ll break my staff/ Bury it certain fathoms in the earth/ And deeper than did ever plummet sound/ I’ll drown my book.”
On one hand, it’s easy to chalk the quote up as yet another vaguely empty/vaguely grandiose gesture by a bunch of rock stars, kind of like Led Zeppelin’s J.R.R. Tolkien obsession or Coldplay filling their new album with the Baudot Code (see “Coldplay’s Album Cover Decoded (And You Thought The Lyrics Were Geeky …)” ). But upon closer inspection, it takes on a different quality. Consider the fact that “The Tempest” is Shakespeare’s final play, and that the quote is taken from the final soliloquy of Prospero, the play’s tragic protagonist, who many scholars see as an incarnation of Shakespeare himself. It comes at the end of the play, as Prospero is renouncing his past and saying farewell to the audience, which many see as Shakespeare laying his pen down and bidding his fans adieu.
And because of all that, it became apparent that there was something more to the quote. Could it be Weezer’s way of saying goodbye on the sly?
“When we were putting the album together and finishing up the artwork, I didn’t know what was going to happen in the future, and I told everyone that. I told them, ’Let’s commit to this year, and see what happens,’ ” frontman Rivers Cuomo said. “And that was one of the reasons why I put that quote in there, because I thought it’s a really nice way to say goodbye, if it is a goodbye.”
“When I saw that quote, I thought the same thing. I was studying Shakespeare at a university during the making of Make Believe, and it did spark some concern, and I asked Rivers about it,” Bell added. “We never directly say, ’So, does this mean this is our last record? What does this mean?’ But I know he took Shakespeare too, and maybe it struck a chord with him.”
Weezer’s label, Geffen Records, had no comment on the matter, though it’s worth noting that the band is only committed to tour in support of Make Believe until the end of the year and has no firm plans after that. Weezer have gone on hiatus before — most notably from 1997 to 2000, as Cuomo attended Harvard University and the other members of the band busied themselves with various side projects — but listening to everyone talk now, it doesn’t sound like this is just another long break.
“I don’t know what next year will bring. I have no idea,” Cuomo said. “I can tell you I have a lot of ideas for songs, a lot of things I want to try, and a lot of new ways of writing I want to explore, and I’m very excited about trying all of that.”
“If this really is it for Weezer, I think I’d take some time off, and then me and my lady would move to Las Vegas and start a sort of lounge duo,” bassist Scott Shriner laughed. “So I guess you can look for us in Las Vegas soon.”