After almost a decade of alternating between rocking and studying, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo is finally ready to be fitted for his cap and gown. Well, almost.
In February he’ll return to Harvard University to finish his degree in English Literature, bringing an end to one of the stranger chapters in recent rock memory (or academia, for that matter).
Cuomo had originally enrolled in Harvard way back in 1995, after Weezer wrapped up touring behind their breakthrough, self-titled debut. His original intent was to study music, but he eventually switched his major to English, dropping out two semesters short of graduation as Weezer released their second album, Pinkerton. In summer 2004, he announced — via a post on his MySpace blog — that he would be returning to Harvard to finish his degree, stating that he was “finally much closer to reaching [his] potential” (see “Weezer Frontman Posts Unusual College-Application Essay On Web Site” ).
But before he returned, he and the rest of Weezer had begun sessions in earnest for their fifth album, Make Believe, and in Cuomo’s absence, the band continued to work with (and without) producer Rick Rubin. Last September they announced that the new album was nearly finished, and only awaited some additional vocal work from Cuomo, which he recorded when he completed his semester at Harvard (see “Weezer Album Nearly Done — But First, Rivers Has To Finish His Homework” ).
But even as Make Believe debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart — the band’s highest-ever bow — Cuomo still maintained that he was planning to return to Harvard again to finish his degree, a fact that left many — including the other members of Weezer — to ponder just what the future of the band would hold (see “Are Weezer Calling It Quits?” ).
“I’m pretty sure that after we wrap up our tour with the Foo Fighters, we’re planning on going to Japan for a few shows, as a way to end up the year. And after that, who knows?” guitarist Brian Bell told MTV News last month. “I think Rivers is pretty adamant about going back to Harvard, I know that. And I think I might spend some time in Hawaii and continue doing exactly what I’m doing.”
Harvard’s spring term begins February 1, and when Weezer appeared on Howard Stern’s radio show earlier this week, Cuomo said he plans on living in an on-campus dorm at the university and that he’s currently three classes short of completing his undergraduate degree.
For more on Weezer, check out the feature “Distraction Subtraction.”