Weezer Plan New LP Without Sharp

Pop-rock band has replacement lined up to record next album.

Claiming that bassist Matt Sharp has his priorities out of whack, Pat Wilson,

drummer with the Southern California pop-rock group Weezer, confirmed

Thursday that Sharp is all but officially out of the band.

"Matt needs to concentrate on the Rentals, and we need to make our record,"

Wilson said from his home in Portland, Ore. "I think it is likely that we will make it

without Matt."

A source close to the Weezer camp said last Wednesday that Sharp is leaving

to concentrate on his other band, the Rentals, full time. Meanwhile, Weezer has

been rehearsing tunes for their forthcoming, untitled album with Mikey Welsh,

who had played bass for power-pop songstress Juliana Hatfield. Wilson said he

and the rest of the band are happy with Welsh and are close to naming him as

Sharp's replacement.

There has been no official word from either Geffen Records, which represents

Weezer, or Maverick Records, which represents the Rentals. But Wilson said he

believes that Sharp's fate will be officially revealed soon, as Weezer is on the

verge of recording the next album.

Weezer, best known for the whimsical alt-rock hits "Buddy Holly" and "Undone --

The Sweater Song," have also been practicing with a few other bass players

since January. Steve McDonald, formerly of Redd Kross, was one potential

replacement for Sharp, Wilson added.

"Steve is great, and he's an awesome bass player," he said. "If we were going

to be more into an instrumental focus, I think that Steve would be a nice fit,

because he's so creative. But I think with the current outlook and the way our

ensemble works, I think we need more of a foundation-style bass player."

Explaining why he feels that Weezer and Sharp have come to a crossroads,

Wilson said the bassist is avoiding having to pick between Weezer and the

Rentals. "Matt just doesn't want to deal with it, and I think he's ... basically

stringing us along. I don't have any problems saying that, because if someone

is really doing that, they should be able to face it."

Sharp, who is currently in the studio remixing the new Rentals album (Aug. 25),

was not available for comment. His fans were, however.

"I know Weezer hasn't broken up, but Matt was my favorite member," wrote Mike

Keating, 14, from Dracut, Mass., in an e-mail. "However, I do respect Matt's

decision, and I love the Rentals almost as much as I do Weezer."

But Sharp is not the only Weezer member who has struck out on his own.

Wilson himself is juggling two bands at once. Two years ago, he started the

Special Goodness and made a record that is currently in the hands of Rock

Records, a Japanese label. Rock Records is working out a deal with Wilson to

release the album in Japan, he said. Still, Wilson said he will not have to tour to

support the album, so the project will not get in the way of Weezer.

Meanwhile, Weezer have already written eight songs for their next album. "I've

written four songs myself, and there are some songs that [singer] Rivers

[Cuomo] has brought to us that we've fleshed out together. It'll probably be a 12-

song album.

"It's going to rock, and I think it will be more focused than the last record. If we

can somehow put everyone's abilities together, [the band] will be a bigger thing

than it used to be."

Adding to Weezer's pressures are the fact that they may be feeling the weight of

coming up with another hit record like their double-platinum debut. Weezer's

sophomore effort, Pinkerton, lacked the pop-sensibility of the group's first

record. Still,

Wilson, who said the band is not feeling any pressure from Geffen, added that

he feels "pressure for us to make a record that we like."

For Weezer to release an album this year, the band (which also includes

guitarist Brian Bell) will have to head into the studio by June. However, with

Sharp's position in the band still undecided, those plans could be delayed,

Wilson added.

Nadia Lachance, an 18-year-old fan from Jefferson City, Mo., said she is still

getting over the news that Sharp was likely out of the band. "Once I got over the

denial of Matt Sharp being gone, I was really angry, because to me, Weezer will

never be the same. But now that I've heard a little more about Mikey and what

he's like, I'm really excited about seeing him and meeting him when they tour

next."