At the moment, Rivers Cuomo could not be further removed from the other members of Weezer.
He's sitting in his in-laws' house in southern Japan, fiddling with his wife's guitar ("She never learned how to play it," he laughed) and leafing through his composition book, talking about the songs he's been writing over the past few months.
"All this year, I've been feeling pretty creative and excited, so I've been writing a lot," Cuomo said. "I don't know what'll happen with these songs — if anything — I just sort of write them and I can't stop. I certainly don't see them becoming Weezer songs, and I don't really see the point of a solo career. So we'll just have to see."
To be honest, Cuomo is in no hurry to figure things out. In the past month, he has graduated from Harvard (completing an on-again, off-again decade-long run at the university;
see "Rivers Cuomo: Coming To A Dorm Room Near You?") and gotten married. But Cuomo hasn't stopped working — not even on his honeymoon.
"Actually our honeymoon has been one of the best times to write," he said. "At 1 p.m., I get on my crazy Japanese bike and ride for 10 minutes down to the mega-mall, and on the third floor they have all these studios you can rent for five bucks an hour, with drums and a soundboard and everything. So I go in there and work, and when I'm done, I exit into the midst of a Japanese mega-mall."
Some of the tunes Cuomo has been recording are autobiographical. "Heart Songs" is about all the artists and records that have influenced him, "From Gordon Lightfoot's '[The Wreck of the] Edmund Fitzgerald' when I was 5 to Nirvana's Nevermind." Others are just plain nonsensical: "Our Time Will Come" is his ode to the underachieving U.S. men's soccer team.
But again, he's writing them for no one in particular.
While Cuomo isn't exactly at odds with anyone in his band, and all three current members — guitarist Brian Bell, bassist Scott Shriner and drummer Pat Wilson — did serve as groomsmen at his June wedding, he's not exactly speaking to them every day, either. And while Weezer frequently take breaks in-between albums, there is a sense of finality this time, especially given the events of last year, which included the bittersweet farewell Cuomo included in the liner notes of their Make Believe album (see "Are Weezer Calling It Quits?").
"Well, the band is all back in Los Angeles, and I sometimes I speak with Patrick, and I occasionally e-mail with Brian and Scott, but we've never mentioned getting together," Cuomo said. "Really, for the moment, we are done. And I'm not certain we'll ever make a record again, unless it becomes really obvious to me that we need to do one."
And if that does mean that Weezer are finished, can fans expect some sort of career-spanning greatest-hits comp? Well, not if Cuomo has anything to do with it.
"It's being discussed with the record company right now, but we have to sign off before they can do anything. And to be honest, we don't all see eye-to-eye on it," he said.
"I'm not convinced that we have a greatest-hits album that is worth putting out at this point," he added. "I'd like to include two more amazing songs on there. And anything else would just seem lazy to me. We'll see, though. I don't really feel comfortable with it now."
For more on Weezer, check out the feature "Weezer: Distraction Subtraction."