Weezer’s Awkward Red Album Cover Is The Real Deal, ‘Not A Joke’ Publicist Confirms

'It's what they chose,' spokesman says of the photo showing bandmembers dressed as odd stereotypes.

You know the supposed cover for Weezer’s upcoming Red album that hit the Net late Monday? The one that features the band sporting looks that blogs have described as “The New Village People: The Bartender, the Professor, the Cowboy and the Biker” (Pitchfork) and “the four dudes … [hoping] to spread the worst aspects of Williamsburg’s nightlife … to the Best Buy masses” (Idolator)?

Well, despite those glowing reviews — and the creeping suspicion by many Weezer fans that the cover is some sort of elaborate hoax — we can confirm that, yes, that is the actual cover of the band’s third self-titled album, nicknamed Red, which will hit stores on June 24. But no, we’re not sure what the meaning behind Rivers’ “suburban cowboy” look is, either.

“Yes, that’s absolutely the cover,” Jim Merlis, the band’s publicist, told MTV News. “It’s what they chose. They looked at a bunch of mockups, and that’s the one they decided to go with. It’s not a joke.”

Merlis went on to add that he didn’t know what the band was going for when they decided on the Red cover — which was shot by photographer Sean Murphy in his Los Angeles studio. “It’s Weezer, man,” he said. A spokesperson for Weez’s label, DGC, also confirmed the authenticity of the cover.

So, what do the fans think? Well, when the image was first posted on the Weezer’s official Web site, reaction seemed evenly split between those who thought it was hysterical — “This rivals Prince’s Lovesexy cover. At least Weezer [have] kept their sense of humor,” one fan wrote — and those who thought it was, well, pretty puzzling.

“Rivers looks like Jeff Foxworthy,” a fan posted. And another added, “The only ones not ruining this cover are the two that aren’t wearing stupid hats.”

But despite the mixed reactions to Red‘s cover, there’s no denying the success of its first single, “Pork and Beans,” which debuted this week at #19 on the Modern Rock Radio charts and is already spawning a legion of “tribute” videos on YouTube.