Honest-to-goodness rock fans, me included, owe thanks to Weezer
When I was 12 years old my mom inadvertently saved my life.
It was 1994. I, a meek seventh-grader, was somehow turned on to the song “Slam” by South Jamaica Queens hardcore hip-hop group Onyx.
It’s impossible to know how a suburban middle-schooler ended up grooving to the rhymes of MC Sticky Fingaz, but I absolutely needed that cassette.
I knew at the time owning this cassette would make me the envy of my friends, the coolest b-boy on the West Middle School campus.
Dragging my mom to the local record store, I pulled a copy of “Bacdafucup” off the shelf and confidently presented it to her for purchase. With track names such as “Throw Ya Gunz” and “Atak of Da Bal-Hedz,” it didn’t take her long to veto my selection.
I’m not sure what offended her most, but I suspect the poor spelling.
Refusing to “let the boys be boys,” my mom offered an alternative. Based on recommendations from the store clerk, I could leave with mother-approved, Weezer’s Blue Album, a far cry from the instant party anthem I desperately wanted.
That day I made my first record purchase.
I had seen the Blue Album around, on my baby sitter’s car dash, in a friend’s sister’s room. In no way did I figure I had left with an iconic gem from 1990s, an album that has been a staple in my record collection ever since.
Listening to the album now, the opening notes to “My Name Is Jonas” still sound as fresh as they did back when I was a 12. There are no gimmicks, it’s just honest-to-God rock.
“In The Garage” is my generation’s answer to the Beach Boys “In My Room.”
The Spike Jonze directed video to “Buddy Holly” is both an homage to the past and a visual representation of what Weezer stands for: straight up rock ‘n’ roll accessible to anyone.
The Blue Album rescued rock from the heavy grasp of grunge and made it fun to listen to music again. In “Heart Songs” from the 2008 Red Album, Rivers Cuomo sites Judas Preist, Quiet Riot and Iron Maiden as influences.
What Cuomo did that was genius, and what makes the Blue Album so special, is he stripped away the ridiculous over-the-topness of ‘80s metal and brought that sound back to its roots. Verse. Chorus. Solo. Awesome.
There is no pretence with Weezer. It’s just four dudes who made an album full of quirky anecdotes and melodic guitar solos.
I can still sing every lyric to “Surf Wax America,” something I can’t say for “Slam.”
Had my mom let me leave that day with a copy of “Bacdafucup” who knows what would have happened? I may have turned into a menacing hooded youth, terrorizing suburban Grand Junction with reckless disregard for reality, or worse ... someone totally devoid of musical taste, tone deaf and lost.
Unfortunately, it was a news bulletin that brought up this memory. Former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh died on Oct. 7.
It’s always sad to hear about the passing of someone who brought happiness to many people’s lives, including my own.
Welsh and the band Weezer influenced the way I dressed, the music I listened to and the friends I grew up with.
I have only my mom to thank for that.
David Goe is a programmer for KAFM 88.1 Community Radio. His show airs at 9 p.m. the first Friday and first Saturday of each month. You can also follow Goe on Twitter at @David_Goe.