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Revenge of the Weezer Nerds

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On my last night with Weezer and their last night in London, they actually play a live show, which, as Rivers has accurately observed elsewhere, is an astonishingly small part of a touring musician's life. The venue, a club called Splash, is a jewel box of a room, swagged and fringed with faded red velvet, dimly lit with fake gaslight chandeliers. It is altogether the ideal place for Mr. Hyde to debut if he ever decides to give up being a fictional character for a career in indie rock.

In fact, the opening act, Powder, is vaguely Edwardian in style, although they have haircuts that are not only sassy but also Sassoon. Weezer, on the other hand, are in their usual timeless guys-in-the-basement-rec-room look. Rivers is wearing a parka, but the hood is down, and he has not covered the lenses of his glasses with black gaffer's tape, as he did when playing The Word. These encouraging signs are not exactly Billie Joe naked except for shoes, socks and guitar, but in Rivers' terms, they are a brave step forward. The place is packed and ready to rock, and after opening with a version of "My Name Is Jonas" that doesn't quite achieve liftoff, Weezer oblige. By the time they hit the jam in "Only in Dreams" late in the set, they are locked into the zone and into each other, playing, as far as the eye can see and the ear can hear, like a "band band."

And then something happens. Rivers, who has not yet spoken to the audience, steps to the mike. "Mim," he says, "I know you're out there somewhere, and this song is definitely off the record." He has put a song (which, in addition to being off the record, is not on the record) off the record. On this, the eve of Weezer's European debut, at the culminating moment of the event that is the bottomline reason for the band's presence in the United Kingdom, he has put a song off the record. I am touched. Even now, I like to think that in all the echoing years of the past and the future, there will always be that one moment when, despite our absolute inability to communicate with each other in any other way, I was thinking of nothing but Rivers, and he was thinking of nothing but me. Ironically, it seems more likely than in most of the encounters I've had with people who actually talked to me. And in any event, while it may not have been my sassiest moment ever, it was, when all was not said and undone, the only moment I got.

This story is from the March 23, 1995 issue of Rolling Stone.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Nightshift”

The Commodores | 1984

The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

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