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Rivers Cuomo: We Ripped Off "The Sweater Song" From Metallica

Rivers Cuomo of Weezer
Bryan Bedder/Getty Images
August 27, 2009 4:49 PM ET

Last week Rolling Stone chatted up Rivers Cuomo about Weezer's new album Raditude. Near the end we asked about the 15th anniversary of their debut single "Undone - The Sweater Song," which he now admits is "almost a complete rip-off" of Metallica's 1986 classic "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)."

See our readers' picks for the 10 best Weezer songs of all time

"'The Sweater Song' was the first Weezer song I ever wrote, back in 1991," Cuomo says. "I was trying to write a Velvet Underground-type song because I was super into them, and I came up with that guitar riff. I just picked up that acoustic guitar and the first thing I played was that riff. And it just feels so classic to me, even now when the band starts to play it, it just takes over the energy in the room and you're just transported into the world of Weezer. It wasn't until years after I wrote it that I realized it's almost a complete rip-off of 'Sanitarium' by Metallica. It just perfectly encapsulates Weezer to me – you're trying to be cool like Velvet Underground but your metal roots just pump through unconsciously."

While on the topic of the old days, we also asked Cuomo about former Weezer bassist Matt Sharp – who left the band after Pinkerton to form the Rentals and eventually filed a lawsuit against his former bandmates over royalties. Five years ago Sharp and Cuomo buried the hatchet and played a few songs together at a college gig. Sharp even wrote on his blog that there was talk of him rejoining the band as an additional guitarist. What happened?

"We were just beginning to feel it out, and it didn't pan out for one reason or another," says Cuomo. Might he work with Sharp again? "I don't know if there's a lot of room for it anymore, especially now that I've got a two year old." How about the possibility of him playing with Weezer again at some point in the future? "Seems unlikely," says Cuomo. "But you never know."

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