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Working With Weezer: All-American Rejects on "Raditude" Sessions

October 20, 2009 4:03 PM ET

Of the countless bands that cite Weezer as an influence, few can claim that they've ever inspired Rivers Cuomo and Co. But now All-American Rejects frontman Tyson Ritter and guitarist Nick Wheeler have bragging rights as the exception to the rule: the pair were invited to write a song with Cuomo for Weezer's upcoming album Raditude, and their collaboration "Put Me Back Together" appears on the disc, due November 3rd.

"I was playing Weezer songs when I was 13 at parties, so now I can die happy," Ritter tells RS. Both AAR and Weezer share the same label, so after a couple phone calls, Ritter and Wheeler found themselves being picked up by a Lincoln Towncar and shuttled to Malibu, where Cuomo was waiting for the pair in a shed behind his house. Once there, "I pulled out a chorus that I'd been carrying around for a couple years from my pocket," Ritter says. "I thought there was a reason why I didn't use it, but I knew, after hearing him doing the song, I dropped to my knees and exalted to the sky."

"Put Me Back Together," the fifth track on Raditude, is the song that accomplishes the difficult task of following up the Lil Wayne collaboration that precedes it, "Can't Stop Partying." "I brought out the chorus, I started writing the verse, he started writing lyrics, and you can tell his hand is in the lyrics," Ritter said of working with Cuomo on the track. "I just kept my head down, I was nervous as shit. I was shaking in my boots, literally. I just kept my head down and hummed until he said 'That's cool.' "

Ritter also recorded some "tasteful" backup for the track, but he's unsure himself whether his studio contribution made it onto Raditude. Ritter, whose favorite Weezer album is Pinkerton, hopes the session leads to future collaborations. "I feel like we had a really good gel. I feel like I'd love to write more songs with him in general, whether it's for something else or for someone else," Ritter says. "It's a big flag for us to wave right now. The guy wouldn't sit down with just anybody, so I was stoked that we could give him a piece of his heart back," Ritter tells RS. "I feel like I've been the luckiest kid, to be validated by someone who in my generation is a god."

In addition to working on "Put Me Back Together," the day also featured Cuomo taking Ritter and Wheeler to a nearby beach where the trio engaged in a lengthy talk. "It was one of those days that you never forget for the rest of your life," Ritter says. "Like I said, if I die tomorrow, I'll have one of the biggest shit-eating grins on my face."

Related Stories:
Behind the All-American Rejects' "I Wanna" Video: Exclusive Photos
Weezer's Rivers Cuomo Writing With Katy Perry Next Week
Weezer Say Lil Wayne "Tapped Into the Spirit" of "Raditude" Track

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

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