This weekend, Weezer will attend the 61st annual Grammy Awards in their hometown of L.A. They’re up for Best Rock Album for 2017’s Pacific Daydream, and whether or not they win, their presence at the awards show underscores the strange but true fact that these alt-rock veterans are at a pop-cultural peak right now. “Having done this for so long, you see there’s just randomly good luck and bad luck,” says frontman Rivers Cuomo. “For whatever reason, the last few months have brought a lot of really good luck, between the success of ‘Africa’ — totally unintended — and getting nominated again for the Grammys — never expected that — and then the SNL skit. It’s like, ‘Wow, what’s going on?'”
Weezer are busier than ever right now, releasing a Teal Album of covers even as they polish off their upcoming all-original Black Album, but Cuomo found a few minutes to chat with RS before the big night. Read on for his thoughts on the band’s history with the Grammys, their plans for this Sunday and why he likes at least one Greta Van Fleet song.
If you win Best Rock Album this year, it will be only Weezer’s second Grammy, after “Pork & Beans” took home Best Music Video in 2009. Did it bother you that you got no love from the Recording Academy back in the Nineties?
I don’t think I even knew what the Grammys were. Grammys, Oscars, Tonys — I had no idea what was what, and we were so critically reviled that it never occurred to us that we would win anything. Part of me now is like, “How come the Blue Album didn’t win?” But you have to go back to 1994. We were really a kids’ band at the time. Our concerts were filled with 10-year-olds. So I get why it wasn’t an album that could be critically appreciated at that moment.
Who in the band is the most excited about going to the Grammys?
Our wives. Apart from that, I don’t know. We’re all so excited. I remember when the White Album got nominated [in 2017], I was still in this self-protective mode: “Fuck the Grammys. I don’t care about any of that. I’m not going.” But [bassist Scott Shriner] was like, “No, guys, this is really important. We all have to go. We probably won’t win, but this is a big moment for Weezer.” He’s a stand-up kind of guy. Ever since then, I get it. I’m on the Grammy train.
So what’s your strategy for the night of the ceremony this time?
I guess, having gone once, I feel a little more comfortable. I know how it goes. You get there early and you sit with your band in this big hall for the rock award. You lose, and then you feel strangely disappointed, even though you knew you were going to lose. Then you go out and you find other bands and you say hi to them. That’s fun. You congratulate the winner. You go back in, you watch some of the performances, and you go out for dinner. It’s a super-fun night.
What do you think of the other Best Rock Album nominees? You’re up against Greta Van Fleet, Fall Out Boy, Alice in Chains, and Ghost.
Greta Van Fleet has a song that’s incredible — so incredible that I thought it was a cover song. So I looked it up on Wikipedia and was surprised to learn that it’s actually theirs. They’re such a bulls-eye for the category, too. They stand for rock & roll, and Weezer from day one has always been kind of anti-rock rock. We’ve always been an awkward fit for the rock category, as much as we love it.
That band has run into some critical backlash of their own. Do you identify with them?
I’m guessing they get criticized for being extremely derivative, and we didn’t get that one. Although someone did call us Stone Temple Pixies. I remember that from a local paper on our first tour. That really hurt.
The Blue Album turns 25 in May, which means Weezer will be eligible for nomination to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later this year. Would you be into that?
Heck yeah! Scott had the chance to go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony for the Cars [in 2018]. He was in the Cars for a minute. That would be the next amazing piece of good fortune if it came to us. I know there’s a couple bigger artists from the class of ’94 that would probably get in ahead of us. But you never know.