It may have been almost five years since Weezer released its last album, but it's been worth the wait, both for the fans and the band. "This time, we were focused like Ninjas," says bassist Mikey Welsh of the sessions for The Green Album, which has already yielded a modern rock hit single with "Hash Pipe."
For their long awaited return to the studio, Weezer recruited Ric Ocasek to produce, reprising the role he played on the group's 1994 self-titled debut. That album yielded hits like "Buddy Holly" and "Undone (The Sweater Song)," providing some witty relief to the downcast sensibility of grunge that was the prevailing sentiment at the time. Though the band's style was markedly different from the current trend, notes drummer Patrick Wilson, "In a lot of ways, how we play our instruments is similar - rock music with Marshall amps - except the sentiment behind the music is a lot different."
The group's first album earned the band awards, critical accolades, and a large contingent of die-hard fans that has persisted throughout the long stretch between releases. "I think the loyal fan base gave us the most motivation to get back out there and continue as Weezer and make another record," says guitarist Brian Bell.
The group started out in 1992, with current members Rivers Cuomo (vocals and guitar, as well as songwriting) and Wilson along with guitarist Jason Cropper and bassist Matt Sharp. When Cropper left the band during the sessions for its first album, Bell joined up. Weezer followed up the debut in 1996 with Pinkerton, after which Sharp left the group to concentrate on his band The Rentals, and was replaced by Mikey Welsh, who had toured with Juliana Hatfield.
All the while, Cuomo was also pursuing a degree at Harvard, while Bell and Wilson pursued such side projects as Space Twins and Special Goodness. But when the band regrouped in 2000 for the Warped tour and a round of club dates, the response was so positive that Weezer started plotting their third album.
Hopefully, Weezer's following won't have to wait quite so long the next time. "I've been writing songs every day, and I think the next album is already half written," says Cuomo. "I'm just so excited about these new songs I can't wait to do them."