Music History

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of Weezer’s Blue album. They did a couple of interesting things to commemorate that.

It was May 10, 1994, when Weezer’s debut record–the “blue” album–was released. The band sent out an email blast to fans.

“On May 10, 1994, DGC Records released “Weezer”, the self-titled debut album by Weezer. The story has been told and re-told many times, but the crux of it was that no one thought it would do very well, even though all the band and the band’s small inner circle felt they’d made a really good album. The assumption was that people would say “who?” and laugh at the audacity of a new band putting out a debut album on a major label, with no fan base, no single out, nothing.

“And… that’s exactly what happened! For a while anyway. 90 copies sold the first week (just who were the 45 people we didn’t know who had bought it knowing nothing about the contents?), and a steady trickle after that, as we drove around in our van playing such illustrious gigs as opening up for a screening of “Rollerball”, playing an actual battle of the bands (and not winning), and playing for less than 0 paying customers (it’s unclear how we got to “-2 sold”, but that’s what the promoter said…)

“Finally, after a few months, 107 The End in Seattle started playing “Undone”. Before that only a handful of college stations were even dabbling with the record. Things escalated quickly after that. KROQ Los Angeles added Undone, Undone got a video which MTV played, opening for Lush, lines of kids at the shows, switching from van to bus to keep up with the schedule, opening for Live, Buddy Holly video… and so on – and on, and on!

“What else is there to say but thank you for the decades of love and support from all the fans, colleagues, friends and family?

“Well, there is something else to say, in fact!

“The Blue Album was Weezer‘s first album of course, but it wasn’t their first attempt at making an album. Check out this recording of “My Name Is Jonas” from what became known as “The Kitchen Tape”, recorded in the summer of 1992 at our home/rehearsal space in West LA. Most of the self produced Kitchen Tape songs have never been officially released, including this song. Happy 30th birthday to the Blue Album! We’re working on a special release to celebrate, but more on that soon. For now, enjoy this, give the blue album a spin today, and we’ll see you on the Voyage to the Blue Planet Tour this fall.”

Here’s a link to The Kitchen Tape.

And check out this annotated video by the band.

FULL FOOTNOTES BELOW:

00:07 – “Buddy Holly” is from Weezer’s self-titled debut album released May 10, 1994. It’s commonly referred to as the ‘Blue Album.’

00:24 – Directed by Spike Jones, the video is a direct homage to the ‘70s sitcom ‘Happy Days.’ The actor who introduces the band is Al Molinaro, an original cast member.

00:42 – Jonze combined show footage with look-alike actors to make it seem like the band’s performance took place at key ‘Happy Days’ set location, Arnold’s Drive-In.

01:04 – Singer Rivers Cuomo wrote the chorus lyrics as a reference to his own style, which mirrored the look of ‘50s rock ‘n’ roller Buddy Holly.

01:23 – Producer Ric Ocasek, the famous frontman of The Cars, had to convince the band to include “Buddy Holly” on the ‘Blue Album.’ “Ric said we’d be stupid to leave it off the album,“ recalled ex-bassist Matt Sharp.

01:46 – Jonze also directed Weezer’s first video, “Undone – The Sweater Song.”

02:02 – Henry Winkler, whose character The Fonz became an icon of the ‘70s while affecting ‘50s cool, played a key role in convincing former ‘Happy Days’ actors to allow Weezer to use their likeness.

02:23 – Sharp said castmates were “apprehensive at first, but with The Fonz said, “I’m in,” everyone else said, “If The Fonz says it’s cool, it’s cool.”

02:44 – The video was a huge hit, winning a handful of awards at MTV VMAs, including Best Directing and Best Editing.

03:03 – Part of this success was due to its inclusion on the CD-Rom for Windows 95. The deal was negotiated between the Geffen label and Microsoft without the band’s knowledge. 

03:23 – “I didn’t have a computer,” guitarist Brian Bell said about the band’s ignorance about the Microsoft deal. “It was literally like living inside the eye of the hurricane.”

03:44 – In honor of its 30th anniversary, Weezer plans to play the ‘Blue Album’ front to back on the band’s fall 2024 tour.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38536 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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