Last year, Seattle rocker James Burns started a halfway-serious online campaign to raise $10 million to get Weezer to break up. He didn’t raise a lot of money, but he got a lot of attention, even from Weezer: drummer Patrick Wilson responded by saying, “If they can make it 20, we’ll do the ‘deluxe breakup’!”
Every famous band has its detractors, and Weezer is a famous band. But when people rant against Weezer, they often do so with the kind of passion that comes after a nasty breakup from someone you really loved. To be cynical about it, the course of a band’s career is usually either (a) gradually gather a following and then sell out, disappointing your old fans but winning new ones, or (b), sell out from the very beginning. Weezer is unusual in that you can say that they took both these routes. The band started out in the ’90s as a major-label alt-rock act with ubiquitous hits such as “Buddy Holly” and “Undone — The Sweater Song” but turned into a cult act in the lean years after fan-favorite Pinkerton. More recently, Weezer has been the high-profile and prolific maker of hits such as “Beverly Hills” and “Pork and Beans.” These are the songs that the old fans hate.
To be fair to the disgruntled fans, those songs are pretty stupid. But even Weezer’s dumbest new songs are smarter, funnier, and catchier than...I don’t know, the latest single by Daughtry. If a kid today downloads Weezer’s recent regrettable “Turning Up the Radio” instead of the latest Linkin Park, maybe it will steer him or her toward Pinkerton, and maybe that will lead to something more interesting.
WEEZER: Saturday, August 6, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. 858-755-1141. Free with racetrack admission.