Cover band Geezer plays non-Weezer songs, but then, so does Weezer
After a two-year break, the very elderly men of (primarily) Weezer tribute act Geezer are back action. The band’s retirement in Florida did not proceed as smoothly as planned.
“Our guitar player [Dylan Martinez Sr.] is Mexican and things didn’t work out down there. Someone tried to build a wall around our condo,” bassist Zachary Goode Sr. explained.
Joking aside, Geezer is composed of four musicians who dress like members of a nursing home jazz band. At last check, they were all still at least a couple years removed from cashing Social Security checks. The spray-on gray isn’t the only twist to their act. They are known for throwing numerous non-Weezer songs into their sets as well. Geezer drummer Nas Helewa Sr. estimates that 30-50 percent of the songs will generally be Weezer tunes. Second most-likely will be Beastie Boys songs, and the remainder are anyone’s guess. At their recent Music Box show, the band imitated a band imitating another band. Weezer recently covered Toto’s “Africa” and the seemingly tongue-in-cheek effort became the band’s first hit single in close to ten years.
“I think people were happy to hear it. I think anyone who was a Weezer fan knew it was happening. I’ll say this, I didn’t know it was as big a deal. I don’t listen to the radio at all, but I drove up to Los Angeles for a business trip with some other people and I heard it twice on L.A. radio. Coming to and fro, I heard Weezer playing ‘Africa.’ I thought it was just an internet thing,” Helewa said.
Goode lives in Los Angeles now, so the band’s only practice before the Music Box gig was basically a conference call. Martinez and Helewa met up at singer/guitarist Adam Gimbel’s house to work out the songs with Goode on the other end of a phone.
Geezer, "Island/Blister in the Sun"
Geezer mashes up "Island" by Weezer & "Blister in the Sun" by Violent Femmes
“I didn’t touch a drum set with these guys until the night of the show. I tap on my knee at Adam’s house with Zach on the phone and we try to work out harmonies — but it’s hard because we’re doing it over the phone. I’m always amazed at how well it ends up being,” Helewa said.
If you check concert listings, you’ll find there are certainly plenty of cover bands and tributes playing around town these days. Some argue too many. Helewa thinks it’s fine to have both co-exist. He should know, he plays in the local all-originals outfit Rattlers.
“I’ve been in a lot of bands, and I’m still in original bands where I play to five people,” Helewa explained. “But I’ll play to a full floor at Music Box playing in a semi-Weezer, semi-Beastie Boys cover band. People will be going nuts, and I’ll get a little money for it. I pretty much divide my time fairly equally. Actually, it’s unequal. It’s like 80 percent trying to make original music work and 20 percent getting on the phone and saying ‘Which covers are we going to do?’ and then going and playing them.”