In 1992 four guys from around the United States came together in the great city of Los Angeles to form the band Weezer. Headed up by singer, guitarist, and songwriter Rivers Cuomo, Weezer was backed up by bassist Matt Sharp, drummer Pat Wilson, and guitarist Brian Bell. During their first two years together the band built up a following in the clubs of LA. Early in their career they were signed by DGC Records and began their ascent into stardom.
In 1994 Weezer released a self-titled album, produced by Ric Ocasek. It started out slowly but soon gained popularity with a young crowd and reached number 16 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. The album held a place on the list for over a year. Singles from the album gained individual popularity. 'Undone' (also called 'The Sweater Song') hit number six on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart, following 'Buddy Holly' which grabbed the number two spot. The video for 'Buddy Holly' also won the band renown. It won four MTV Video Music Awards in 1995. The video, directed by Spike Jonze, featured the cast of the popular TV show 'Happy Days' and was set in Al's Diner, the hang out of the 'Happy Days' crew.
Weezer's popularity was aided by their unconventional style of pop/punk rock. They combined heavy guitar riffs of the Pixies persuasion with stylistic elements taken from the rock music of KISS in the 1970s. They felt more accessible to their mostly teenage audience than many of the pop rock stars of the 90s. Their videos drew more fans to their songs because of their quirky humor. Weezer's head man, Cuomo, decided to go for a less gimmicky feel on their second album in 1996 to secure the band's future. The album, titled Pinkerton, did not sell as well as their debut but was better received by critics. Many Weezer fans were disappointed with the lack of video supplements to the Pinkerton album, but they remained fans of the band's high energy music.
During the time that Pinkerton was being recorded, each member of the band was also working on solo projects, though their fame remained in conjunction with Weezer. The band did agree to tour together in 1997 to promote the new album. They played to enthusiastic crowds, but ticket sales were not spectacular. By the end of the tour, Weezer was pushed out of the limelight. Not only Weezer, but many bands of the indie punk-pop persuasion were going downhill. Sharp decided to leave the band after the tour to concentrate on his side band, The Rentals. In the late 90s Weezer got another chance as the punk-pop genre began a rebirth and their music was discovered again by the highschool crowd. With their popularity regained, Weezer decided to find a new bassist. They recruited Mikey Welsh and began to work on new material. They joined the Warped Tour in 2000 and promoted the release of The Green Album which was released in 2001. The album hit the top of the charts right away. This album, again accompanied by clever videos, hit number four on the Billboard charts and stayed high in the ranks for the remainder of the year. In 2002 Weezer released Maladroit to much fanfare and continued to tour to thrilled audiences, playing with artists like Tenacious D.
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