Weezer go from White to Black

American band Weezer's (from left) Patrick Wilson, Scott Shriner, Rivers Cuomo and Brian Bell are putting on a show in Singapore.
American band Weezer's (from left) Patrick Wilson, Scott Shriner, Rivers Cuomo and Brian Bell are putting on a show in Singapore.PHOTO: LAMC

The Black Album, expected to follow the alt-rock band's work nicknamed The White Album, will be more experimental

Most music fans know Rivers Cuomo as the singer of Weezer, one of the most loved alternative rock bands in the United States.

While he is known for singing some of the band's biggest hits dating back to the early 1990s, such as Buddy Holly, Island In The Sun and Beverly Hills, less prominent are his Japanese releases.

"I just put out two singles in Japan with my Japanese-language project called Scott & Rivers. We sing entirely in Japanese. The full album will be out in December. That's our second album, the first one came out in 2013," he says in an interview ahead of the band's first Singapore show at Suntec today.

The 46-year-old singer and guitarist's link to Japan goes beyond music. His wife of 10 years, former magazine editor Kyoko Ito Cuomo, is Japanese.

It is unlikely that Rivers Cuomo will break into any of his Japanese tunes, however, as the setlist at the band's Singapore show will feature only Weezer's best-loved tunes.

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"We pick the songs we think people want to hear. It's pretty obvious if you look at the relative popularity of our songs on iTunes or Spotify."

Fans of the Los Angeles band are in for a good time, he guarantees. "I think Weezer put on one of the best live shows. There's an incredibly positive and joyous atmosphere at our concerts, lots of singalongs and beautiful music."

Formed in 1992, Cuomo and drummer Patrick Wilson are the only ones left from the band's founding line-up. Guitarist and keyboardist Brian Bell joined in 1993 and bassist Scott Shriner in 2001.

Their self-titled album released in 1993, nicknamed The Blue Album because of the colour of the cover, and sophomore album Pinkerton (1996) have since been regarded as two of the most acclaimed alt-rock albums of the 1990s.

Blending catchy melodies, vocal harmonies, post-grunge guitars, quirky subject matter and nerd- rock stylings, Weezer's 10-album discography has greatly influenced the indie and emo rock bands that came after them.

Like their debut and several eponymous releases - all titled Weezer - that came later, the band's most recent was self-titled and nicknamed The White Album due to its colour. It was released in April this year to strong reviews.

American music magazine Alternative Press writes that it "encapsulates many of the musical traits fans first fell in love with" in the band's early albums, while British music rag NME hailed it as a career-defining record.

Cuomo, the band's principal songwriter, says he is already working on the follow-up album which, in contrast, will not be as musically and conceptually exuberant as this year's release.

"The next album will be called The Black Album and it will be a little more experimental sonically, but still (have) great songs."

Besides Scott & Rivers, which features fellow singer-songwriter Scott Murphy, Cuomo also does regular collaborations with other artists of various genres.

American hip-hop artist B.o.B, for example, featured him on the 2010 pop hit, Magic. Cuomo will also feature in upcoming works by Chicago rapper Vic Mensa as well as electric violinist and YouTube star Lindsey Stirling.

When he is not occupied with his songs, he is spending time with his two children. He says they love music and are into today's big pop and dance music acts.

"My nine-year-old daughter really likes Skrillex, Avicii, Lukas Graham, Twenty One Pilots. My four-year- old son's favourite artist is Psy."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2016, with the headline 'Weezer go from White to Black'. Print Edition | Subscribe