Weezer Fever: A local tribute to a ’90s icon
Published: February 12, 2014
For any ’90s kid looking to soundtrack their teenage angst, there were no shortage of options: Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, Tool, Rage Against the Machine—take your pick.
But for Chris Etheredge, there was just one that mattered.
“Weezer is the only band I want to do something like this for,” says the guitarist. “There’s something about their kind of music, it just holds up. There are a lot of bands I listened to back then that I don’t give a rat’s ass about now. But with Weezer, the songwriting is so great that it still sounds as good as the day I first heard it.”
Etheredge has channeled his love for all things Weezer into “A Tribute to Your Teenage Angst,” pulling together a five-band salute to Rivers Cuomo and crew. The bill includes garage-pop upstarts Islands and Tigers, emo outfit lovelettertypewriter, dream-pop four-piece Diving, noise-rock enthusiasts The Freebies and Chris’ own band, post-rock stylists Bright Like the Sun. Each band will be allotted 30 minutes to profess their Weezer love during the Saturday show at Limelight.
If the idea of a Weezer tribute show came easily enough, the challenge for Etheredge was selecting the right bands to do justice to the original material.
“There [are] a lot of great bands in San Antonio, but I wanted specifically to find ones that complement the Weezer sound,” says Etheredge. “I was actually just talking to the guys in lovelettertypewriter about this in the studio, whether you try to put your own sound on the songs. They were like, ‘No, it’s Weezer—you’re not going to improve on it.’”
As Andrew Christian, singer and guitarist from lovelettertypewriter, elaborates, “As much as we’d love to put our own spin on them, I don’t think I’d be too fond of altering these songs that have held so much meaning to me as a musician.”
When it comes to Weezer worship, it was clear that for everyone involved in the tribute, their adoration is specifically directed towards the band’s first two albums: the 1994 self-titled debut (better known as “The Blue Album”) and 1996’s proto-emo classic Pinkerton.
“Honestly, I’m not a big fan of their work post-Pinkerton,” says Christian. “They made some good jams here and there but nothing impacted us like the first two LPs.”
For Etheredge, speaking for his fellow bandmates in Bright Like the Sun, “We’re all mid-to-late 20s, so for us, that’s our youth. I don’t think I’ve even heard a full record of theirs after Pinkerton.”
Not that Weezer is a purely generational band. Some of the younger band members on the bill weren’t even born when Weezer first formed. So what is it about these nearly two-decade old albums that continue to resonate beyond Gen X kids?
“I firmly believe that were those records released today, they’d be just as big now as then,” explains Etheredge. “Those two have such an aura. They’re simple songs, but they’re so well-written, from the lyrics to the guitar parts, that they just hold up.”