18. “El Scorcho,” Weezer


Somewhere in between obsessing over Death From Above 1979’s The Physical World, I managed to tap shuffle and along came my old friend, “El Scorcho.” He’s a good friend. He takes me all the way back to the turn of the century. Those nail-biting times when we were all sure our computers were going to explode, plummeting society in chaos when the clock hit midnight on January 1, 2000.

El Scorcho, you’re a good friend because you take me back to mostly happy times, despite the angst-ridden lyrics. Don’t get me wrong, I had some angst of my own to deal with back then . I hated my job. And I definitely remember the lyrics, “I think I’d be good for you and you’d be good for me,” relating to a certain someone at the time.

But, first, my buddy Scorch, you remind me of the early days of my love of Weezer. Observant Weezer fans will notice the discrepancy in dates here. Pinkerton, the album Scorch was released on, came out in 1996. And we’re talking about the turn of the century here, so there’s a four-year gap. The thing is, when Weezer first came on the scene in ’94, I liked their singles. They were fine. “Ooo weee ooo I look just like Buddy Holly.” Sure, that was fun. The videos were cool – hey, The Fonz can really cut a rug! But I just didn’t feel the need to spend my very limited student funds on them. And I don’t remember hearing much from Pinkerton a few years later. Just driving with my cousin to go skiing, he put the tape in to see if I’d like it. And, again, I thought it was fine. A little weird, maybe, and weird can most certainly be a good thing. But, again, nothing I needed to spend money on.

So what happened over the next few years? I think it’s just that I gave Weezer a real chance. I just remember going into a music store and they had The Blue Album on sale, probably somewhere around ’99. So I picked it up. And LOVED it. Then I got Pinkerton and loved it even more. I loved its weirdness. I loved its edge. I loved its melodies. I related to its angst. But Weezer was somewhere between broken up and on hiatus at the time, so I was pretty sure I’d just have these two beautiful masterpieces and have to be happy with that. Little did I know there would be seven studio albums (and counting) to come. Which I would enjoy (or not enjoy) to various degrees. But that’s a subject for another post.

Next, Scorch, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal, you remind me of the greatest band to never leave the singer’s parents’ basement or have a real name. We were awesome. But, like Spinal Tap (minus the death), we just couldn’t keep a drummer, which made it tough to set up gigs. Four guys and a girl who rocked that basement every Monday night with brilliant original tunes and some unrecognizable covers. No, we didn’t cover you, Scorch, but we did pay tribute to you. Sometimes, while warming up, I’d play your awesomely wonky riff. Then one night we were working out a new song and our singer/songwriter suggested I change things up for the second verse. He wondered how it would sound if, rather than straight power chords, I play your riff over the second verse — but only the second verse, so it’s a little treat. I did it and it wound up adding a new twist of fun to the song. He thought, probably quite rightly, that music fans in the know would love that little nod when we played it live. But, again, no drummer, no shows, no knowledgeable nods. Such is life.

But with you, Scorch, it’s always a good life. (Oh, wait, that comes a track earlier on Pinkerton.)*

* That last bit was my literary attempt to finally gain that long-awaited knowledgeable nod from Weezer fans. Feel free to nod in the comments!

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