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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Pinkerton To Play Weezer's 'Blue Album' (Yes, You Read That Right)

Posted By on Thu, Aug 19, 2010 at 1:36 PM


In a feat of meta-reference almost as mind-blowing as that statue in Golden Gate Park with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza kneeling before a huge bust of Cervantes, a band called Pinkerton -- comprising members of local groups The Trophy Fire, The Matches, and Judgement Day -- will be playing the entirety of Weezer's self-titled 1994 debut this Friday at the Bottom of the Hill. That beloved debut, of course, was nicknamed "the blue album" even before it became necessary to distinguish it from Weezer's self-titled 2001 album (green) and Weezer's self-titled 2008 album (lamentable).

Below, singer Ben Flanagan weighs in on the show's raison d'être, muses on the relevance of the entire-album cover show, and is extremely diplomatic about what Weezer have been up to lately.

How did this show come about?
A year ago I was on a drive down to LA with a couple of members from Judgement Day, who are the drummer and cello player from Pinkerton. We were listening to [Weezer's 1996 album] Pinkerton and thought of how much fun it would be to do that album in its entirety, so we had a show where we did that and it was a lot of fun. We decided to do it again a year later, but to do the blue album this time.

Wait, you're doing the blue album this time?
Yeah. We're called Pinkerton, but we're playing the blue album.

Oh. Then change my next question from "Why Pinkerton?" to "Why the blue album?"
Well, it started out with us thinking about Pinkerton as an album that didn't have a lot of commercial success but became such a cult favorite. There's just incredible songwriting; as far as modern pop music goes, I think Pinkerton and the blue album are as good as it gets. Part of the genesis was that we're all big Weezer fans, and when we went to see them they hardly played any songs from Pinkerton. The blue album is just as good -- it's more polished, but it's still an incredible pop record. Anyway, it was a lot of fun for us to do. It wasn't about us on stage: there's no ego involved in this. All it had to do with was playing a great record we loved, and getting the crowd singing along to a great album they love. The audience involvement was awesome -- I could stop singing almost any time I wanted to.

Ben Flanagan
  • Ben Flanagan
What's your favorite song to play on the blue album?

My personal favorite is "In the Garage." Wait, "In My Garage"? No, no -- "In the Garage." That or "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here."

What's the hardest?
"Only In Dreams."

And who's going to do the dialogue in "The Sweater Song"?
We're still figuring that out.

So what's with the recent phenomenon of shows like the Don't Look Back series, where bands perform their own albums all the way through?
You can be a Weezer cover band or a Beatles cover band or a Blue Öyster Cult cover band, it doesn't really matter. Individual songs are such a premium these days. iTunes is always releasing singles, and so on -- and people aren't listening to records as much anymore. I think people are starting to yearn to hear classic records all the way through, to have something with a little more attention span. We could easily go out there and play a smorgasbord of songs from all of Weezer's records, but it's more fun to emulate a classic record.

Do you play the songs pretty faithfully, or do you try to personalize them?
We all have our individual styles as musicians, but we try to be as true to the record as we possibly can. If people close their eyes we want them to feel they're at an epic Weezer show.

Have you learned new things about this record while rehearsing it?
Definitely. We all love the songs, but dissecting them you realize how great they really are. It's a beautiful record because it's perfect pop music, but it's also pretty heavy at times. They did a great synthesis of having incredibly simple, well written pop music that's also quite heavy.

How do you feel about Weezer's more recent work?
Well, I heard they just signed to Epitaph, which is awesome. How do I phrase this without saying anything bad about a band I love? I think their first two records are by far the best. After this, the only possibility for another show would be all their best B-sides.

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Daniel Levin Becker


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