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Weezer Frontman Chronicles ‘Epiphany’
Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo has revealed details of the creative struggle to realize the band’s fifth album, preparation for which has dragged on much longer than originally planned. In a nearly 2,000-word essay posted on his personal Web site, Cuomo chronicles the radical lifestyle changes he says led to a spiritual and musical “epiphany.”
The shift came in the wake of Weezer’s re-emergence with 2000’s “The Green Album,” which Cuomo says sold more than 2 million copies worldwide. But its 2002 follow-up, “Maladroit,” “was not the big hit that it had threatened to be,” after which Cuomo “fell into a life of ego and vice.”
“I asked myself, ‘Is my life really supporting the production of the music I know I am capable of creating?’ I had to admit that music no longer gave me the feeling of sublime ecstasy that it once had,” he says. “Although I had already written another large pile of songs for our fifth album, I put all plans to record on hold. There was a revolution brewing in my mind, soon to be triggered by the man we had hired a few months earlier to produce the album, Rick Rubin.”
Cuomo goes on to describe how Rubin introduced him to the love poetry of Hafiz and Vipassana meditation in February 2003. “In accord with my understanding of these teachings, I abruptly dropped all of my business responsibilities and hard-won power, and isolated myself once again,” he says. “I fasted and lost 15% of my weight. I took a vow of complete celibacy. I gave away or sold most of my possessions, my house and my car and lived in an empty apartment next to Rick Rubin’s house for the rest of the year. I moved to settle outstanding lawsuits and reconcile myself with enemies. I apologized to many people. I volunteered six days a week at Project Angel Food in Hollywood, preparing meals for people with HIV.”
“Since then, I have found that the areas of tension in my mind — the fear, the anger, the sadness, the craving — are slowly melting away,” Cuomo continues. “I am left with a more pristine mind, more sharp and sensitive than I previously imagined possible. I am more calm and stable. My concentration and capacity to work have increased greatly. I feel like I am finally much closer to reaching my potential.”
Weezer’s official Web site says the band is still in rehearsals in anticipation of hitting the studio. “The music I have created over the last six months has brought me much enjoyment,” Cuomo says.
However, the singer is returning in the fall to Harvard, which he last attended in 1997, potentially affecting the release of the as-yet-untitled new set. “It is understood that the school break wouldn’t interfere with the album’s release, as most albums have a 3-4 month period of planning, marketing, etc, before release anyway — about the amount of time the semester would require,” Weezer’s site said earlier this month.