Ready for another B-Side Bios? Our newest feature is a quick introduction to some of the maybe unknown facts about some of our favourite musicians. This musician has been on rotation a lot in my life, ever since the Blue Album. Rivers Cuomo seemed to capture the attention of nerds everywhere with his fun, silly, poppy style and today he’s the focus of our B-Side Bios.
Cuomo was born June 13, 1970, between the East and Hudson rivers in Manhattan, inspiring his parents to call him ‘Rivers’. He would adopt the nickname ‘Weezer’ as a toddler, an homage to the Little Rascals character who his father said was “the cool one.”
He was also born with his left leg nearly two inches shorter than his right. This lead him to have an extensive surgery to lengthen his left leg, which involved doctors breaking and resetting his leg, followed by months of wearing a brace and lots and lots of physio. This surgery came a year after the successful debut release of Weezer’s Blue Album, which sold over a million copies. During his recovery time, he was taking lots of painkillers and also happened to be studying classical composition at Harvard University! Between classes, he’d essentially take pills, lay in bed, and listen to opera. Because of this, Weezer’s second album was nearly a rock opera, Songs from the Black Hole, but he abandoned the project and fans ended up with the cult favourite Pinkerton instead. In fact, Pinkerton’s single 'The Good Life', has the X-ray image of Rivers’ left leg as its cover image.
He dropped out of Harvard two semesters before graduation, but would return in 1997 and 2004, eventually graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in English in 2008.
On the album Pinkerton, Rivers sang about his sexual frustrations while attending Harvard and in 2004 took a vow of sexual abstinence until his marriage in 2006. He has also committed his life to being a vegetarian, raised as a vegetarian by his parents, and also practices meditation, while also teaching children’s meditation classes. It seems this guy can do anything he sets his mind to!
Weezer has released some of my favourite songs and you have to wonder where some of those songs come from. One example, Cuomo says "Hash Pipe" was written after an experiment in which he took a Ritalin, drank three shots of tequila, and went out to his backyard to sit on a chair, close his eyes, and imagine a song. That’s a hell of a way to get inspired isn’t it? Another track, "Where's My Sex?" on the Hurley album is a song about socks, but Rivers replaced the word "socks" with "sex."
So many things this man has done just leaves you shaking your head, but falling in love with his work nonetheless. With 4 solo albums and 12 Weezer albums to date, I for one, can’t wait to see what he comes out with next. Let’s all, for the moment, just appreciate how amazing their cover of Toto’s song Africa is.
Did ya learn something?
As always, for a fun Pull the Plug added bonus, check out this week’s acoustic cover of Weezer’s Say It Ain’t So.