I haven’t been around for some of his blackest days – like 1998-1999, which he largely spent alone in an apartment with the windows covered, compulsively writing songs – but over the years, I’ve gradually seen him become more comfortable in his own skin.
At 9am on a Monday morning, I meet Rivers at a recording studio on the west side of Los Angeles, California. ” he asks the receptionist, who doesn’t recognise him – understandably, since in his specs and chinos, he looks more like an engineer than the lead singer of a band.
(I’ve preserved the original spelling and punctuation of his tweets.) “I’ve been wondering when someone was going to use my tweets for an interview,” he says, settling onto a couch in the studio lounge.
But he has one warning before we start: “I don’t know what the point of Twitter is.”Where did all my weird thoughts go before I had twitter?
I have no ego.”In an indicator of the collapse of the music industry, Cuomo has 542,063 Twitter followers on the day of our interview – a number about five times greater than the sales of Weezer’s 2010 album, .
Although many of his tweets are deliberately cryptic or out-of-context, Cuomo is happy to explain them at lengths greater than 140 characters.As front man of Weezer, Rivers Cuomo has penned enough power pop anthems to put a poet laureate to shame.But behind the lyrical sorcery is just a regular dad in specs – a guy who would sooner take a vow of silence than yabber on about himself.Unless he’s on Twitter, that is, in which case the weirdness flows freely from his head.“Awkward and difficult.” That’s Rivers Cuomo, lead singer of Weezer, telling me about a pair of flippers he recently wore with a wetsuit.Asked if that meant the flippers were autobiographical, he laughs heartily and says, “I guess so.”I’ve known Rivers for seventeen years.We met in 1994, when I was an editor at (an American men’s magazine) and Weezer were enjoying the first flash of success with ‘Undone – The Sweater Song’, an anthem that laid out the band’s template: loud guitars, catchy melodies, and lyrics that seemed inscrutable (“If you want to destroy my sweater”) but on closer inspection, were emotional and revealing.I edited two articles he wrote for the magazine about life on the road.(Sample excerpt: “‘How many emotional outbursts are we allowed?It’s mostly British guys that I play with, and Robbie’s associated with them.And sometimes during the week we go up to his house to play. I played soccer with him yesterday – he’s an amazing player. What’s the best pro-US place to watch on the west side? (7 June 2010)When it comes to soccer, I’m pure fan.