Wasted on the Youth Guest Blog: Mystery Jets’ Blaine Harrison on Weezer
(Under the Radar's Summer 2010 Issue is a special issue named the Wasted on the Youth Issue that features musicians and actors talking about their childhood memories and things they loved when they were kids. We're also posting web-exclusive essays that were not printed in the issue, including this one by Mystery Jets' Blaine Harrison.)
"Memories Make Me Want To Go Back There"
Nostalgia is both a perilous and a wonderful thing. The past is a bottomless closet which we fill with things we miss and things we wish to bury forever. Its contents define who we are and why we are. Some things we romanticize over to the point of delusion. Other things we resent and endlessly try to resolve and somehow fix so that we are able to sleep at night. For every love letter received, there are two which were never sent. For every scratched Blur CD, there are a couple of stretched out Limp Bizkit cassettes.
In my closet, thankfully, there is also Weezer. I was only nine when The Blue Album came out, and hadn't even hit puberty when Pinkerton dropped. But fortunately, whilst growing up, I was lucky enough to have my older sister's guiding musical influence around me at all times, which probably steered me away from more cringe-worthy baloney than I gave her credit for. Actually she was a lot like the cute older sister character from Almost Famous, come to think of it. She even looks like Zooey Deschanel, which is kind of creepy.
Rivers Cuomo was to pop-punk what Chino Moreno was to metal and Weezer were the thinking man's Offspring. Songs like "Buddy Holly" and "Jonas'"were so conspicuously laced with irony that even a 14-year-old twit scratching Rage lyrics into his pencil tin (me) could sense there was a greater, more subversive meaning under the surface. Something more sinister... Or was there? Maybe that was the whole point. Perhaps "Undone" was literally one man's elegy, rolling himself into a stupor on the floor, the remains of his sweater unravelled around him like silly string. I remember exchanging Weezer rumors back at school with my classmate Chris behind the music department at break time. "Have you heard Rivers is going back to Harvard to teach rock guitar?!" Or, "Did you know 'Pink Triangle' was written about Brody Dalle?" That was a good one.
Last weekend I watched Weezer play Reading festival, and I can honestly say it was one of the most epic, heartwarming shows I have seen there in years. They played the shit out of that place. Out they came as the sun was going down, thousands of little hands making thousands of little Weezer signs as far as the eye could see. "Lets take it back to '94!" boomed the amplified voice of a bespectacled stick figure bounding about the stage in a wooly hat shaped like a bunny-rabbit. They genuinely made Blink 182 look and sound like The Backstreet Boys. As the crowd retreated from the barrier to empty their bladders and re-fill their beer cups for the night, I caught sight of a familiar face amongst the mass exodus. It was my old school friend Chris, and he was crying. I didn't ask why, but I have a feeling it had something to do with his closet.
(Blaine Harrison is the lead-vocalist of Mystery Jets. The British band's fourth album, Serotonin, was released this summer by Rough Trade.) (www.mysteryjets.com)