Weezer guitarist Brian Bell has explained that the group’s upcoming record is set to to sound a bit different, with the band trying to move away from their riff-oriented sound of yesteryear.
Throughout the ’90s and ’00s, Weezer were undoubtedly a band whose music would be heard coming out of the amplifiers of budding guitarists everywhere.
Whether it was a cover of alt-rock classic ‘Buddy Holly’, the slower ‘Undone (The Sweater Song)’, or the underrated ‘El Scorcho’, the group were heroes of the genre for a generation of fans.
While songs like ‘Hash Pipe’ contain some of the best riffs ever written by the band, fans might have noticed that Weezer’s recent albums have seen hard-rocking guitars taking a bit of a back seat.
In fact, following the surprise release of Weezer’s The Teal Album last month – which consisted of nothing but covers – fans began to assume that the group might have taken on an entirely new sound altogether
With Weezer’s The Black Album finally being released at the start of March, guitarist Brian Bell spoke to Ultimate Guitar about the group’s decision to move away from being a riff-driven guitar band.
“Sometimes the rock stuff that’s in your face is, I don’t want to use negative words, but sometimes those sounds are assaulting to my ears,” Bell began. “I’ve always been drawn to the secondary arts. The parts that fit between the cracks.”
“Sometimes you don’t notice them right away and sometimes it takes several listens to figure out. There are some off-beat things and textures and things like that. I think that comes from having the piano as my background before the guitar. Maybe that’s why I approach the guitar that way.”
“What I love about music so much is that its so vast and there’s so much to know and you’ll never conquer it, so it’s nothing to get bored over,” he continued. “I also have two guys in my band – Rivers [Cuomo, frontman] and our drummer [Patrick Wilson], who are both shredding guitar players.”
“I’m really lucky because I don’t play that way – I try, it’s just not my thing and I’m not that good at it, so I found another way to be good at the guitar which is by adding texture and exploring picking patterns and timing and figuration patterns – that’s what I like about music anyway.”
Check out Weezer’s ‘Can’t Knock The Hustle’:
While speaking about the release of The Black Album, Brian Bell noted that the record might sound devoid of guitars on the surface, but actually features a bit more of the six-string than you might think.
“There are more guitars than people probably realise,” Bell explained. “There are more guitars than we can actually play. But they are not the parts that are in your face.”
“People usually associate Weezer with the more riff-driven kind of stuff and yeah, there were records where we definitely did that stuff. Starting with the White Album and into Pacific Daydream and into this one, we started approaching guitars a little differently.”
While it remains to be seen what The Black Album will sound like when it drops in a few weeks, it’s clear that it will be quite far removed from the likes of the band’s 1994 debut, The Blue Album. Here’s hoping it’s worth the wait!