… of Adult Decisions and Teenage Dreams

Twenty-third of January, Two Thousand and Thirteen. Confession time; I was pretty late to the Weezer party. And when I say “pretty late” I’d say it was around 10 years late. Which is actually closer to extremely late if you’re attending a party, especially one it seems you were invited to.

Truth is I always liked Weezer. I knew the singles. I’d seen the videos to Undone, Buddy Holy and El Scorcho over and over and over on Rage. My friend Bret had put Say it Ain’t So on a mix to listen to on the way to our first Big Day Out, and I really liked that too. I think I even remember seeing the disastrous interview with Rivers on ABC’s Recovery in 1996 and feeling terrible for Rivers, who clearly did not want to be there. I was always aware of Weezer, and I always loved the songs I’d heard of theirs, but it wasn’t until around 2004 that I realised that I loved Weezer.

I would’ve been about 25 at the time. I’d acquired a copy of the first album called Weezer (The Blue Album) from the internet [1], and I remember listening to it on the bus on the way home from work. The first two thirds of the album had all washed over me rather nicely, but nothing had stuck out apart from the tracks that I already knew. But then track eight rolled around and everything changed.

I’ve got the Dungeon Master’s Guide.
I’ve got a 12-sided die.

Now I’ve never played D&D, although I’d always wanted to. My friends and I had talked about it in our teen years, but none of us could be bothered reading all of those books. Instead we’d chosen to remain in the relatively safe and shallow waters of collectable card game, Magic: The Gathering [2] and Jihad [3]. We’d play for hours over the weekends, and also during study breaks when we were supposed to be studying. Mostly those times [4].

I’ve got Kitty Pryde
And Nightcrawler too
Waiting there for me.
Yes I do, I do.

I wasn’t ever cool enough to read X-Men. I’d always wanted to, but the back-story always felt so dense and impenetrable. Instead I read the newly launched Gen 13, which was pretty much Image Comic’s direct rip-off of Marvel’s X-Men, albeit with more scantily clad women. In the above verse you could replace Nightcrawler and Kitty Pryde with Grunge [5] and Freefall.

I’ve got posters on the wall,
My favorite rock group, KISS.
I’ve got Ace Frehley.
I’ve got Peter Criss
Waiting there for me.
Yes I do, I do

So I was a bit young for KISS, but if you want you could replace KISS with Guns and Roses, and then later Pearl Jam. Swap Ace Frehley out for Eddie Vedder and Peter Criss for Dave Abbruzzese.

At this stage you’re probably thinking “Yes Mark, as a teen you played geeky games, read comics and had posters of bands you liked on your wall. You’re hardly alone there,” which is a completely fair statement to make, although you could’ve been a little less blunt about it. None of these things we’re unique to my experience, but I’d never heard them expressed so beautifully in song. All of a sudden I was transported back to my teenage bedroom; reading comics, listening to Pearl Jam and doing stuff that the popular kids would have a ball laughing at. At that moment I fell in love with Weezer, and The Blue Album became my go-to whenever I needed cheering up.

Not long after this I gained a whole new appreciation for their follow-up, Pinkerton; the most perfect description of the pain that comes with unrequited love that has ever been put to tape.

And then, some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth. Weezer’s continuing output failed to live up to the standards set by their first two albums. Sure, they had some great singles, but their initial appeal had gone. And for two and a half thousand fifteen years, Weezer passed from heavy rotation on my iPod. Until, when chance came, they decided to tour Australia.

The short version of this story has me initially deciding against getting tickets. If you were to ask me now though, I’m still not sure why. Cost had a lot to do with it; Perth’s show was the most expensive in the country, and here I was trying to save for grown-up things houses and, well houses really. There could’ve been some fear in there too. Would their live show take me back to that magical bus ride when I first made a connection with Rivers and the gang, or would it just be four guys in their forties going through the motions as they sung songs about teenage dreams? As the date drew closer I began to regret my decision. I found myself drawn back to The Blue Album and Pinkerton. Reviews started to flow in from the East Coast shows and they were good, the real deal. Tragic tales of thirty year old men losing their shit over their teenage soundtrack being played live. I umm’ed, ahh’ed and probably also pouted. I was regretting my adult decision to give it a miss.

It seems the pouting had started to get to my better half and while I was away for work, around 7 sleeps before Weezer touched down in Perth, she surprised me with a ticket over Skype. Smiles were had. So many smiles.

Wisconsin's own… Weezer!
Wisconsin’s own… Weezer!

Cut to last Wednesday night, the twenty-third of January, and I’m around five pre-teen girls away from the barrier, screaming along the words to In The Garage along with thousands of others.

In the garage, I feel safe.
No one cares about my ways.
In the garage where I belong.
No one hears me sing this song.

I think back to that day on the bus when Weezer found me. Swap Rivers’ garage out for my own teenage bedroom, and I’m all of a sudden back there, enjoying my own company [6], engrossed in my own world, not needing anyone or anything else.

This week’s 52 Blogs topic was bedtime, and since Weezer was such a big part of my week, as soon as I read the topic, I couldn’t help but think of this song. It’s a tenuous link sure, but what can do you?

[1] Please don’t judge, I’d been out of work for a long time and my new work place’s internet connection had the speed and lax browsing policies that allowed for that kind of thing.

[2] Ask me about my Revised and 4th edition cards. I still have them!

[3] Which was later renamed to Vampire: The Eternal Struggle, in a move that pre-dated any sort of post September 11th sensitivity.

[4] Which would explain my incredibly poor performance in TEE maths. Sorry Mum!

[5] No attempts were made to hide the fact that this was a 90s comic.

[6] Not like that! Well… sometimes not like that.


Author: Mark Ampersand

Budding writer, connoisseur of fine popular culture and Batman fan.

One thought on “… of Adult Decisions and Teenage Dreams”

  1. Songs like ‘Island In The Sun’ transported the audience to an idyllic holiday getaway, whereas ‘El Scorcho’ from the highly acclaimed ‘Pinkerton’ album serves as the ultimate anthem for everyone who has experienced the embarrassment of not being able to approach a crush. It must be said that Weezer are truly one of the few bands still around that have the perfect blend of nostalgia and relevance in their songs.

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