Rivers Cuomo and Conan O'Brien swap stories from Harvard Hall: Listen now

A fascinating look at the inner workings of one of Rock music's most prolific songwriters
Rivers Cuomo of Weezer
Rivers Cuomo of Weezer Photo credit Michael Chang/Getty Images
By , Audacy

Amidst the band's latest project, their four-part SZNZ offering which will see its final release, Winter, arriving this December, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo joined Conan O’Brien's podcast this week to discuss not only music but also their shared experiences in entertainment over the years since they met back in the early '90s.

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Long-time fans (Conan included) will remember Weezer's very first television appearance on his show in 1994, when the band performed their "Undone (Sweater Song)" for the studio audience. Looking back again almost 30 years later, Conan says he enjoyed the way the band oddly provided their own background party banter at the beginning of the song, just as much as his awkward lawyer look.

At the beginning of their chat, frontman Rivers Cuomo shared a funny story about the band's beginnings, specifically how he wrote the "Sweater Song" with the Velvet Underground in mind, only to realize while in the same room with Metallica's Lars Ulrich in 1995 that the lead riff is actually "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)," just in another key. "He was totally cool," when he broke the news to Lars, Cuomo says. Years later Rivers says Weezer even pondered performing their official Blacklist cover of "Enter Sandman" at a shared concert, and Metallica was all for it, but ultimately chickened out.

Diving into the process and technology behind Cuomo's songwriting -- which involves massive dropbox folders and data analytics on types of songs, verse lengths, and more, Rivers says he has been interested in music history and theory since he was a teenager. "I've hoarded massive amounts of data," he explains. "It was such a pain to work out the formulas in Google Sheets that I started learning computer programming because it's a much easier way to go through all the data and refresh it."

All of his research and hard work has paid off with the group's latest ambitious offering, SZNZ. "Each album has a primary emotion," Rivers explains. "'Spring' is optimistic, 'Summer' is angry, 'Autumn' is anxious, 'Winter' is sad. Each album has a primary genre: 'Spring' is supposed to sound like 'Island in the Sun,' 'Summer' is supposed to sound like Alternative '90s Rock, 'Autumn' is like dance-rock/Franz Ferdinand, and 'Winter' is like '90s singer/songwriter/Elliot Smith, that kind of thing."

Listen to the full Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend podcast with Rivers Cuomo above for a fascinating look at the inner workings of one of Rock music's most prolific songwriters -- now streaming on Audacy -- and don't miss Weezer live on October 22 at Audacy's We Can Survive concert at the Hollywood Bowl.

After 25 years at the Late Night desk, Conan O'Brien realized that the only people at his holiday party are the men and women who work for him. Over the years and despite thousands of interviews, Conan has never made a real and lasting friendship with any of his celebrity guests. So, he started a podcast to do just that. Deeper, unboundedly playful, and free from FCC regulations, Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend is a weekly opportunity for Conan to hang out with the people he enjoys most and perhaps find some real friendship along the way.

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Featured Image Photo Credit: Michael Chang/Getty Images