Rivers Cuomo, Weezer
driving force, was born June 13, 1970 in Connecticut. In interview
s, Rivers often refers to his birthplace
ville". He likely does this for one or both
of two reasons: one, to keep the town from getting flooded
s, and two, to point out the strangeness
of his upbringing. His parents could be more or less accurately described as hippies
. Fans often assume
that Rivers is a pseudonym
, but it is not. His brother's name is Leaves Cuomo
. Apparently their parents were big on nature
. In fact, in high school
, Rivers went by the name Peter Kitts (Peter Criss
), a slight change in spelling from the name of the drummer in his favorite rock group
In the 1980s, Cuomo became increasingly aware of the hard sounds of metal, and he soon became a metalhead. He moved, along with the band he'd started with Leaves, to Los Angeles in the hopes of achieving stardom. The metal movement there soon faded away, and Cuomo's bandmates headed back to the East coast. Rivers eventually got a job at Tower Records, meeting Karl Koch and several other connections that eventually helped with the formation of Weezer. After being in several bands that didn't work out, some of them having future Weezer members in them, Rivers finally joined up with Matt Sharp, Jason Cropper, and Pat Wilson. They played shows for a while, until they finally got discovered by Geffen, and produced their first album "Weezer" after changing Jason with new guitarist Brian Bell.
After "Weezer", Rivers was pretty disillusioned with the rock and roll life. He headed off to Harvard, now having enough money to attend the school. He majored in English. During this time, also thanks to "Weezer" money, Rivers was going through a painful procedure to lengthen his left leg by 44 millimeters. Essentially, his femur was broken cleanly all the way around, and a complex device was attatched to his leg. Everyday, Rivers had to actually turn a series of screws to separate the bone by one millimeter. He talks about the pain he felt during this period in the song "The Good Life".
Rivers wrote "Pinkerton" from his very sad and angsty feelings. After he recovered somewhat, the band met again to record. Pinkerton was a disappointment critically and financially. Rivers was deeply hurt. He had opened up his heart, and people didn't like it. The band went on hiatus again, all members working on side-projects. Rivers worked with Homie and Rivers Cuomo Band during this time. For a while, it seemed that Weezer was gone for good.
Rivers and the rest of the band, including new bassist Mikey Welsh, joined forces again in 2000. Much to Cuomo's surprise, "Pinkerton" had developed a cult following and the band had more fans than ever before. One show in particular gave Weezer the motivation it needed to get back in the studio. They played at the Warped Tour. Rivers was sure that Weezer had been forgotten, especially by the sort of punk rock kids that were at Warped. He expected the band to be booed off of the stage. Instead, they were greeted with great enthusiasm.
Rivers was ready to start writing and recording again, and in 2001 "Weezer" (The Green Album) was released.