About a month ago, I spent a few days in the studio with Weezer as they put the finishing touches on their new album, Everything Will Be Alright in the End. Despite the fact that this is their ninth proper studio album, the process of making records hasn’t gotten any easier. “Making records is weird,” drummer Pat Wilson said after a particularly intense session. “It’s different every time.”
But there’s also time for fun, and one of the things the band really drove home during the course of our conversations was how much they have really been enjoying each other lately. There hasn’t always been harmony, but at the moment they are a pretty cohesive unit.
That being said, they are not without argument. Case in point: After recording wrapped one day, Wilson and bassist Scott Shriner stuck around to play me some rough tracks and talk about the recording process. But we soon drifted away from Everything Will Be Alright In The End to a standing argument between the two.
“Here’s something: Who’s the most burnt band ever?” Wilson asked. “You know what I mean by burnt? Like, Bachman Turner Overdrive is pretty burnt. We have an ongoing debate, and I’m never gonna change my mind, but Bob Seger is more burnt than anybody.”
While Wilson was explaining why he sides with Seger as the “most burnt,” Shriner was in the bathroom. But that didn’t stop him from weighing in. “It’s BTO!” Shriner yelled.
“Dude, what about ‘Her Strut’?” Wilson countered. “He just has the sheer volume of burntness. The curve is all Bob Seger, but maybe BTO spikes harder.”
Shriner would not be deterred. “Sheepskin vests and hockey jerseys and beards across the board—that’s BTO. I rest my case,” he declared. “It’s brutal. Bob Seger is like a singer-songwriter, kind of cool guy.”
“He overwhelms you with burntness,” Wilson said. “Plus, BTO only has like four tunes.”
“They’ve got like 15 records of crushing pure unadulterated filthy burnt to the core,” Shriner said. “BTO jumped out of the womb burnt already.”
“How about ‘We’ve Got Tonight’? It makes me feel so brown inside! I hate it!” Wilson countered, firing up Seger’s “We’ve Got Tonight.”
“That’s a different kind of burnt,” Shriner offered. “There’s a bikerness about BTO. And a woodsmanness that takes it to another level.”
Wilson was convinced he was going to win this argument. “Come on man, what about ‘Night Moves’?”
“That’s not that burnt,” Shriner said. “What’s the definition of burnt?”
“Maybe he’s just dusty. Maybe he’s the dustiest,” Wilson offered. “Dusty versus burnt is an interesting conversation. There’s also smokey.”
Looking to put the nail in the coffin on the burnt discussion, Shriner offered up BTO’s “You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet.”
“I’ll give you this one. I hate this riff,” Wilson said. “It’s not that burnt, though. It’s too energetic. You know what’s a really burnt record? Caress of Steel by Rush. That’s f–king burnt.”
With that, Shriner played “Takin’ Care of Business,” which silenced just about everybody in the room, because that song is truly burnt.
Shriner seemed to win that round, though it’s fairly certain the “burnt” conversation will continue as long as Weezer rolls on.