With the onslaught of winter approaching, Weezer remain in a tropical state of mind. This weekend, they’ll head to Pensacola Beach to headline DeLuna Fest, playing alongside an eclectic lineup that features everyone from Cake to Cut Copy to Jane’s Addiction. Then in January, the groundbreaking Weezer Cruise sets sail for a sonic jubilee featuring a barrage of gnarly power pop and indie bands such as Yuck, The Antlers, and of course, Dinosaur Jr. (with a bonus solo set from J Mascis and Lou Barlow’s legendary second band, Sebadoh). We caught up with Weezer drummer Pat Wilson to discuss the festival, the cruise, and why he hates Miss Piggy.
Note: This interview was conducted before the untimely, recent death of former Weezer bassist Mikey Welsh.
Have you spent a lot of time at the beach before?
In Spring break ’87! [laughs]
Are you going to do some tequila shots?
No, I can’t do that. I would enjoy an India Pale Ale though.
Are there any bands you’re looking forward to seeing? The Shins? Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears? Jane’s Addiction?
I like The Shins a lot.
It seems like a beach-themed year for you guys. First DeLuna, then the Weezer Cruise…
The Weezer Cruise is going to be epic. A ton of cool bands on there. We’ve got Dinosaur Jr. and Sebadoh and Wavves. Gene Ween is going to be there. It’s going to be fun.
Are you going to be hanging out around the boat a lot with fans or are you going to try and stay separate until the shows?
We’re going to be hanging the whole time. We’ve got all kinds of things planned. I wanted to hit golf balls into the ocean, but someone told me they don’t do that anymore.
Yeah, I think you can get some biodegradable golf balls, which I think would be fine. It’s just going to be fun, goofy stuff like that.
You also just did a song for the Muppets’ Green Album.
When you guys recorded your version of “The Rainbow Connection”, did you have any kind of interaction with the people working on the new movie, or even the Muppets themselves?
We hung out a little bit with them. We’re kind of tight with them from back in the day, with the “Keep Fishin'” video and all that. So I was stoked when they asked us to work out a song for them.
Have you been a Muppets fan since you were a little kid?
Would you say Animal’s your favorite since he’s a drummer and all?
No, I think my favorite is…I can’t remember his last name, but I like the professor.
Yeah, Bunsen Honeydew. I love that guy.
On the “Keep Fishin'” video, you got locked in the closet by Animal, right?
It was Miss Piggy.
Because she had a thing for you?
She had a thing for me.
Oh yeah, and then Animal took your place at the drums. He was always my favorite Muppet, but I was also really scared of him when I was little. He was so unpredictable. Did you have any feeling like that working with him or was he mainly just funny?
I didn’t really feel one way or the other about Animal. But who I did not like was Miss Piggy. I had an intense reaction to her. I didn’t like pushy chicks. I was always like “get ’em out of here.” [laughs] I was like “really, I gotta do this?” [laughs] I literally have ancient feelings of resentment and revulsion that came up with when…like when Miss Piggy’s face was right in my face, I just wanted to stomp her. [laughs]
That was a genuine feeling?
It was the way she was just so pushy and kind of fat. I was like “get out of here.” [laughs]
To an extent, they’re puppets, but they’re also these iconic characters. It’s almost like you forget about the person operating them.
You do. It’s amazing. When they’re doing it, you forget about them. You can see the dude operating it, but the puppet still comes to life. It’s pretty wild. Another weird thing is they won’t let anyone film or photograph the characters if they’re not being animated.
That’s true. You don’t ever see a picture of an actual Kermit puppet laying by itself, unless it’s in a museum exhibit or something.
Yeah, it’s cool.
Do you guys all have kids?
I think everyone but Brian.
Not that you’ve ever been known as notorious partiers, but do you feel like as you’ve gotten older and settled down with families that you find yourself hanging out with other rockers less and less, going out until two in the morning, that sort of thing?
Yeah, we never really got into that. Of all the guys in the band, I probably partied the most. And to me, that means going over to my friend’s house to have a session. Not going out to a club or anything.
In the festival environment, with something like DeLuna, is there a lot of backstage debauchery or is it usually just people taking it easy?
It’s a surprising lack of debauchery pretty much. I wish I would’ve been around when they were doing all that stuff. [laughs]
Do you think rock bands in general have grown a little tamer? Obviously there are rock stars who have their issues, but you never really hear about a Zeppelin or Stones type band anymore…people who just have these insane stories about what happens backstage with groupies.
You know who I think gets after all that shit is the bro bands. I think they’re still kind of punching the clock on that. Like the Motorcross dudes and stuff like that. [laughs] I think they’re getting into the debauchery. And shit, I’m 42 with two kids. What am I going to do, go out and bang hookers and snort coke? It’s not going to happen.
You guys have been playing the entire Blue Album again as of late. Do you have a preference for doing the older songs over the newer cuts?
I like doing the old songs. It’s novel. As long as the music feels good and the song is good, I don’t really care if it’s old or new.
Photo by Heather Kaplan
I saw you guys at the Aragon a couple of years ago. Everyone was taking turns singing lead, and you had gotten another drummer so you could play guitar while Rivers Cuomo could run around and do his thing. Is that still part of the show or are you back to the more traditional lineup?
Well Rivers plays more guitar now and I play more guitar now and we sort of use Josh [Freese] on most of the drums. But yeah, Rivers still wants to have that freedom to put the guitar down and interact with the crowd.
Is that something you’ve developed over the past few years? I saw one of your first post-hiatus live shows between Pinkerton and The Green Album and Rivers didn’t talk much at all to the crowd. He kind of planted himself onstage and did his thing.
I can’t tell you how many shows we did where nobody said anything to the crowd and we just kind of played our songs and then left. There’s something to be said for that, but I think other times, people want that interaction.
Both aesthetics are cool. Is it true that when you play the older albums all the way through, you try and replicate what you wore back in the day?
Rivers does. He’ll pull out something he would wear back in the day. I don’t really do that.
Are you guys recording any new stuff right now?
Rivers is writing songs right now and hopefully, come early next year, we’ll start banging them out.
Are you doing anything with your other bands or just sticking with Weezer?
I actually am. I’ve got 10 songs. I’m about halfway done mixing it. I don’t know where or who it’s going to come out on, but I’m looking forward to releasing that pretty soon as well.
Not to play favorites, but has Weezer always been your favorite set of musicians to play with?
They’re the only guys I play with. [laughs]
So is The Special Goodness just you or is that other folks too?
That’s all me at this point. They’re my favorite band. [laughs]