Updated: 15 Aug 2012
Intriguing Weezer/Beach Boys similarities
On the left, Weezer pose during their third album sessions in winter of 2000/2001 (left to right: Mikey Welsh, Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson, and Brian Bell). On the right, the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds sessions in the winter/spring of 1966 (Bruce Johnston, Brian Wilson, Al Jardine, and Dennis Wilson). Weezer's roadie, Karl Koch, picked up on the fact that both albums were recorded at United Western Recorders in Los Angeles. I'm under the impression that he staged the Weezer photograph.
- Here's Rivers Cuomo and his rendition of The Beach Boys' "God Only Knows." Explore Cuomo's YouTube channel.
- Rivers covered The Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby" in 1992; it appears on the 2008 compilation Alone II: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo. This may or may not be the same version cited earlier.
- The intro to "Across The Sea" is likely a hat-tip to the Beach Boys' intro to "You Still Believe In Me."
- More lyrical similarities: in "Surf Wax America" Rivers sings "My buddies and their honeys all come along"; In "Surfin' Safari" Brian sings "Some honeys will be coming along..." Also: shoes and kicking: In "Buddy Holly" Rivers sings "...I lost my shoe. I can't run and I can't kick...." In "Vegetables" Brian sings "I tried to kick the ball but my tenny flew right off..." (submitted by anonymous web post).
- Pet Sounds was released in 1966, Pinkerton in 1996. Both albums were not commercially successful and dismissed by fans of the bands' earlier works. After many years, both albums have grown in stature to the point where they're considered each band's best album. And both titles are 9 letters long and start with "P" (submitted by "Gregg") Matt's additions: both albums have Japanese women on the back covers; both albums have photographs of their respective leaders at the piano, despite the fact that it's not their primary instrument — Brian on the back cover and Rivers in the booklet.
- Weezer's "Holiday" mirrors Brian Wilson's "On a Holiday".
- Cuomo and Wilson both have physical defects on the right sides of their bodies: Brian, with his near-deafness in his ear, and Rivers with his shorter leg that required breaking and resetting.
- Weezer covered the Beach Boys' "Don't Worry Baby" before working on their Pinkerton album.
- Rivers, "Across the Sea" (1996): "At ten I shaved my head and tried to be a monk." Van Dyke Parks (2004): "Brian [Wilson] was monastic in his work...Brian was a monk."
- The frontmen of both bands were born a week apart and have the astrological sign of Gemini (Rivers Cuomo 13 June 1970; Brian Wilson 20 June 1942).
- Note the eyeglasses. Rivers seems to wear them seriously — not in an ironic manner.
- The lyrical sentiment of the Beach Boys' "In My Room" and Weezer's "In The Garage" seem strikingly similar (original idea submitted by Mark Jensen). Both carry the theme of feeling safe and not being afraid: Brian in his room and Rivers in his garage. Brian uses "world" as an extended metaphor twice to describe his room. Actually, Brian was probably referencing his music room — the only place he felt comfortable. In fact, Brian eventually moved his bed into the music room and "moved in". This music room, coincidentally, was located in the garage.
In the aforementioned songs, both mention laughter: Brian's "...laugh at yesterday" and Rivers' "..no one laughs about my ways". While Brian relies on the room itself to shut out the fears and pain, River relies on personal possessions to keep his mind off things: posters on his wall, role playing games, et cetera. Both have a personal attachment to their rooms, and use them as vehicles for self expression. While "In My Room" is somber and lonely, "In the Garage" was written immediately following Weezer's signing with DGC Records, so naturally the song comes off as light and happy.
- Weezer's "Purification of Water": "..don't drink the water; it's bad for your health." The Beach Boys' "Don't Go Near the Water": "Our water's going bad...don't go near the water..."
- Both bands have had gigs at the Whiskey a Go-Go in LA.
- Both bands have used the phrase "island in the sun" in a song. (Beach Boys: "Luau": "Just pretend your patio is an island in the sun". Weezer: obviously, with "Island in the Sun".
- From a concert review (February 2002): "Frontman Rivers Cuomo was decked out in a Maoist-looking outfit and sported a very Smile-era Brian Wilson beard. . . " — Gideon Yago, MTV news. Footnote: Brian had a small beard briefly in the summer of 1967, months after scrapping the Smile sessions. He grew a beard again in 1973 and wore one until the early 1980s.
- Jimmy Pop of the Bloodhound Gang seems to be distantly associated with both bands. On a recent album, he covered "Along Comes Mary", a song co-written by Tandyn Almer, the Beach Boys' friend and keyboardist in the late sixties and early seventies. Likewise, Pop loves Weezer and even wore a Weezer hat during a performance.
- From the Beach Boys' "Vegetables": "I'm red as a beet 'cause I'm so embarrassed." From Weezer's "Tired of Sex": "I'm beat. Beet red. Ashamed of what I said."
- Karl Koch, 22 January 2002, explaining the Beach Boys inspiration for the Blue Album cover:
"...when the Blue Album was being recorded, there was a lot of brainstorming going on as to what this record would look like . . . Rivers dug out a cassette. . . a cheapo Best of Beach Boys collection called Do It Again . . . the cover was really cool in its own rather hokey way, featuring the Beach Boys smiling for the camera, standing in a line of sorts, with a soothing blue background. Rivers said we had to acheive this effect on our cover, and so the idea of lining the guys up in striped shirts in front of a blue background took form.
"The guys actually went out and found four matching striped button down shirts, and in fact in late 1993 played at least one show wearing them, much to the contempt of the LA scenesters . . . the guys started [a photo] shoot in the striped shirts, but everyone later concluded that the photos looked better with everyone wearing regular clothes. . . It just goes to show how difficult it is to do something new by doing something old."
- Beach Boys' "Let's Put Our Hearts Together" (1977). Weezer's "Let's Sew Our Pants Together". (1993?) A parody? Hardly.
- Both bands have had bassists that have been diagnosed with mental health issues.
- Both bands have had photo sessions involving animals. In 1966, the Beach Boys went to the San Diego Zoo for a photo shoot. In 2001, Weezer was filmed and photographed with various 'wild' animals for the "Island in the Sun" video. In a subpoint, both bands have used giraffes - The Beach Boys' Smiley Smile album has a drawing of a giraffe on the right side. Likewise, Weezer's "Island in the Sun" video contains a silhouette of a giraffe at the end.
- In an ATN interview, Rivers Cuomo talks about the Beach Boys and Brian Wilson, among other things. Read excerpts from the interview.
- Both bands have a song by the name of "I Do". Both songs are relatively rare.
- Both bands have recorded and released original Christmas songs.
- The Beach Boys have an instrumental called "Let's Go Away for Awhile". Likewise, "Holiday" by Weezer starts with the line "Let's go away for a while.."
- Journalists frequently catagorize Weezer as today's Beach Boys. For instance, Chris Mundy of Rolling Stone mentions Weezer's "...powerful bursts of Beach Boys harmonies, hand claps...", Mark Jenkins of the Washington Post tells of Weezer's "..almost-giggly Beach Boyish backing vocals." Kara Manning of Rolling Stone likens Weezer's sound to "..the Beach Boys on mascaline."
- Rivers Cuomo and Brian Wilson both adore the song "Walk on By".
- Look at this recent photo from Blender magazine. In the top left corner is a Brian Wilson tour poster. I tell you this isn't conincidental!
- Both band names are two syllables.
- The Beach Boys last studio album was released the first year of Weezer's existence. (1992).
- Both bands have members who have participated in side projects whose names begin and end with the letter 'S'. Bruce Johnston: Sagittarius. Brian Bell: Space Twins. Pat Wilson: Special Goodness. Also worthy of mention is Spring (a.k.a. American Spring), a side project of Brian Wilson's — involving his then-wife Marilyn Rovell.
- Both bands endured a three-year period in which no new material was released, yet they saw an unanticipated rise in popularity (Weezer: 1997-2000 and The Beach Boys:1973-1975).
- The leaders of both bands had fathers with alcohol problems.
- Both bands had guitarists that left the band within two years of formation (Jason Cropper of Weezer and David Marks of the Beach Boys).
- The Beach Boys almost had an album called Smile. Likewise, Weezer's third album has a song called "Smile". This may be pushing it but.. Both the Beach Boys' album Smiley Smile (the album that replaced Smile) and Weezer's Weezer (2001) (the album that contains the song "Smile") are both greenish.
- Weezer band members Pat Wilson and Mikey Welsh both love The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and stand proudly with a display copy at Western Studios in Los Angeles. Mikey appears to be wearing Brian Wilson-style eye glasses.
- Both bands have used falsetto singing effectively (Brian Wilson, Carl Wilson, Matt Sharp, Rivers Cuomo.)
- Both bands acheived major popularity in Japan. Furthermore, both bands have utilized Japanese culture in their songs and albums. The Beach Boys' album Pet Sounds has photos of the band in traditional Japanese attire; their L.A. (Light Album) has a drawing of a Japanese woman on the cover. Likewise, Weezer's Pinkerton has a photograph of a Japanese woman on the back cover and their "Hash Pipe" video has heavy Japanese influence. The Beach Boys' song "Sumahama" is an obvious tribute to Japanese culture and women. Likewise, Weezer's "El Scorcho" and "Across the Sea" were inspired by Japanese women.
- Weezer had a surfing song on their first album ("Surf Wax America") and later mentioned the Beach Boys in a song lyric ("Jamie").
- Both bands are from Los Angeles county, California (sort of).
- Weezer covered the Beach Boys' "Surfer Girl" in 1993, but it remains in the vaults. (WHY?!?)
- Weezer's lineup includes a Brian Bell and a Patrick Wilson. The Beach Boys, of course, were led by Brian Wilson. In a subpoint, both bands have drummers with the last name of Wilson. Also, both bands have a Carl: Beach Boy Carl Wilson and Weezer roadie/friend/personal assistant/archivist/web man Karl Koch. What's with the 'K', man?
Karl Koch excerpts and Weezer photographs © 2001-2002 weezer.com. Used with implicit permission.
Band photograph © c. 2002 Blender magazine.