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Velouria

“Velouria” dropped at an interesting time in the Weezer chronology. A cover of a Pixies tune, it was recorded in 1998 and released, finally, in June of 1999 on the Where Is My Mind? tribute album. It was, after spring 1997’s excellent Good Life EP, the first Weezer song to be officially released in over two years. It’s also significant for the fact that it is the band’s first released recording with second bassist Mikey Welsh, who replaced Matt Sharp after he defected to focus on the Rentals’ protracted Seven More Minutes sessions.

Although it may have been bittersweet to have waited so long to only get a cover, it must have been electrifying to know that Weezer was back to recording. It doesn’t hurt that this is a fantastic performance across the board: Rivers and Brian’s voices have never sounded finer, the band is in top rocking form, and they manage to take the Pixies classic and make it their own. The band plays with deep feeling, and to my ears, Weezer’s production has never sounded better — the mix is clear, the instruments are well defined, and everything is in its right place. While not showcasing any of Rivers’ songwriting from this era (the mysterious 1997-1999 period, that all signs point to having been a lost grail), it certainly must have given the impression that despite a commercial flop and an estranged founding member, Weezer had not missed a beat in the downtime, and were poised to come back stronger than ever.

Interestingly, this comes from an August 1998 session at Mouse House Studios, in LA. At least four other (original) songs were attempted, but we know nothing of them to date other than the titles, for which two are remarkable: “Trampoline” (a word present in the first line of “Velouria” — a connection, perhaps?), and “Disco Queen” (simply because it sounds interesting, especially in the context of Weezer).

49 Comments

  1. Art Vandelay wrote:

    I can’t find the source at the moment, but I believe Frank Black himself has gone on record as saying Weezer’s Velouria cover is great.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 5:08 pm | Permalink
  2. tapegun wrote:

    as you stated, when this dropped it was the first thing we had heard since homie and while at the time i didn’t know much about the pixies, i loved the song.

    i know everyone is all gaga for sftbh stuff but these demos would have to be for me the “band” demos i most want to hear! how many total songs did they record? didn’t karl or someone describe the songs as heavy?

    this is the session that produced that classic pic of rivers and brian in a studio with the asian porn mag on the music stand…someone correct me if i’m wrong.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 5:20 pm | Permalink
  3. GumbyTom wrote:

    I think ’98 is the most interesting year in Weezer history, if only because we don’t have any idea what they were doing at the time.

    Tapegun, you’re right about the picture. In the Summer of ’98, the only news we had about the band was from Pat, who maintained a modest page on weezer.net (limited archives available at http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://weezer.net/pat). One day, he posted a note saying the band was recording a cover of Velouria, as well as two other songs, Damn that Wine and Ol’ Backwater.

    As a side note, one day that fall on alt.music.weezer, someone asked what the titles of the other songs were, so I posted “Damn that Wine and Ol’ Backwater.” A day or so later, Karl posts that Pat was just pulling our collective legs and those didn’t sound like song titles at all. I think the recording history proved who was right on that one 🙂 .

    Anyway, after Pat posted this, I went out and bought Bossanova, and was amazed, because with its pacing and melody, Velouria sounded like a Weezer song.

    When I got the CD (a preview copy of the CD in April of ’99) I was blown away by the Weezer version. It was totally the opposite of what I expected- and I loved it. Soy, you’re right–you could hear everything, and this version felt like it was about something, while the original sounds more about the sound (if that makes any sense).

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 5:46 pm | Permalink
  4. Soyrev wrote:

    1997 up to SS2k is definitely the holiest of grails for me, in terms of unreleased Weezer. The song titles from that period alone are insane…”Kilimanjaro?” “Socialite?” “I Have To Kill You?” I have to hear these!

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
  5. tapegun wrote:

    hey gumbytom…who were you on alt.music.weezer ? i was blueguy.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 6:59 pm | Permalink
  6. Martin wrote:

    As a huge Pixies fan I have to say I like this more than the original. Listen to Rivers voice there. If only he’d never picked up an Oasis album. Somewhere he’s said that Oasis listens caused him to lose some emotion from his voice. Maybe that was an excuse?

    Although, I think Socialite sounds like an awesome song. I’m fairly sure that THIS is the sound that should have been Weezer’s third album. I love green, but damn I want to know what album might have been.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 8:09 pm | Permalink
  7. GumbyTom wrote:

    About a.m.w, I wasn’t a regular, but I’d post occasionally.

    And Martin, I’ve heard also that the Oasis influence had an effect on his voice- particularly in the post-Pinkerton years, as he consciously wanted to do dramatic, romantic type songs, but ones that were less personal.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 8:15 pm | Permalink
  8. Martin wrote:

    I’m looking in the recording history. I guess I’d forgotten that in 1997 Rivers re-cut the vocal parts for Getting up and Leaving. So what do you guys think? What would have been better? Rivers ’96 Pinkerton-style vocal cut or his ’97 performance? I’ll take either really, but in my opinion Rivers voice sounded it’s best in 1997 and 1998. Sadly, that’s also when we hear it least.

    It’s moments like these I don’t like Matt Sharp.

    Anyways, I am very curious to know what happened between Velouria and the Island in the Sun demo, because the difference is night and day.

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008 at 8:20 pm | Permalink
  9. Soyrev wrote:

    It’s moments like these I pine for Matt Sharp like a girl pines for his abusive ex-boyfriend. Sure, he used to hit me a little when it got bad, but it was so much better than anything before or since…

    And Martin, I agree — this should have been the TGA sound. Dark, emotional, mature, and brilliantly produced!

    “Finally through the roof…”

    Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 5:18 am | Permalink
  10. Martin wrote:

    I love Matt Sharp. I don’t necessarily think Weezer would be better with him, and I don’t like the LLL EP, but I love the early Rentals work and his solo album.

    You know I’d never realized how flawless the production on this song was until I read your post. I mean, it’s brilliant! It’s messy, dark, rough, but so clean sounding, so concise, so clear and focused, etc. It reminds me of the Pinkerton demos. That fusion of blue and pink sound with a bit of modern recording technology.

    Oh, what might have been.

    Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 10:03 am | Permalink
  11. GumbyTom wrote:

    Tape…sorry I forgot your question. I posted under chance50jr (my old AOL accoun).

    Actually, this song showed me how brilliant the band could be without Matt. The bass made a statement on this recording. And falsetto backing vocals be damned, the bassists kept getting better and better.

    Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 6:48 pm | Permalink
  12. Soyrev wrote:

    You know, Mikey was perfectly capable of the falsetto backup — with a little less character than Matt’s, inevitably, but still very solid. It’s just that Rivers didn’t write any falsetto parts in for TGA, and so…

    Yeah Martin, make this the template for A3 and you’ve got a killer record. Who the hell turned the knobs for this one? Fuck Ocasek!

    Thursday, July 24, 2008 at 8:56 pm | Permalink
  13. NoobcakesMcGee wrote:

    This is definitely on my top 5 covers list, if not the best. It’s amazing to listen to Rivers’ voice here and compare that to pretty much anything on Green. One can only wonder what happened…

    Friday, July 25, 2008 at 10:54 am | Permalink
  14. skiz wrote:

    I remember reading on the old weezer.net site that the background vox were actually mikey. and it’s also interesting to compare the Veloria vocals with Crazy One’s vocals, which were from only 4 months later.

    Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 7:02 pm | Permalink
  15. Soyrev wrote:

    Mikey, huh? Guy’s got even better pipes than I thought (or, a better voice, at least). And which was 4 months later? “Velouria” or “Crazy One”?

    Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 8:41 pm | Permalink
  16. skiz65 wrote:

    yeah, i remember reading that it was mikey’s vox on the old weezer.net page when that comp came out. i’m pretty sure if you go on archive.org and look it up, you can find it. and according to rec hist, Veloria was August 98 and according to the notes in Alone, Crazy One was Dec.

    Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 9:41 pm | Permalink
  17. Soyrev wrote:

    I still think Rivers’ voice sounds good and fitting on “Crazy One,” though. By the time of IITS, he sounds like garbage. =\

    Sunday, August 3, 2008 at 9:55 pm | Permalink
  18. Soyrev wrote:

    An official TVS “The Very Best” selection.

    Monday, August 11, 2008 at 11:49 am | Permalink
  19. steelopus wrote:

    Until the release of Miss Sweeney, this was the last recording on which Rivers’ voice sounded genuine, true, and unforced.

    Miss Sweeney left me with hope that things could turn back in the right direction. Time will tell.

    Monday, August 18, 2008 at 7:31 pm | Permalink
  20. Soyrev wrote:

    It’s funny that you say that. My girlfriend (who I just got into Weezer this summer; she loves Pinkerton and TBA, stuff like “Longtime Sunshine” and “Lover In The Snow”; “Mykel & Carli” is her favorite) really loves “Miss Sweeney.” She said “It just sounds so genuine” — funny that you use the same word to describe.

    I feel that you’ve got a point, although I think that voice comes through on TAATO, “Pig” and “The Spider,” too.

    Monday, August 18, 2008 at 7:44 pm | Permalink
  21. Soyrev wrote:

    Ugh, relistening now — who the FUCK mixed this session? IT IS PERFECT. The last truly great, flawless Weezer recording? At least till ’08…

    I really wanna hear what else they attempted that day (“Trampoline” and a couple others, I recall).

    Thursday, November 13, 2008 at 10:47 pm | Permalink
  22. brado8 wrote:

    ‘It must have been electrifying to know that Weezer was back and recording.’

    It was. I still remember my good friend calling me to tell me that not only was a Pixies tribute album coming out(we were also big Pixies fans), but that Weezer would be on it. Up until that moment, I’d figured the band had broken up.

    Monday, December 15, 2008 at 6:02 pm | Permalink
  23. Melack wrote:

    Yes the production on this track is brilliant.

    It’s dark as Pinkerton but it’s also cleaner like Blue, like the perfect mix of the two albums.

    Backup vocals are great. Rivers takes the greatest thing about this song and showcases it even more, the contrast between the pretty verses and the more bitter chorus.

    This is how Album 3 should have sounded like, that’s for sure.

    Friday, December 19, 2008 at 6:07 pm | Permalink
  24. OOS wrote:

    After finally giving Doolittle a listen and then this, I can safely say that this should’ve made an album. I don’t care that it’s a cover, it’s amazing. Those sessions have now joined Deliverance and Fallen Soldiers as my Weezer holy grails.

    Friday, May 1, 2009 at 10:17 am | Permalink
  25. ehsteve14 wrote:

    Well, apparently that long-delayed Odds and Ends (now called “Death to False Metal”) compilation is finally coming out on November 2nd, and, according to Karl, it features “tracks from the ‘weezer mystery year’ 1998.” Are we finally going to get those other songs? It seems pretty possible now…

    Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 12:44 am | Permalink
  26. ehsteve14 wrote:

    Sorry to double post, but here’s the link…

    http://www.weezer.com/blog/default.aspx?nid=28648

    Saturday, August 28, 2010 at 12:49 am | Permalink
  27. Melack wrote:

    Trampoline and Everyone from Veloruia sessions on Death to False Metal. Fucking yay!

    Trampoline is a pop song while Everyone is really heavy. Stoked for both!

    Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Permalink
  28. Soyrev wrote:

    For some reason I have some doubts that those two are gonna be great songs…but I still hold onto hope that I’ll be pleasantly surprised. 😀

    Friday, September 3, 2010 at 10:29 am | Permalink
  29. nonnymouse wrote:

    Trampoline is my favorite off Death to False Metal, while Everyone is a really cool ‘experiment’ that I enjoy.

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 8:27 am | Permalink
  30. Ludicrosity wrote:

    Wow, it’s hard to believe those three songs were recorded in the same sessions now that I hear them — obviously very different in tone, arrangement and lyrical (non)-development. Well alright, Everyone and Trampoline don’t have much in the way of lyrical diversity but they are both very different, sound-wise.

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 11:14 am | Permalink
  31. Soyrev wrote:

    Structurally speaking, I think “Trampoline” and “Everyone” are quite similar — they’re very circular, static songs.

    You’ve got repetitive gibberish verse, repetitive gibberish chorus, verse two, chorus two, slight left-turn for the solo, and then a final chorus with one simple extra vocal line added in. The fact that Cuomo didn’t know “how” to finish these songs in ’98 is kind of mindblowing — their completed versions on DTFM are so obvious.

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 5:01 pm | Permalink
  32. yim_yecker wrote:

    Do you have the previous recordings of these songs to see what he changed? I think that Everyone in particular sounds really nice on this album and the solo is a very cool one. It reminds me of Queens of the Stone Age’s album Era Vulgaris because it had a few songs with neat cool-sounding-out-of-nowhere changes. I appreciate that kind of stuff and being a huge fan I doubt that Cuomo came up with something like this final version’s solo at the first recording.

    I guess this should wait for your eventual write-up for Everyone but I felt put-off by your comment of dismissal, Mr. Rev.

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 8:28 pm | Permalink
  33. Mr. Sweeney wrote:

    Anybody else notice the Pixie’s influence on Trampoline. There’s the connection between Velouria’s lyrics (Hold my head / We’ll trampoline) and Trampoline. Also, River’s doesn’t seem to have touched his amp setting inbetween songs, the guitars sound pretty similar. Plus it features a pretty clear loudsoftloud Pixie’s style signature. Everyone, on the other hand, sounds very Nirvanaesque to me (Nirvana being another band heavily influenced by The Pixies.) Maybe Rivers was listening to some late 80’s/early 90’s pop/rock while in hiding back in ’98.

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 8:34 pm | Permalink
  34. AF wrote:

    Despite agreeing that the description “pleasantly mediocre” from the forums is a good fit, “Trampoline” is easily my favourite from DTFM. That twin-guitar solo is so simple, but there’s just something about it that really hits the spot for me.

    While both it and “Everyone” are lyrical gibberish, I just get frustrated listening to “Everyone” because the amount of time which is devoted to just repeating that word over and over. Also, “suck a thumb” and “kick a bum (KICK THAT BUM, YEAH!)” have got to be two of the most bizarre/dumb lyrical choices in the colourful Cuomo canon.

    My biggest disappointment (for “Everyone” in particular) was that from the info we’ve been given it seems Mikey isn’t playing the bass on these recordings. This is from a non-musical standpoint, obviously, since we don’t know what – if anything – was changed from how the bass parts were originally performed.

    The first time I heard “Everyone”, I immediately formed a clear picture in my mind of the 4 guys (’97–98 long-haired Rivers, Mikey on bass) in a room aggressively bashing the song out live-to-tape. In the post-solo section (before the “I can’t see straight” part), Pat and Mikey were trading a grin and that “yeah, we are rocking this shit OUT” look (you know the one I mean). It’s a romanticised view of the situation – the setup was possibly nothing like that at all – but it made the song so much more enjoyable than it otherwise would have been. It’s similar to the phenomenon that makes me enjoy “Hash Pipe” more when I can see the video, or imagine that they recorded “Say It Ain’t So” live in the garage, or “El Scorcho” while goofing around in some old ballroom.

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 8:49 pm | Permalink
  35. Soyrev wrote:

    Don’t get me wrong Mr. Yecker, I really dig “Everyone” and “Trampoline.” They’re just very simple nonsense songs, outside of their pleasant-surprise solos.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 12:21 am | Permalink
  36. Ludicrosity wrote:

    I thought the lyric in Everyone was “Kick a ball.” If it’s “kick a bum,” that’s really terrible… “kick a ball” isn’t much better but anyone using the word “bum” in a song at Rivers’ age needs to re-evaluate their approach to songwriting.

    And Soy, that’s what I meant by the lyrical repetition in my post — the formula is pretty much the same but the instrumentation and tone for both Trampoline and Everyone are pretty drastically different.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink
  37. yim_yecker wrote:

    I’m just saying… I can kinda see why it would take time to color in a song like this. Anyone can jam out a repetitive Nirvana-sounding song where you stick to some mantra with added intensity in the vocals. I feel like I could make songs like that sometimes; As meaningless as it is, it can be very expressive. I don’t think Cuomo is shitting us about these songs being dead ends. Just having the idea of this Nirvana inspired song isn’t enough to make the song your own. You’ve got to dig deep sometimes to find something special and I think that they did find that special goodness for Everyone and all the other DTFM songs in this way. I imagine they used the “let them sit” method: one of the final steps of “Let’s Write a Sawng”.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm | Permalink
  38. Soyrev wrote:

    Yes, personally I’m happy to accept Rivers’ decision to call DTFM album 9 — it’s their best since Green.

    Tuesday, November 9, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink
  39. yim_yecker wrote:

    Wow, you can hear where Weezer was influenced by the Pixies bigtime in some of their songs. The end of Letter to Memphis, for example, has all that crunchy feedback that made me a true Weezer addict in the first place. Wonderful!

    Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Permalink
  40. skiz65 wrote:

    AF, i imagined a very similar image of the 1998 era version of the band playing and recording Everyone and Trampoline.

    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 11:13 am | Permalink
  41. skiz65 wrote:

    And yes, i was also disapointed (from a non-musical standpoint) that Mikey was edited out of Everyone and Trampoline.

    Friday, January 14, 2011 at 11:16 am | Permalink
  42. Casey wrote:

    ^I hear you, but the disappointment was “non-musical” for me, beyond just wishing MW was still on the track. To wit: Scott’s awful, lunkheaded nu-metal tone in “Everyone.” I have to think Mikey’s sound was less aggro and obvious.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011 at 2:16 pm | Permalink
  43. Chris wrote:

    Hey, soyrev? I tried digging on allmusic but there are just TOO MANY producers and engineers credited for that album, so I used discogs instead.

    So I went to discogs instead, where it says “Produced by: Rich Moser, Todd Sullivan, Weezer”. Considering Sullivan’s other credits on the site are exclusively management, would you say that it’s probably Moser and Weezer who were manning the mixing boards?

    Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Permalink
  44. Chris wrote:

    Mysteriously enough, on both discogs and allmusic “Velouria” is Rich Moser’s only credit, ever. One Song Wonder much?

    Sunday, October 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Permalink
  45. Soyrev wrote:

    Wow. That’s insane. How did they find him? Where did he go from there? Clearly he’s quite talented…

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Permalink
  46. Chris wrote:

    Yeah, it’s crazy how he doesn’t have any other work.

    Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 12:20 am | Permalink
  47. clonus wrote:

    Just Googled – his correct name is Rich MOUSER, and he’s mixed/engineered a lot of stuff. Poor guy didn’t get the proper credit on the Pixies tribute album. Geez!

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011 at 10:24 am | Permalink
  48. Chris wrote:

    That makes sense… I almost lost out on my student accommodation because somebody misspelled my name.

    Tho’, honestly the only things I recognise here: http://www.discogs.com/artist/Rich+Mouser are Corrosion of Conformity and Dream Theatre…

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink
  49. AF wrote:

    He’s also co-credited with “digital editing” on the first Alone, which I guess is for something like the shortening of the “Lover in the Snow” demo.

    Plus mixing of the version of The Rentals’ “Sweetness & Tenderness” which appears on the Last Little Life EP.

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011 at 10:44 pm | Permalink

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