by Adam Gold
Whether or not Diarrhea Planet is an awesome or just awful band name is really in the eye of the beholder. They’re a good band, and even music fans with a sense of humor would concede that bands that are actually good shouldn’t tag themselves with novelty names. Then again, Diarrhea Planet are a good band with a song called “Ghost With a Boner” — which is actually a good song. So maybe they’ll go on to redefine how audiences judge band names? Until that happens, I think we can all agree that Diarrhea Planet is a name that would perfectly describe Weezer circa 2010. I mean, come on, the music they make now is shit. But the music they made 15 years ago was THE shit, and they know it. Hell, dogs know it. For that reason, as you know, Cuomo & Co. are set to embark on the “Blinkerton” Tour, in which they’ll do two-night stands in select cities with one night featuring the “Blue Album” and the other featuring Pinkerton, performed in their entireties. If you happened to follow a series of Tweets posted on Diarrhea Planet's Twitter yesterday, you’d have been thrilled to learn that Weezer had tapped the guitar-heavy Nashville punk rockers to support them on the upcoming outing.
Check out some of these Twit’ gems:
HOW DID THIS EVEN HAPPEN!?!?! one of my favorite bands ever asks us to go on tour with them?!
SOMEONE TELL ME HOW TO HANDLE THIS! if a manager asks about your "stage plot" before you've even confirmed...what do you say!?!?!
@pitchforkmedia leak announced: Weezer to have tour support from Diarrhea Planet!
I dunno what to do! our inbox is fucking overflowing! SOMEONE HELP!
I wonder how 4 guitars are gonna sound in a FUCKING STADIUM! #stoked
ugh, Rivers is gonna hate us. #childdreamscrushed but maybe he'll play solos again after seeing us!
@hellobentodd DONT BE JEALOUS! : )
@obitsband funny. Obits is our code word on tour for having a GREAT TIME! Or for when we accidentally pull a slippy.
@apacherelay can we borrow your van for this? for real, this is a huge opportunity.
@nylonmag #diarrheaplanettourwithweezer CANT BELIEVE THIS!
@yelyahwilliams you guys have toured with weezer right? is it solid? I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO!
@michaelianblack We got asked to tour with Weezer. What have YOU done today?
@allthingsweezer leak announced: Nashville's Diarrhea Planet, tour support for an upcoming winter Weezer tour!!!!!
You get the picture.
Given Weezer’s growing penchant for what-the-fuck-ness — like naming their latest release after a Lost character, letting the actor who played said character sing lead vocals on "Perfect Situation," writing "Perfect Situation" in the first place, covering Lady Gaga, marketing the Raditude record with Snuggies, et al. — it’s not unfathomable that they’d take Diarrhea Planet on the road just because of the juvenile nature of their band name alone, just to see how funny it would look to have it appear under their own name in large advertisements and on the marquees of huge concert halls. That’s also what makes it a great, smart prank on behalf of the DP crew. But, I regret to inform you that yesterday's Twitter campaign was indeed just that, a prank. Of course, it made rounds around the Twittosphere, and actually had us making phone calls in an attempt to suss out the validity of the band's Tweets. A Tweet posted early this morning said simply, “Gotcha, nerds.”
Well done, Diarrhea Planet.
While those fecal-minded Music City roustabouts were kidding, one guy who isn’t kidding — kinda — is James Burns, a dedicated former Weezer fan who made headlines yesterday when he announced a campaign to raise $10 million, which he intends to offer the band in exchange for their breakup. So far Burns has raised $1,813 for his cause. Given former Weezer drummer/current Weezer guitarist Patrick Wilson’s levity-laden response — via Twitter, of course — saying, “If they can make it to 20, we'll do the 'deluxe breakup!” you could say that Burns has only raised $906.50, relatively speaking. Click here if you’d like to donate.
Now, some people who really aren’t kidding are die-hard Weezer fans who’ve managed to stand by their band. In an interview with The New York Times Burns says, “I’ve actually received death threats over this. … Some people have told me they wish I would get AIDS.”
Uh … if someone doesn’t have the strength to stop listening to Weezer, how are they gonna muster the will to kill someone?
Burns likens Weezer’s last decade of releases to Metallica’s post-Black Album era, and goes on to say that he wishes their fans had a better sense of humor, conceding that his campaign is “silly.”
So what is it about the lighthearted, disposable-by-design, pop-rock Weezer sound that galvanizes both the band’s fans and haters alike? As a recovering Weezer fan, I feel like I can understand the psychology of both camps. Growing up in L.A., I used to sneak in to the secret shows the band played under the name Goat Punishment, I did my time in a Weezer cover band and I even appeared on the cover of “The Good Life” single. Check it out:
Basically, it’s like this: Weezer singer, (now occasional) guitarist, “song” writer, awkward hype-man and iron-fisted dictator, Rivers Cuomo, has essentially emerged as the George Lucas of alternative rock — diminishing the depth of his legacy through one increasingly befuddling, cringe-worthy, dead-horse-beating of his trademark after another. Like Star Wars fans, Weezer fans — I know, the Venn diagram between the two is a near perfect circle — take Cuomo’s ultimate betrayal of their dorkitude as a soul-crippling conceit to forces of the dark side. Remember, they did keep the band's name alive when it seemed the wake of Pinkerton had left them dead in the water. This is why Weezer’s recent creative valleys have inspired and inflamed such passions. You see, there’s a difference between making records and moves that your establishing audience can’t get behind, but tweenagers can, and making records and moves so shocking in their shallowness that it’s impossible to look away and, you know, make believe they don't exist, leading fans of the old-school era to not only detest the modern version of the band, but actually start forsaking the material they once loved.
Next month I’ll make my annual Thanksgiving trip home to my old stomping ground. That trip just so happens to coincide with L.A.’s pair of Blinkerton dates. I’ve gotta admit: I’m a little (but only a little) tempted to go. It's said that doing the same thing twice and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity, and I’d be foolish to think that, even with the guaranteed performance of at least 10 songs that were my soundtrack to adolescence, I wouldn’t walk away from the show feeling any less saddened, shocked and shamed than I did after watching them at Bonnaroo back in June — a performance I described as follows:
Weezer. Dudes. What happened? Pinkerton was a commercial failure and ever since, Rivers Cuomo has gone through any and all painstaking lengths to suck every ounce of sincerity and raw emotion that once seemed an effortless characteristic of his song-writing, till finally arriving at this vapid, Radio Disney version of a once-great band. That's what happened. With ace session drummer Josh Freese — the best part of their show — manning the skins and ex-Weezer drummer Pat Wilson on lead guitar, the once loudly introverted Cuomo is free to run amok and force crowd participation like an imitation rodeo-clown making balloon animals at a six-year-old's birthday party. Which is fitting, considering how their new material sounds like Miley Cyrus. Weezer once meant the world to me, but now I'm just thankful I never bit the bullet and got that winged "W" tattoo I so desperately wanted in 1996. I could go on and on, but why bother? This band is dead to me.
It really did pain me to write that, I'm not kidding. I guess if the band really is dead to me, my fleeting itch to go to their show in a desperate attempt to get a fix of nostalgia, or even resurrect their once insurmountable image in mind, just shows that I’m still stuck in the third — anger and bargaining — of grief's seven stages.
Anyway, not to be presumptuous, but I feel like I can broker a winning solution for all parties weighing in on Weezer’s creatively calamitous pop-cultural-clusterfuck of a current existence. It goes something like this:
James Burns, instead of raising $10 million to finance Weezer’s dissolution, raise that money to bribe Rivers Cuomo to reunite with Matt Sharp who, as time goes on, really seems like he was the heart of the band.
Weezer, think of bringing Sharp back as the power-pop equivalent of Cliff Burton rejoining Metallica. Not only could you still make money with your original lineup, you could actually make some good art. It’s like that Mike and the Mechanics song says, “It’s too late / When we die / To admit we don’t see eye to eye.” Those were some sage pearls. Heed that shit. Rivers, I know you're a big KISS fan, and a part of me hopes that the last decade has all just been your version of the no-make-up era. Well, now's the time to get back to your roots. Matt Sharp is your Ace, brah.
Murderous fans, you guys aren’t gonna wish AIDS on the guy who philanthropically restores any integrity that your favorite band could ever possibly salvage, are you? Since you’re probably, like, 12 years old, you don’t know how much better it could be.
Diarrhea Planet, you should actually pursue landing a spot on the Blinkerton Tour. You never know, you might get through to Rivers on the right day — when he's trippin' down the freeway or something — and he may just say “yes.” And that would be fucking cool.