« Song Exploder

Weezer - Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori

2016-04-18 | 🔗

Weezer's 10th album, the self-titled "White" album, came out April 1, 2016. In this episode, Rivers Cuomo breaks down the meticulous process of making the song "Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori," through the different demo versions that the track went through, and the array of spreadsheets that he uses collect, analyze, and harvest his ideas.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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you might feel like you're, taking the easy way out. That's because you are capital, one what's in your wife terms and conditions apply, find out more capital, one dot, com, slash, auto navigator. Summer elaine and drunk dori is a song on tenth album. The self titled white album, which came out on April. Does a sixty four, this so I spoke tweezers frontman rivers cuomo at his home studio in santa Monica. He showed me all the different demo versions that this song went through as he did held his meticulous process, which includes an array of spreadsheets that he uses to collect analyze and harvest his ideas,
My name's russification away, you're listening to song explode. My name is rivers. Cuomo I play electric. It's her and I sing one of them first things I did was I looked in my But if I play list that is a collection of songs. I've heard that have cool chord progressions I'm gonna go back and basically farm. Those songs were cool corporations. So, I looked in there and There is a song called
walk away renee by the left bank, the and then I go back in and replay it like whizzer style, with with my distort guitar. I noticed but the file name of this first demo that rivers was playing was called awakened. Early asked him. That name came from. We want. the identity of the original song to be obscured, so I'm not influenced by it. When I'm writing my own melody. Yet we wanted the works. Title, to resemble the original title so that It for some reason say, for example, were on song exporter some day and we want to go back and find that original song. We can kind make it out from the working title. We
an anagram generator on line. So walk away. Renee became awakened early now when I come back. Look for a chord progression right over some weeks later I don't see the original name of the song, so I'm not reminded of the original tune. All I have to listen, two is my distorted guitar playing this really beautiful. progression. I don't remember where it came from and then I'll do like this vocal improvisation over the guitar cords until come up with a cool melody. Just singing and singing scouting in sir king, for a melody that that makes me feel great ease. the all these walls are mirrored behind you. So I can do all these crazy poses and stuff it get in the mood.
Always have to have like all the doors sealed up. I put a do not disturb sign out there and there's like a lot of really embarrassing stuff on those recordings. I know that do not anybody, Does it feel like on the piano or guitar I can cut, what with melodies that or even a little stronger a little, more dramatic in- and sometimes it's because animal and are you can play a melody, that's harder to sing. So if, if you hear some, Then you can not get it out on the big octave jump on the piano, something the ear europe vocal muscles just might be a little too lazy to to think of and and
Also I don't have a lot of facility on the piano, so I can kind of tell what melody I want to play, but I'm stumbling playing a lot of wrong notes, feeling for it. Oh oh Now I got the melody progression and melody for a chorus. and I'm reminded of a quote from lady gaga, who said something like when you re, to start with the chorus cause if the courses and great than your screwed anyway, I have a spreadsheet of song titles, hundreds and hundreds of song titles and I'm always adding to it. Sometimes it's a thought. I have something I want to say that comes out as a song title, or I hear somebody say something in it. That's what happened.
this case it was there last day of school stay out of my daughter's second greed. There were, a party by a pool at one of the kids house, and my daughter's teacher was there in She was drinking white wine and tie in some of the other moms there. She told the story Her husband has two names for her there's the school we're a lane whose super stressed out and scary, and then there's summer, Elaine is totally relaxed and fun, and this is lastly, as cautious so she's. Turning in the summer elaine, and then one of the other moms, is there and said: oh yeah, my husband has two names for me: and the second one of which is drunk dory, because when I drank m tonnes of fun, so oh, my songwriter radar system it beeping like crazy, somewhere a lane and drunk dory. I put it in my phone and ended up.
my spreadsheet and then I open up. This court progression in this melody that I love in look over my spreadsheet of song title ideas. First lie: to find one that roughly the right number of syllables and with the right acts it's on the right, syllables identify those ones and then I just start singing them and seeing which ones have the right chemistry with the melody and the chord progression summer alene. It was a little bit of an awkward fit in. I was anxious about that at first. This summer is strong, we but the melody is a found tat. We gun on an unarmed, so you can definitely get away with stuff like that, but at the very top of a chorus, the more natural, it all flows, usually the better that
It becomes a singer's job to like really make it feel natural and sell it and make it interesting to me when I'm feeling go, oh okay, so I have the spreadsheet of line things I want to say or things I've read in a book or heard a tv show or movie It has taken right out of my journals, industry, My the consciousness in the morning for twenty five minutes I started two thousand ten after reading the artist way by Julia cameron, scald more pages, which is basically stream of consciousness? So yeah that's been great, then I come back at a later time, maybe the next day with high later totally d I just don't really care what I was talking about. I just look for really cool lines. I highlight those then the end up in spreadsheet, but
That doesn't mean they're going to end up in a song. It just means it's. I think it's a cool line and it gets in the spreadsheet. So then there's couple thousand lines right now I have them all by how many syllable each line has if it's accented or unaccented to start or the last The syllables also has a strong, weaker weak, strong. That sort of thing everything's tagged, unsearchable so I knew I had this melody. She loved me so twelve, two, three four five we extend so. I can search for their exit. Have five. Syllables and start with an accent She was out to div, sheets were so then answer phrase is six syllables, so I made it a long list of lines that would fit there. lightning struck the bay
have me it sounds like some thing happened in my life and then I observed it, and then I wrote a song about it and its coherent is a beginning middle, an end, and it's too really not the case at all. At some, all each line is from a completely different place and aids reassembled them in some order. That suggests a story that never happened. it's a crazy way to write. Yeah. This is the way I came up with a guitar solo. Instead of playing the guitar, I sing before I said I come up with a lot of my vocal melodies on the piano or the guitar. The reverse, is also true. If I just go to play a solo on a guitar. Often it turn isn't just a fast in like the same old muscle memory, licks
You heard a zillion times and it's not interesting, but if I sing it a much more restricted and where I can go and how fast the solar will be on and it's gonna space in it, because I have to breathe and It's gonna be something you can sing along too, because it was created by a voice. But Tar can go a lot higher than my voice, so When I originally scat the solo, it's in a lower octave and then I go back and it up an octave, because I need to learn it on guitar, so I need to hear it in that higher octave yeah and again it's like I have all the doors closed and- and you know it's like a hundred degrees in here in the summer. There's no ac shirts off like.
jumping around air guitar Rivers had come up with all the melodies and the words for the song, but there was a problem, the verse but he was pretty low for his voice, I don't have like a that's compelling low or super high others like the sweet spot, where I'm really trying in it sounds good, but it's actually pretty small range. So if it gets tricky so. This is the solution
by another key change. It seemed Totally absurd, like you can't do that, I associate key modulations in and out of courses with the nineteen eighties. The pop music that was around when I was a teenager and jesse totally forgotten for, a nineties, alt rock band, to do that kind of trickery and cause. So often it's used for tonight, create some kind of emotion in a really insincere way, but then we He tried it in the room it's a guitar anne s like yeah that that's really cool and in a way it sounds kind of familiar for wiser to I just really I love that compositional moment in
the chorus and then into the second verse into this. Of course in this all these key changes in arrogant to do that says it's really nice The Brian bell plays electric guitar and he does vocals scott trend. First base in back of vehicles. Pat Wilson is the dreamer I really appreciate the power of democracy, the songwriter. it's me with the best intentions can limit. creativity of the other members the band, because your attached, the original demo, are you had this vision for how you thought it was gonna go, and any case you're, just one brain in, and you just have this one limited perspective, but politically in the room. You have
more power than everyone else, even with the best of intentions, other people I think, like well. I guess he wrote the song so if he does like what I'm doing then, maybe I shouldn't do it. So is be helpful for those guys, you get time in the studio with our producer, Jake Jake sinclair without me to come up with Your own parts- and I here it until they are done with their parts. Then I get to listen back and in most cases I'm just blown away by how cool and fresh and layered and complex everything has become jake is worked with each of the four guys separately, recording their parts really crafting them, so they all interlock. Just perfectly in
it's all very carefully thought through and What we have is a pretty great recording what it is lacking. Is that laying of spontaneity and back on chatter and off the cuff ideas that you get when you have four guys jamming in a room. So we do at least a few takes where it's me, Scott. Brian all standing around a mike or several mike's em. We this to occur what passes through the song where you know you can do whatever you want. Crazy sounds hip, add living, which course harmonies anything that comes to your mind, and we end up with me. The tracks of all this z stuff in recent days.
to do, are god, Brian's pretty awesome with these freaky ad libs, yeah. If somebody asked me what the song was about, I would say I'm trying to write songs, but I dont understand so if I could Answer that question and tell you what it was about. Then I failed as a songwriter. I want to enjoy my own songs and once I feel like, I totally understand the song and and there's no mystery. There, then I can't really enjoy it anymore. So I like to create these enigmatic. three minute adventures that have me scratching my head for years. I now hear summer lane and drunk dory by wiser in its entirety.
song, exploder, dot net for more on weezer and their white album as well as to walk away renee by the left bank and the book, the artist's way by Julia cameron this episode sponsored by the new starbucks via energy, drink, I want you to know that with caffeine naturally found in coffee fruit, its energy, that's good, it comes in three flights. Mango guava, raspberry lime and pineapple passion fruit. twelve out. Ninety calorie can contains a hundred sixty milligrams of caffeine. So can give you it'll boost, whether you're trying to work through a creative problem or dance. Your favorite song starbucks by energy. Drink is available online, a grocery stores, convenience stores and gas stay. Its nationwide song an There is brought you by progressive. Have you Cried the name, your price tool yet works just the way it sounds. You tell progressive, humming, you want to pay for car insurance and they'll. You coverage options that fit your budget. It's easy to start a quote: and you'll be able to find a rate that works for you.
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Transcript generated on 2022-06-08.