Toledoan still ‘freaks out’ over being in WeezerWritten by Joel Sensenig | Managing Editor | email@example.com
Scott Shriner pinches himself at least 365 times each year.
On June 3, the 43-year-old Toledo native will make his third appearance on a Weezer album as bassist for the influential pop-rock band.
“I freak out over being in Weezer every day of my life,” Shriner said. “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t appreciate my life situation. It’s like an unbelievable dream to even have this conversation. I’d say I pinch myself every day.”
Prepping the new album
Since joining the band in 2001, the 1983 Start High School graduate has appeared on three full-length Weezer albums, including “Weezer,” the band’s third self-titled release that is being referred to as the “Red Album” by fans due to its cover’s background color (the band already has a “Blue Album” and a “Green Album”). The album’s first single, “Pork and Beans,” was the top single on Billboard’s Hot Modern Rock Tracks the final week of May, and its YouTube-inspired video racked up nearly 4 million views in less than one week on the video-sharing site.
In May, the band pushed up the album’s release date by three weeks to June 3, in part to capitalize on the huge buzz surrounding the stay-true-to-yourself anthem that hits upon everything from Rogaine to underwear to hip-hop producer Timbaland to eating candy with, well, pork and beans.
The new album marked several milestones for Shriner, not the least of which was him singing lead on one track, “Cold Dark World,” which he co-wrote with Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo — another first for Shriner.
“At the beginning of the record cycle, we all got together and made a list of our goals for this album,” Shriner said. “For me it was singing lead vocals and also writing music for a Weezer song.” Shriner can be also be heard singing lead on another song, “King,” which is only available on the expanded, deluxe version of the Red Album.
“I love singing; it makes me really happy,” Shriner said. “Rivers is one of my favorite singers of all time, so it’s nerve-racking singing around him, but he couldn’t have been more supportive. I feel like he really pushed me to get the absolute best performance that I could get out of myself.”
The best fans in the world
Fans may soon get a chance to hear Shriner’s lead vocals live when the band kicks off a small promotional tour for the Red Album being billed as the “Hootenanny Tour,” so named because the band will invite fans to bring their own instruments to the show and join Weezer in playing the band’s music.
“They can bring whatever they want,” Shriner said. “Oboes, keyboards, drums, violins, and play the songs with us as opposed to us performing for them.” Although no dates have been announced, Shriner said he’s pushing for a Detroit or Cleveland date. Fans can expect a larger U.S. tour this fall.
The bassist realizes Weezer’s longevity — the band’s first album was released in 1994 and was a commercial smash due to the popularity of songs “Buddy Holly” and “Come Undone (The Sweater Song)” — is due to its devoted legion of fans.
“Weezer fans have got to be some of the greatest fans in the world,” Shriner said, while admitting he considers the band’s breed of aggressive, catchy rock a timeless sound. “I gotta say that great melodies and catchy lyrics never go out of style.”
As for where the Red Album fits into the rest of the Weezer discography, Shriner feels the band is pushing the envelope while staying true to the band’s signature aggressive guitars, poppy hooks and sing-along choruses.
“It’s a hot, strong cup of rock and roll coffee,” he said. “I’ve never been as proud of a project I’ve worked on in my life. It’s a new day for Weezer … Especially on the Red Album, we aimed to please ourselves and get us really excited about the music, and hopefully the fans will stand behind that as well.”
Jealous of the new Toledo
Shriner, who’s lived in California since leaving Toledo in 1990, still makes it back to the Glass City a couple of times each year to visit family and friends, usually making sure to stop in at old favorite haunts such as The Original Gino’s Pizza and Nick & Jimmy’s.
“Toledo’s way cooler now than when I was there. Either that, or I’m way cooler now,” he said, laughing. “There’s a lot more original music, and it seems to be more open-minded. When I was growing up, there weren’t many original bands there.”
Before moving to L.A., Shriner cut his teeth in a variety of cover and original bands in Toledo, including Seventh Wave, The Movers, Loved By Millions and the Great Barbecue Gods.
Shriner makes his home in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of Los Angeles with his wife Jillian and their two dogs. Later this year, the couple plans to adopt a child.
Going from being a member of some Toledo cover bands to playing in one of modern rock’s most popular bands makes it easier for Shriner to encourage others to strive for their own goals.
“Don’t give up on your hopes and dreams,” he said. “I don’t mean to sound corny or preachy, but it was really hard to believe in myself coming from the neighborhood I came from. Being different and kind of artistic and whatever, it just wasn’t that tolerant. I’d just encourage anybody to not give up on themselves and follow their heart.”
On the web visit www.weezer.com.