To celebrate the release of his second collection of demos, B-sides, and obscure tunes, Alone II, Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo spent two and half hours Tuesday night playing new songs -- and Weezer classics -- with a hundred fans at Long Beach, CA, record store Fingerprints.
Prior to the show, Cuomo posted an online request asking Weezer lovers to learn his songs and bring an instrument of their choice to the store to take part in the "Hootenanny" -- one of many such jam sessions he has thrown across the nation. Attendees arrived with everything from banjos and saxophones to keytars, flutes, and what seemed to be at least 50 relatively in-tune guitars.
Dressed in a train conductor's uniform, Cuomo let the audience decide which songs to play and in what style. And he exuded such a playful, friendly demeanor that at times he seemed like just another geeky Weezer fan.
Playing early work -- including a banjo version of "Butterfly" and a Ska rendition of "Buddy Holly" -- and several songs from the Alone collections, Cuomo walked around the room, at times with a symphony conductor's baton in hand, encouraging everyone to take part. Between tunes, he stopped to chat and make friends with his assembled admirers.
When the set list -- drawn on a dry-erase board -- finally came to Pinkerton's "El Scorcho," fans jumped into the song before Cuomo was ready. He tried to convince everyone to start over with him in the lead. But they paid no attention, driving the song into a lively anthem as he watched from the center of the room smiling, looking like he'd been beaten at his own game.
Below, check out SPIN.com's video of Cuomo and fans performing, and hear the singer's extra-intelligent (honestly!) interview about Weezer's beginnings and approach to music.
Watch: Rivers Cuomo's "Hootenanny"