WEEZER CRUISE Diary Day 4: Sunday, Jan. 22: “THE END IS NIGH”

All good things, apparently, must come to an end.

After a whopping three hours of “sleep” in which MEGABOAT rocks side to side (how is that even possible on a ship this big? Oh Sea, you are a powerful beast and I would bow to you if I didn’t think it would make me puke) and “WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT BANGING AT 9AM WHEN WE ONLY GOT TO BED 3 HOURS AGO?”, Cabinmate Terri and I slowly arise and extricate ourselves from Casa Weezer to go hunting for Breakfast Goods. We wander, then I sit in the sun for a bit contemplating whether my liver will ever recover. At about 1pm we head over to the Lido Deck….

Yum! It’s Yuck! Again! This is kinda the gig I wanted to see most because I was having a really hard time fathoming how the spindly Brits (and my new adopted family) would fare in the SUNLIGHT ON A CRUISE SHIP AT ONE PM. But nobody exploded! Turns out Yuck aren’t vampires after all.

I need to say this: Max Bloom is made out of all kindsa shades of wonderful. He rocks way more than that guy in the shorts and pointy cap to the left of him, which goes without saying, but hey. In case there’s any doubt, here’s more on WHY I LOVE YUCK.

Obligatory Mariko Doi is Effortlessly Stylish pic. And you know what else is cool? Embiggen the photo (by making to click on it) and you can see the crowd in her sunglasses. But hers aren’t the only retro shades…

Wow, people still wear Ray Bans? Here’s my new cousin Daniel Blumberg. A cousin, because he’s wearing the Canadian tuxedo of jeans and a jeanshirt. On stage, Daniel announces that it’s sound guy Lewis Lovely’s birthday and that if the audience just turns around to the booth, they’ll see a guy who looks like “Korean Jesus”. And that they should all buy him a drink. And as there are few Korean Jesuses on the boat, Lewis fares well and ends up getting fucking hammered.

But let’s not abandon the retro shades discussion. Here’s Jonny’s awesome wood-framed ones. I remember at some point hearing someone blather to Jonny about how rad his afro is. “It should be,” he said, “I’ve been working on it for 21 years…” But enough about Yuck’s fashion style…”Georgia”, “Get Away” and b-side “Cousin Corona” sound perfect in the sun. If you haven’t heard Yuck, there’s still a stream of their self-titled debut here.

Meanwhile in the peanut gallery, the White Wizard, looking a spot more tanned than white from recent tours to Australia and a few days on t’boat, checks out the young English folk he’s going to have open for him the next day in Miami at Grand Central. Oh J Mascis, you look a bit sweet here. And I also Heart Tony Harrison.

But for soon! It’s time for the Nervous Wreckords!

The NWs were one of the surprise highlights of the Cruise for a lot of people. Freed from the side-kick role in LouisXIV, Brian’s a great lead, and the songs fall in nicely with the onboard party vibe. Plus, every time I looked him, I thought “finally, someone else on the boat IS WEARING ALL BLACK. EVERYDAY. HE MUST BE AS HOT AS I AM!” Also hot in the hot tub, were these two….

Here’s Kel with Day 4’s ridiculous Daily Special: a blow-fish filled with sugary alcohol. Yesterday’s was in a fake coconut, but we gave up on the drinks specials after going into a Diabetic coma from the pink sludge from Day 1. Also, this is Matt, in process of unfurling his rockhands. They’re both chilling out, while rocking behind the Lido Deck stage, in what I liked to call the Spunk Bath.  More about this shortly. BUT SPEAKING OF ROCK….

Here’s Brian Karscig from Nervous Wreckords again, being a rockstar. The BackstageRider approves. Of the music and The Beard. Although I have come to learn recently that Mr. Karscig has, after many years, shaved said Beard off. So rides the amazing dimple chin again! Awaiting proof, though. Stay tuned.

Anyway, back to the Spunk Bath.

I call it that,’cos the jacuzzi at stage right, behind the Lido Deck stage, was the “Party Jacuzzi”. And on Sunday, the crusin’ Weezer fans decided it was also New Year’s Eve. After every song they’d countdown from 10 and scream Happy New Year. This was fun the first of  the 100 times they did this.

But whatevs, we had places to be, and Weezers to see. See, ‘cos Weezer’s “people” slipped a note under our door (technically to the bands and crew, with us being CREW) saying that they’d not had enough time to hang with the bands and did we all want to come to the Criterion Lounge to say howdy and for a group pic? Uh, how about FULL OF YES. So off we went.

Meanwhile, my favourite camera lens (the “Nifty 50”) was starting to lose its will to live. Something about carrying it around drunkenly out of its bag for four days.  So everything from above until “now on” will have a fuzzy glow or be from my phone. Anyway! This was fun. Here’s Weezer’s Rivers and Pat chatting with Dinosaur Jr (that’s Murph in the purple, Sophie Trudeau in the jean vest, and J Mascis sitting down with the hair). Later, Dinosaur Jr poses for a pic with them. Which I find kind of entertaining.

Then I see that Rivers is alone for a split second.MY WINDOW! You snooze you lose, suckers! I approach. Rivers is an oddball, but kinda lovely. We talk about how I’m “with Sebadoh” and he wonders where Lou is. “Soundchecking for tonight’s Palladium show” I say, then gesture towards our booth of totally unimportant non-band people.  “You should come and hang out with us, I think you knew Ramona from back in the day in Boston.” “Oh yeah,” says Rivers, cheerfully, “Let’s go over there.”

So, Cabinmate Terri, Awesome Ramona, Weezer Rivers and Giant-Headed Mikala  hang out. We talk about a lot of things. “Remind me more about what we did in Boston?” Rivers asks Ramona, and she obliges. He looked relieved to not be paraded around like a show pony and stays at our table for a bit. I told him how Lou had been rocking out during the Pinkerton show the night before and he grins. “Is it true there’s a Barlow Island on the album art for Pinkerton?,” I ask Rivers. “Oh yeah,” he says, smiling. “I hope Lou can really hear how influential he was on the lyrics of that album.” Ramona and I make a mental note to tell Lou this. BECAUSE IT IS A BIT MIND-BLOWING.

Daniel and Max from Yuck also join us at our table and I introduce them to Rivers, because somebody has to. “Oh! I didn’t know you guys weren’t American!” Rivers says to the Brits. We laugh. Daniel tells Rivers about his friends’ band Fanzine and Rivers mentions Male Bonding. “I love those guys!” I chirp. (Later, Max will tell me that meeting the Weezer King was kinda nerve-wracking: “I was all cool on the outside, but I was really freaking out inside.” It’s sweet.)

Then we posed for the group pic:

It’s easy to spot the Yacht Rock Revue guys in blue and white – I’m behind the strawberry blonde girl in the grey dress, about two or three people away from Weezer’s Pat Wilson, on the left side. Throwin’ the horns of course! Also there are Sleeper Agent, Ozma, Daniel, Mariko and Lewis Lovely from Yuck, Dinosaur Jr’s tour manager Dan Mapp, and Tim & Michael from Antlers.

Soon it’s time for Rivers to press on and be Cap’n of the Boat. After all, there’s another group photo to take part in!

We all gather on the Lido for the big Weezer group photo, with everyone throwin’ the W’s. I admire a band that has its own rockhands.

Here’s the finished picture, thanks to Cherrie, Wendy L and Marie for sending on. Still, even if you embiggen, you won’t see me or anyone, really, for that matter. We are all but specks on the sea of life…or something. But enough of that silly sunshine, it’s time to go back into the dark of the Criterion Lounge for the final Antlers show!

Peter and Darby, being rather quite good….

…and Peter and Tim being even more goodlier. I stand off to the side, with Lou, who’s just arrived for his following set. He’s enormously hungover and has shaved his stubble away so that he’s got a sort of mustache because it’s Mustache Night on the boat. Joy. Lou Barlow must never, ever again, wear a mustache.

Lou’s second solo show is also full up. Word has spread and this time, Barlow’s brought his uke. His hangover, a gift from our epic partying the night before, is massive, and he seems a bit raw. The songs are still predictably beautiful. Daniel from Yuck, Ramona and I sit quaffing the bottle of champers I’d brought from Miami. Rivers slips in quietly in the back to watch a bit of the set. NOT beautiful is the girl who drunkenly believes that she’s having a private conversation with her hero on stage, and who smothers him loudly with her love between every song. “You’re not making any friends,” Lou says gently, as her mate literally puts a hand over her mouth.

After the set, a few of us chill at the table while Keepaway set up and go, but Lou’s exhausted, rattled, and goes to hang in his room for a bit, before this….

Battling monumental indifference, sadly overlooked as creatively inferior bands are basically treated like geniuses and receive enormous recording budgets. Buns up to corporate waste mongers, IT’S SEBADOH!

Yeah, it’s Lou’s SEVENTH and last show on the boat (he’ll still play a Miami club date with Dinosaur Jr and Yuck the next night, though) and he sort of grumbles through “Freed Pig”. The show’s fraught with buzzing, technical difficulties but then, as Jason Loewenstein says afterwards, it’s “finally, a proper Sebadoh show….we felt right at home!”. And they press on and and nail it anyway. We all rock out in the front row. That makes it my 12th Sebadoh show in 365 days.

Afterwards, and backstage, we sit around, tired. Lou’s wife Kath calls time and we all hug and say our farewells. Cabinmate Terri, Awesome Ramona and I wander up to what is now party central in the Casino and take one last pic with the gang. It’s been like Summer Camp, actually… minus the broken arm, hair burning and barbecuing of frogs (that’s what my Summer Camp was like.) L-R is Kel, me, Brett, Ramona and Matt and Terri down front.

The Casino feels a bit feral with a last-night sorta desperate vibe. Mariko from Yuck is hanging around looking for the others, and so am I. I wander over to the Criterion to catch the last song of Ozma and instead run into a suitably refreshed Michael Lerner from the Antlers. He’s got two beers and gives me one. Guess I’m not going to bed? So we hang out chatting and drinking in the hallway, and I make a joke about not seeing them enough because I was way too in demand. “Yes, you were certainly popular on the boat,” he says. I LOVE MICHAEL.

But yes, all good things must come to an end. I say more goodbyes, and head back to the room. Cabinmate Terri shows up a half-hour later telling me she was trying to convince Daniel and Max from Yuck to come to ours. We could have all fit on the single bed, no problem.

The next morning, we grab coffees and run into Nervous Wreckords and a hoarse Jonny, Max and Mariko from Yuck. The Sebadudes join us, and we – sans Lou who’s staying with Dino – head down to the shuttle buses.  But before I go, I nab a few of these. I’m saving them for special occasions…

So thanks a lot Weezer! Thanks for inviting the most unlikely of Cruisers, Sebadoh, on the boat, so I could get involved. And thanks for convincing J Mascis (with a nicely fat incentive) to hit the high seas. And thanks for hooking me back up with my boys (and girl) in Yuck, whom I never get to see enough. And thanks for letting me FINALLY see my old friend Brian’s new joint Nervous Wreckords. And thanks for making my ears happy by having the Antlers around. And thanks for letting me get away from a Vancouver snowstorm. And thanks for letting me talk to Rivers about Pinkerton. And thanks for having some really decent fans so I could meet a lot of rad people, and make new friends.

Thanks a lot, Weezer. My liver hates you, but the rest of me thanks you for that truly one-of-a-kind adventure.\m/




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