Weezer: Patrick Wilson’s Never-Ending Shred Quest
Pop Goes The Weezer
Weezer’s brand of cheery pop isn’t for everyone. I’m thinking of fans of death metal, in particular. However, if your wardrobe includes more than black T-shirts, you’ve probably found yourself humming one of Weezer’s catchy melodies. Pat Wilson provides a solid yet simple rhythmic backbone for the band’s songs, much like Ringo did for The Beatles. For Weezer’s new release, Hurley, the vocals are mixed very prominently, followed by a wash of guitars behind them, with the drums sitting in the very back of the bus. I suppose this doesn’t matter outside of our drum-centric universe, simply because Weezer’s music is so infectious the Center For Disease Control has to go on alert whenever they release a new album.“All My Friends Are Insects”
This silly song could also be marketed as children’s music, or perhaps as a pantheistic hymn – “I have a friend and it’s an earthworm.” In it, we get a good demonstration of Wilson’s talent at playing pop music. He plays a two-bar groove with his kick drum on 1 & (2,3) & 4 &, & 2 3 & 4. In the fifth line, when the singer describes another friend who’s a dragonfly, Wilson shifts to a groove with the snares on all the quarter-notes (à la Motown grooves) and punctuates the guitars with his bass drum. Weezer usually keeps things as simple as possible so the figure in the second-to-last line may come as a bit of a surprise.
As I transcribed this catchy track, I couldn’t help but wonder if the drums had been recorded with a cheap mike buried under a pile of comforters. Wilson usually builds his parts gradually and in very simple ways. For this tune, he begins with eighth-notes on his floor tom over a quarter-note bass drum, then adds backbeats for the verse. At the end of every four measures we find one of his signature embellishments: playing two snares on & 4. In the third line, he moves to his crash (or crashes his ride) and repeats the busier fill seen at the end of the line each time. The bottom line shows him use a snare and hi-hat crescendo to set up the next verse.