For their Red Album in 2008, Weezer invited YouTube stars to be in their video for "Pork and Beans." The inclusion of such Web celebs as Tay Zonday ("Chocolate Rain"), the Numa Numa Guy, and the melodramatic Chris "Leave Britney Alone" Crocker struck a chord with the viewing public, as well as the media, and ultimately led to the Weezer clip winning a GRAMMY for "Best Shortform Music Video." Two years later, the band has decided to turn the tables by making themselves available to leading YouTubers for inclusion on their channels. Today, on the release date of Weezer's new album Hurley (Epitaph, Sept. 14), a de-facto Weezer-ization of YouTube is in effect, as all the participating videos are being featured, in rotation, on the site's homepage all day.
Weezer, long known for their satirical and quirky world-view, originally chose to embrace the "outsider" talent found on YouTube for "Pork and Beans," and now they have let it run rampant. To facilitate this free-form taping, they set aside two days in a Los Angeles studio with instructions that read, "We're up for just about anything that can be filmed in the studio. The finished clip will be yours to release and distribute on Sept. 14, 2010. Acting, performance, interview, make-up, comedy -- you let us know what you want to do and how much time you think it might take to film." It was then up to the YouTubers-whose channels have millions of subscribers and aggregated well over a billion total video views-to write and produce the segments with the band.
The talent/channels that took Weezer up on their offer include:
AutoTune The News: http://www.youtube.com/schmoyoho
Hot For Words: http://www.youtube.com/hotforwords
Mystery Guitar Man: http://www.youtube.com/user/mysteryguitarman
Ray William Johnson: http://www.youtube.com/user/RayWilliamJohnson
Real Annoying Orange: http://www.youtube.com/user/realannoyingorange
StSanders aka Kiss Shreds: http://www.youtube.com/StSanders
Tay Zonday: http://www.youtube.com/user/TayZonday
The Key of Awesome: http://www.youtube.com/barelypolitical
KeepTheHeat (Snuggie cameo) http://youtube.com/keeptheheat
In addition to the YouTube invasion and the "Pork and Beans" video, Weezer have a history of idiosyncratic and collaborative works. Their Red Album tour was even unveiled as a "Hootenanny," where fans were invited to bring their own instruments to play along with the band. They have written songs for a myriad of other performers, as well as crowd-sourced Weezer material from the population at large (via IndabaMusic.com and YouTube). Recently, the band was in heavy rotation in South Africa and around the globe, when Rivers' pet project, an anthem for the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team, was embraced by the team after its debut on the band's "Radio Weezer."
This winter (November/December), Weezer will launch a multi-city U.S. tour, dubbed by fans as the "Blinkerton Tour." The band will play two shows in each market-on the first night Weezer will play the Blue Album in its entirety, and the second night they will play Pinkerton in its entirety.