FINAL FRIDAY: Scott Shriner (Bassist Of WEEZER) Interview
It's yet again the final Friday of the month and incidentally my favorite day. The whiff of new beginnings and possibilities hangs excitedly in the air, to make the kick-off of the weekend that much sweeter. This one feels particularly hopeful with the sweat of summer on us like a tailgater, but really because of this stellar interview to send us off into the leisurely days ahead. I bet you are all wondering how I managed to pull this one off? Trust me, I’m wondering the same, and consider myself one fortunate fan.
I have the fine privilege of being pals with the highly celebrated writer, adoptive mother and gorgeous advocate, Ms. Jillian Lauren, who happens to be the other half of Scott Shriner (the bassist of Weezer). Together they make for one of the most gifted couples around. Her words and his chords. Euphoric. They teeter on being the almost too-talented breed of humans we all aspire to emulate. It’s remarkable what they have accomplished thus far, both personally, professionally, together and separate. If you haven’t yet heard of Jillian Lauren, check out her books and extraordinary story here. You won’t be sorry.
Now, back to the other half of that half I just mentioned, and star of this interview, Scott Shriner. I remember exactly when I discovered Weezer, as a teen, many years post-release after being nudged by my music-minded older brother. I’d lay on my bedroom floor with a sweater under my head, staring out of my skylight, while trying to untangle the lyrics to, ‘Say It Ain't So.' Yes, the sweater as a pillow was deliberate. I remember wishing so badly that I was at that party and someone was unraveling mine. I had never heard music like that before; Witty, catchy, ironic, funny, poppy, layered and somehow dark. The Blue Album and I became fast friends.
It wasn’t until years later that Scott joined the band, and for me that marked a turning point. They are currently better than ever. That jump to the top tier came with ‘Make Believe’, which is still one of my favorite albums to date. ‘Perfect Situation’ really is just that. Scott is the longest lasting bassist, and that is certainly no accident. He’s considered a God amongst bassists or any musicians that favor skill really. My bassist buddy collapsed onto a chair shortly after I introduced them. I’ll keep the identity of the talent-struck victim secret, but it’s true. Scott is the idol of many.
His playing is tight and economical; as in he plays what's necessary with just the right amount of notes and the right tone that the song needs. He's not overplaying. His tone can be nice and fuzzy, punchy as shit. He’s technical, but also playful with his delivery. Between his mastery of the instrument and his vocals, he's quite a force.
Now please enjoy the thoughts of the mystical man himself, Mr. Shriner.
DK: What’s your favorite moment from being on stage or in the studio recording?
SS: Tracking bass in the studio is really fun and always interesting. Really though, the thing that brings me the most joy recording is singing. Fills my heart with glee. As far as live shows go, it’s the moment we first walk on stage. That’s my fav… it just feels amazing.
DK: Changing it up to another medium… What are you watching on TV right now? AND keeping it consistent, what record can you not stop listening to?
SS: Been really into Berlin Babylon lately and also the Documentary, ‘Wild Wild West. Fascinating stuff. When I’m not working on my own music, I relax by listening to True Crime Podcasts. ‘Last Podcast On The Left’ is my current obsession.
DK: Something no one knows about you? For instance, when I scratch my knees I cough. Bizarre, I know.
SS: I have no secrets. All I do is talk about all my strange quirks.
DK: Favorite song on your last album, Pacific Daydream?
SS: Happy Hour is my pick for fav song. It has such a groovy feel.
DK: The best piece of advice you were ever given by a fellow musician?
SS: Play every note with conviction and if you hit a wrong note justify with it with the next one.
DK: What was the last thing you laughed really hard about?
SS: Listening through a bunch of old Blue Oyster Cult songs had me crying. And yes BOC was one of my favorite bands as a teen. Still dig it.
DK: What’s the most irritating thing you hear in a song these days? For example, as a writer, it drives me crazy when in a script someone at a bar says, "I'll have a beer." No specific kind or anything.
SS: Lack of melody mixed with silly phrases just being repeated over and over again. Drives me nuts.
DK: Why did you become a musician?
SS: Music has been running around in my head since I was 8 years old. It has always been the consistent force that makes me feel that I belong on this planet. Once I became good enough to play along with a couple of my favorite albums I was hooked. No better feeling than that for me. I never looked back.
DK: AND what’s your main motivation for creating? Reason behind deciding to become a master of the bass?
SS: My main motivation for creating is keeping my sanity. I have sounds in my soul that need to come out. I crumble when I can’t do it. And as far as mastering bass goes, I guess I am pretty competitive, and I like attention. So put those things together with the need to create and just being stubborn as fuck is what got me here today.
DK: Any fun & embarrassing stories that happened to you during a show, interview, outing, etc.?
SS: In Japan a few years ago my tech handed me a bass that was a half step out of tune… So, we started a song in front of 20k people, and it was a total train wreck… It happens sometimes and no big deal right…? I went to my tech and said, “Yo, this bass is tuned wrong." He said, “No man, it’s Rivers guitar!” So, I went up to Rivers before the start of the next song and let him know he was out of tune. He gently said on the mic in Japanese something to the effect of, “this fucking guy” and the audience laughed. Then we all had a big laugh. I stood my ground for another song, and it turns out I was the one out of tune. I think I was mad about this show for about 14 days.
DK: What Weezer song would you say sounds most like you as a person, embodies your personality?
SS: I'd say, “No Other One” from Pinkerton. It’s sad and desperate… powerful and glorious. That’s me.
DK: Is there anything you’d like to get off your chest about anything happening in the world right now? This is your chance to be free!
SS: The housing crisis in Los Angeles is on my mind a lot these days. So much new construction all around town and the number of tents and sleeping bags on the streets are growing just as fast. I’ve lived in LA since 89,' and have never seen anything like it, and I have no idea how to fix it. DTLA has gotten so much better and so much worse at the same time. What will become of the city I love so much?
DK: Any inside tips about The Black Album?
SS: Don’t let the name fool you.
DK: Favorite house/ apartment / whatever you ever lived in? What was magical about it?
SS: My first apartment In LA was on North Orange, up the street from the Chinese Theatre. It was so exciting to come from Toledo to the middle of Hollywood. I finally felt like I belonged someplace. So much energy all around me and finally I was free and in the town that I always wanted to live in. I would just sit and look out the window for hours.
DK: If you could buy a house anywhere on the planet where would it be?
SS: I think renting places all around the world would be the way to go. That may be my wife and I’s retirement plan. SO much to see and experience. Not so much digging into one house and dying. Keep on the move, learn, absorb and repeat.
DK: 3 wishes. No rules. Go!
SS: End Itchiness. Purely selfish!!! Solve homelessness. Make all humans equal in each other's eyes.
See Weezer on tour NOW with the Pixies!