In 1989, Rivers Cuomo moved to Los Angeles, California with his high school metal band, Avant Garde, who later changed their name to Zoom. After a year, the group broke up, and it was around this time that Cuomo met drummer Patrick Wilson and moved in with him and his friend Matt Sharp. Wilson and Cuomo began performing together with various other musicians, first under the name Fuzz, and then as Sixty Wrong Sausages, but neither band lasted. Not long after, Cuomo moved to Santa Monica and recorded several demo tapes. The tapes, which future Weezer songs "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here" and "Undone – The Sweater Song", were met with great enthusiasm by Sharp, who joined the band as their bassist and manager.
The group named themselves Weezer, and played their first gig in March 1992, closing for Keanu Reeves' band Dogstar. Cuomo presented Sharp with an ultimatum: get the band a record deal in a year, or he would accept a scholarship at Berkley. That November, Weezer recorded The Kitchen Tape – a demo that caught the attention of Todd Sullivan, an A&R man at Geffen Records, who signed them in June 1993.
1994: The Blue Album
Weezer's self-titled debut album, also known as the "Blue Album", was released in May 1994. The album initially did not have a single, as Geffen wanted to wait and see how the album fared through word-of-mouth, but "Undone – The Sweater Song", began to get significant airplay from a Seattle DJ called Marco Collins from the radio station The End, which led Geffen to release it as the first single.
The music videos for both "Undone – The Sweater Song" and the album's second single, "Buddy Holly", were directed by Spike Jonze and received heavy rotation on MTV, adding to the band's popularity. "Buddy Holly" won four MTV Video Music Awards, including Breakthrough Video and Best Alternative Music Video, and two Billboard Music Video Awards.
Weezer's debut reached number sixteen on the US Billboard 200, and was eventually certified quadruple-platinum.
In 1994, Cuomo began writing a rock opera called Songs From the Black Hole, inspired by the mixed feelings he had about the band's success. Despite developing the concept and recording several songs, the record was ultimately shelved when his experiences of newly enrolling at Harvard University and of undergoing major surgery led to a darker path for his songwriting, which no longer fit his theme.
The resulting album was Pinkerton, which was released in September 1996. Pinkerton debuted at number 19 on the Billboard 200 and launched three singles: "El Scorcho", "The Good Life", and "Pink Triangle". Although the album was initially not as well received as the band's debut, it was certified platinum in 2016 and has subsequently garnered widespread critical acclaim, with several publications naming it one of the best albums of all time.
After touring to promote Pinkerton, Weezer went on hiatus from mid-1997, in order for each band member to concentrate on their individual projects. Wilson and Bell worked on their respective side-projects, alt-rock bands The Special Goodness and Space Twins, and Sharp left the band in order to work on his band The Rentals' second album. Meanwhile, Cuomo continued at Harvard for a while, but then decided to focus on songwriting, starting a short-lived new band in Boston, as well as working on the Weezer side-project Homie.
Throughout 1998, the band attempted to work on the third Weezer album, hiring Homie bassist Mikey Welsh to replace Sharp. However, they suffered tensions and creative differences as a group, leading Wilson to return home to Portland. Cuomo also struggled with his mental health at the time, falling into a period of depression.
2000-2001: The Green Album
In April 2000, the band was invited to perform at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, which inspired a renewed sense of productivity within the group and led to them writing and demoing new songs. They performed the songs at small, discrete shows throughout June, under the name Goat Punishment, and that month they also embarked on nine dates of the Vans Warped Tour.
The following May, the band released its fourth studio album, known as the Green Album. The album debuted at number four on the Billboard 200 and launched three singles: "Hash Pipe", "Island in the Sun", and "Photograph". Both the videos for "Hash Pipe" and "Island in the Sun" became popular on MTV and the songs became international hits, as well as charting in the top 20 on the Billboard Modern Rock chart. Not long before the recording of the video for "Island in the Sun", Welsh left the band for personal reasons, and he was later replaced by Scott Shriner.
Weezer's fourth studio album was originally approached experimentally: the band made unfinished mixes of prospective songs for the record available to download from their website in order for fan to give them feedback and be involved in the decision-making process. However, the band disagreed with the fans' song selection and eventually Weezer's original A&R rep, Todd Sullivan, picked the album's tracklisting. The album was also made without the knowledge or blessing of the record label and was self-funded.
Maladroit was released in May 2002, debuting at number three on the Billboard 200. The album was positively received by both fans and critics, and launched the singles "Dope Nose" and "Keep Fishin'". As with most of Weezer's previous singles, "Dope Nose" and "Keep Fishin'" both had unusual and successful music videos that received a lot of play on MTV.
In March 2004, Weezer released their debut DVD, The Video Capture Device, which documents the band's timeline from its inception to the Enlightenment Tour, in promotion of Maladroit.
2003-2006: Make Believe
After almost a year of recording demos for producer Rick Rubin, from December 2003 though the fall of 2004, Weezer released a new album, Make Believe, in May 2005, although none of earlier demos made the final cut. Make Believe hit number two on the Billboard 200 and launched the hit single "Beverly Hills", which reached number 10 on the Billboard Hot 100 and earned Weezer their first Grammy Award nomination for for Best Rock Song at the 48th Annual Grammy Awards. The video for "Beverly Hills" was also nominated for Best Rock Video at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards. "We Are All on Drugs" (renamed and re-recorded as "We Are All in Love" for MTV), "Perfect Situation" and "This Is Such a Pity" were all also released as singles, with "Perfect Situation" spending four weeks in a row at number one on the Billboard Modern Rock chart.
2007-2008: The Red Album
Weezer's third self-titled album, aka the Red Album, was also produced by Rick Rubin, and was released in June 2008. The album featured a more collaborative writing process than previous albums that were centred around Cuomo's writing, and is the first Weezer album to feature lead vocals from each of the band's four members. The album peaked at number four on the Billboard 200 and its two singles - "Pork and Beans" and "Troublemaker" – both charted well on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart, with "Pork and Beans" topping the chart for 11 weeks. The video for "Pork and Beans" won a Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video at the 51st Annual Grammy Awards.
The band promoted the album with the Hootenanny Tour, which took an unusual form; fans were invited to bring their own instruments and play along with the band, creating a collaborative show. Towards the end of 2008, Weezer played the 21 date North American Troublemaker Tour, where, at the end of each show, fans would join the band on stage with instruments and perform "Island in the Sun" and "Beverly Hills" together with them.
2009-2013: Raditude and Hurley
In 2009, Weezer toured with Blink-182. Their seventh studio album, Raditude, was released that November, and peaked at number seven on the Billboard 200, preced by the single "(If You're Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To". The album was their last on Geffen Records and the band announced that they had left the label the following month.
Throughout 2010, the band performed at several music festivals, including: The Bamboozle, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Reading and Leeds Festival and the Voodoo Experience festival.
Having signed with Epitaph Records, Weezer released their eighth studio, and first with the label, in September 2010. The album was named Hurley, after the character Hugo "Hurley" Reyes from the television show Lost, and it debuted at number six on the Billboard 200. The album was promoted via YouTube, with the band appearing on several prominent YouTube channels, including Barely Political, Tay Zonday, Dave Days, Magic Hugs, Fred Figglehorn, Ray William Johnson, and The Annoying Orange.
Two months after Hurley was released, they released Death to False Metal, a compilation album of several previously unreleased tracks from throughout theircareer.
In early 2012, Weezer headlined a four-day rock-themed Carnival Cruise and that July they headlined the inaugural Bunbury Music Festival.
The following year, they embarked on their first Australian tour since 1996, as well as headlining the Punkspring 2013 tour in Japan and touring Canada and USA later in the year.
2014-2016: Everything Will Be Alright in the End and The White Album
Everything Will Be Alright in the End, the band's ninth studio album, was released in October 2014, receiving critical acclaim. It launched the singles "Back to the Shack," "Cleopatra" and "Da Vinci," and debuted at number five on the Billboard 200, making it their fifth album to peak in the top five of the chart.
Three new singles, "Thank God for Girls", "Do You Wanna Get High?" and "King of the World," were released in late-2015/early-2016, preceding the band's 10th studio album, the White Album. The White Album hit number four on the Billboard 200 and received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Rock Album at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Later in the year, the band co-headlined the Weezer & Panic! at the Disco Summer Tour 2016 in support of the album.
2017-2018: Pacific Daydream
March 2017 saw the release of "Feels Like Summer," which was a sleeper hit that marked a change in musical direction for the band and peaked at number two on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. It was the lead single from Pacific Daydream, which was released in October.
2018-2019: The Teal Album and The Black Album
In May 2018, Weezer released a cover of Toto's song "Africa" thanks to a fan campaign. It became their first number one single since 2008's "Pork and Beans", peaking in the top spot on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Two days after they released the song, Toto responded by posting a cover of Weezer's single "Hash Pipe".
The following January, they unexpectedly released the Teal Album, which is Weezer's first album of covers. It reached number five on the Billboard 200 and served to promote their upcoming 13th studio album.
The Black Album, Weezer's sixth self-titled studio album, was released in March 2019 and launched the singles "Can't Knock the Hustle", "Zombie Bastards", "High as a Kite" and "Living in L.A.". They supported the album's release with an arena tour of the U.S. with the Pixies.
2019-present: Van Weezer
Van Weezer, a hard rock album, will be released in 2020.