In August of 1993, while frontman Rivers Cuomo was still in community college, Weezer was about to depart from Los Angeles to New York City to record their debut album for Geffen Records. The night before leaving, they threw a massive party at their rented house on Amherst Avenue which had become the band’s headquarters over the past year. Their kitchen became a studio room, and in their garage, they wrote, rehearsed and recorded dozens of songs, many of which would appear on their first album.
In the years leading up to their debut release, Weezer had been performing at small gigs around L.A. which included opening for Keanu Reeves’ band Dogstar. They recorded a demo tape in their garage they called “The Kitchen Tape” as a nod to their makeshift studio. Although it took a while to gain any traction, they eventually signed with Geffen Records on June 25, 1993.
They hired Ric Ocasek to produce, as Cuomo had a deep admiration for The Cars albums which Ocasek had worked on. Many of the Kitchen Tape songs would end up on their debut self-titled album, including “My Name Is Jonas,” “Undone,” and “Say It Ain’t So.” The Amherst house became legendary after serving as an incubator for the band, and in tribute they immortalized it in a song, “In The Garage.” According to Ocasek, all ten guitar tracks were recorded by Cuomo in a single day and in one take each.
Many of Cuomo’s songs were based on his personal life, such as “My Name Is Jonas”, which was inspired by his brother’s car accident. Cuomo describes “No One Else” as “the jealous-obsessive asshole in me freaking out on my girlfriend” and “‘The World has Turned and Left Me Here’ is the same asshole wondering why she’s gone.”
One of the album’s biggest singles was “Buddy Holly,” but Cuomo feared the song was “too cheesy” and tried to leave it off the album. It was only after the insistence of Ocasek that the band recorded it. Spike Jonze directed the massively popular “Buddy Holly” music video, in which they recreated an episode of the sitcom Happy Days. The video ended up earning incredible exposure for the band after it was included on the Windows 95 cd-rom.
After peaking at No. 16 and selling more than three million copies in the U.S., The Blue Album would go on to achieve triple platinum status.