Alt Rocker Finds Inner Peace
Take Weezer's frontman, send him to Harvard, and have him meditate for two hours a day. What do you get? One calm Rivers.
Meet Rivers Cuomo, the famously self-tortured lead singer, guitarist, and songwriter of the Grammy-nominated band Weezer. They're the alternative-rock band who sing "Beverly Hills" and who made that great Spike Jonze-directed video "Buddy Holly." In the last few years Cuomo has been practicingVipassana meditation
, whose goal is, according to the Vipassana Mediation website, "the total eradication of mental impurities and the resultant highest happiness of full liberation." But the 36-year-old Cuomo hasn't just been meditating. He recently finished up a world tour for "Make Believe," his most recent CD, returned to Harvard University to finish up the undergraduate English degree he began in 1995, graduated in June, and got married days later. Beliefnet caught up with him in his dorm room during the past semester.
It seems like you've reached a point in your life when you no longer need to suffer for your art.
I really don't need to suffer. I can really become a happy person and still make good music, in fact, better music. But until the music tells us that, I don't want to make that claim. I don't think "Make Believe" is enough proof.
"Make Believe" is Weezer's first happy album?
Yeah. It's just the first few years of being a Vipassana meditator, so. And I think a vast improvement on our fourth album. We'll have to see how the next one is.
You recently said, "Vipassana is a less well-known form of meditation in this country and I'm not sure why that is. I think so far, the press has misunderstood the purpose of the apparent austerities." What is the press getting wrong about Vipassana?
I went through a real ascetic phase, but that was before I was a Vipassana meditator. That was at the height of my misery at the beginning of 2003. [Laughs