Back in my high school days, fans of Green Day's pop-punk stylings were mercilessly beaten for being 'posers' or 'sellouts' by the drugged-out rocker crowd I hung with, but, for some reason, those listening to the earnest nerd power-pop of Weezer were left unmolested. Back then I was pretty much a grunge boy, nothing but long hair, mosh pits, plaid shirts, Rainier beer, and rockin' out to the tunes of Soundgarden, Mudhoney, and Nirvana (it was Seattle in the early 90's, cut me some slack). However, I listened to Weezer's first album when it came out, and I was hooked. I don't think I was alone. Championing the wuss-rock Emo genre, Weezer has found a remarkable amount of acceptance from fans across the rock spectrum. Rivers Cuomo's songs have also caught the ear of many musicians, judging by the number of Weezer covers performed by artists as diverse as Juliana Hatfield to the Bloodhound Gang.
The first mainstream contact you'll probably have with Maladroit, the band's new album, is the music video for Keep Fishing, the record's first single. Like the video for their song Buddy Holly, which features the band set in the world of TV's Happy Days, the new video is an embedded tribute to another TV legend. However, instead of the Cunninghams and that lovable greaser Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli, the band is now guest staring on everyone's favorite early 80's puppet-run variety program, The Muppet Show. Animal even plays drums after Miss Piggy kidnaps the band's real drummer. Which is pretty damn sweet.
Of course, The Muppet Show is a microcosm of life's trials and tribulations, and any linkage with this TV classic can only improve Weezer's already good reputation. I could write a book deconstructing the relevance of Fozzy Bear, Gonzo, the Muppet Band, or how those cranky old dudes up in the balcony relate to our daily lives. Kermit was the everyman, constantly screwed over by the incompetence of others and having to deal with one of the show's many weekly micro-disasters. How can you not sympathize with the little green guy? And then there's Miss Piggy. You know how this happened: Kermit's out drinking with his boys Gonzo and Fozzy, and the next thing he knows he's waking up hung over next to a chubby talentless bleach-blond who's now obsessed with controlling every aspect of his life, and who proceeds to beat his friends into fearful submission. Man, if I had a dime for every time that's happened to me.