Unless your name is Axl Rose, then ten years is a hell of a long time to get something done. In fact, most people can accomplish terrific feats of mind and body in well under a decade. Hell, with only eight years, US presidents have repainted the entire cultural landscape of the planet. But if you’re not in a hurry and you don’t mind waiting for the right moment to find you, then ten years is perfect.
In 2001, Ohio-born Scott Shriner stepped into the job as Weezer’s bass player—a position he has comfortably helmed for six of the band’s nine albums, through the present day. With followers whose fervor rivals that of Southern snake handling cults, this is officially a “high-profile gig” and with a steady diet of touring and albums over the past ten years, Shriner hasn’t spent a great deal of time surfing QVC. Until lately.
Enter author Steve Abee and his new book, Johnny Future—a drug-injected stumble through the dark and wasted parts of Los Angeles that make the seedy parts of Los Angeles look upbeat and cheery. As a companion to this book, the publisher has commissioned a soundtrack, which is being released as a limited edition 7″ picture disc, with only 500 copies pressed. Presumably, a bald man with a handlebar moustache will then take the mold out back and batter it with a sledgehammer. 500 copies—that’s it.
The record, titled Lover of All that Exists, boasts another special feature—Scott Shriner’s solo debut. “(The publisher) approached me and said he was publishing this book for Steven and that he was going to do a limited number of picture discs,” says Scott. “It just so happened that I was finishing up a small batch of songs in the studio and he asked if I’d like to have a song on it. I thought it sounded cool–only five hundred copies, a picture disc, and everyone likes Steven Abee, so I was really excited about it.”
Nonetheless, it is somewhat stunning that a musician of Shriner’s pedigree would last ten years without striking out in his own direction at some point. The august solo project is a rite of passage for many musicians and even within Weezer, various members have released numerous albums as side projects and with other artists. Shriner however, while admittedly feeling a gathering pressure to release some solo work, took his time and waited for the “burning bush” to signal him. “This was hanging over me. I’d done a couple songs on acoustic guitar that I’d submitted to Weezer for possible records, that got shot down, and I had a little instrumental piece of music that I wrote that made it onto a record, but this was the first piece of music where I wrote everything. And I’ve gotta tell you, it felt amazing. It’s been looming over my head for the last ten years and to finally get it done is a big deal for me.”
Shriner’s burning bush appeared in the form of his wife, author Jillian Lauren. “‘Pretty (aka Watch the Shadow)’ is a song that I wrote for my wife Jillian’s book trailer,” says Scott. “I had this piece of music that I thought was really cool, and it was around the same time that I read my wife’s book, Pretty. She asked if I could come up with some music for the book trailer and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’ve actually got a piece that I think will be pretty cool, and I’d like to write a whole song based on the character in your book.’ That’s what spawned the lyrical content—that and some cool riffs that I had come up with.”
“Pretty” is a marked and welcome departure from the Weezer sound. Dark textures and punchy grooves evoke the Jesus and Mary Chain or the more contemporary Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Gritty, moody and melodic, with sparkling accents and a crisp beat, “Pretty” suggests interesting prospects for Scott’s future free time. He will release a three-song EP in late June and after that, his full-length debut beckons.
In the meantime, Lover of All That Exists comes out on May 11, 2012, also containing songs from old school punk Christian Martucci (Dee Dee Ramone, Black President) and the legendary CJ Himawari (Tokyo’s Sex Machineguns). The limited edition record can be ordered directly through Rare Bird Lit.