Thank you Rivers Cuomo

Without Rivers Cuomo, my life would be pretty different.  When I think of it, it’s sort of like one of those alternate timelines scenarios in LOST. Who knows who I’d be.

All in all, I am thankful for his influence (which I am pretty sure he knows nothing about) on my life.

I got the Blue Album in December 1994.  It was a Christmas present and my Mom was desperate to cling to the  idea that Santa Claus was still real so it took some persuading to get it early from her.  But I did.  And I didn’t listen to anything else for months.  I guess it all started there.  I started to recognize music at something that was very vital to my life.  Music had always been important to me.  I listened to it quite a bit and spent all the money I had buying vinyl and cassettes.  The Blue Album had a deep impact on me.  I didn’t feel so alone in the world.  I was 14 and started getting those adolescent “no one gets me so I am growing my hair out and shying away” thoughts into my head.  “Holiday” gave me hope.  It made me smile.  In my head, I know I wasn’t all that angsty.  I was a happy kid.  I had a good life.  The Blue Album always made me keep that thought in the back of my head.

Pinkerton was what they call a game changer.  Blue pushed me into really looking into the power of music, but Pinkerton sent me over the edge.  I got it.  Rough, out of tune, and poetic.  That was sort of how I wanted to be at the time.  And girls!  Man Rivers, you were right.  They were a drag.  I couldn’t find one.  No one loved me!  Blah!

Without Pinkerton, I don’t think I would’ve got through my teenage and college years.  I wore my love for the album like a badge on my sleeve.  I became “that Weezer kid” to everyone.  It gave me an identity which helped me through life.

The Summer Songs 2000—Green Album—Maladroit era were the time I turned against the band.  It was hard seeing them become popular.  It was hard hearing some of those song experiments.  They were my band!  These songs were NOWHERE near as good as anything from 1994-1998!  What was going on?  Rivers, I hate you!

You’ve gotta kill your idols.  That’s what I got out of this phase.  You’ve gotta kill your idols in order to fully appreciate them and love them once again.

I met my future wife Haley 1 week before Make Believe came out.  “Peace” sticks out in my mind, because that’s what I felt.  I had finally made it to a level where I was calm, cool and relaxed.  I could give myself to another person and move forward in life.  The first music I ever gave Haley was an advance pressing of Make Believe. She still has it.  That makes me smile and feel so much love.

The Red Album and Raditude are gems in my opinion.  Slightly flawed, but I feel the love the band put into these albums.  I’ve come full circle and I feel Weezer has too.  My son Finnian Kyeong Hoenke was born on January 9, 2009.  I got to enjoy the release of Raditude with him later that year.  “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To” makes Finnian dance and smile.  Seeing my boy smile to the band that changed my life is something I hope everyone gets to experience.

Now I’m on the verge of 30.  I’m a father to a kick ass little dude and I have a wonderful wife who is my best friend.  I’m a Teen Librarian who really loves his job.  Life is pretty good.  I know I forged my own path to get here, but Rivers, you were like my Yoda or something.  You listened and spoke to me (sort of) when I thought no one cared.  I thank you for that.

Oh, the power of music.


  1. awesome post! you’re the man.

    I was on the A6 forums for a while. Were/are you on there?

    • I am honkey doorie on every Weezer board that has existed. I am on the allthingsweezer/A6 board but not much these days. My little boy demands that I watch Sesame Street with him more!

  2. Thanks to Rivers, we found the best name for our son, born last August – yes, his name is Jonas!

  3. That’s what I felt all those years. After Pinkerton I though that everything gone worst but then, I discover Mikey and begin to enjoy his way to show talent. I got to kill my idols too.

    Great review, Justin.

  4. My future daughter will still be named Carli just seems appropriate 2 me. To this day If I am saying something from the past and you come up, people look at me and say who are you talking about, Who’s Justin, I reply with weezer boy lol and they know exactly who I’m talking about.

    love ya, weezgirl

  5. Lynn: What is your son’s date of birth? Our Jonas was born on Aug. 8, 09 🙂 Justin: You couldn’t have said it better. You are a year older than me, and it seems our lives parallel. I met my husband earlier than you met your wife, and your son was born first. Awesome though 🙂

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