Rivers Cuomo (born June 13, 1970) is a musician best known as the lead singer, guitarist, and principal songwriter of the rock band Weezer. He has also worked as a solo artist; he released his debut album, Alone: The Home Recordings of Rivers Cuomo, in December 2007, which featured home demos that Cuomo has recorded from 1992-2007. Cuomo mainly plays electric and acoustic guitar, but he can also play drums, bass guitar, clarinet, harmonica, and piano.
Like many other musicians Cuomo has had a very close relationship with his fans online. Throughout 2002 Cuomo frequently posted on Weezer message boards as 'Ace' to discuss music with fans. He once had a website called the 'Catalog of Riffs' ('COR') in which he shared old demos of songs as well as scans of many personal items (letters, schedules, records). Since 2003 he has kept a MySpace page in which he has posted many blog entries including his original admission essay and two subsequent readmission essays to Harvard. Additionally he uses his MySpace blog as a clearinghouse for clarifications, corrections, and addenda to interviews and press reports about him. (This has included responding to misinformation on his Wikipedia entry.)
In May 2007 Cuomo was named as a 'potential inductee' for the proposed Connecticut Music Hall of Fame.
He has been known to use experimentation to inspire his writing, for example, fasting for a day and then writing a song, as he did on "Hold Me." Cuomo has familiarity with a wide array of musical instruments: besides the guitar, he is also skilled at the piano, bass guitar (he frequently demoed songs on his own, a la the 1995 Fort Apache Studios Pinkerton demos, and can be seen playing the bass in the Weezer DVD Video Capture Device). Rivers also plays clarinet (as heard on Alone and SFTBH track "Longtime Sunshine" and the .com-released demo "Clarinet Waltz"), drums (as heard on Alone, in concerts during "Photograph" and the new album), and harmonica.
Cuomo has cited a wide variety of musical influences throughout the years, from artists as diverse as Kiss, Nirvana, Lou Barlow, Pixies, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Brian Wilson, and Giacomo Puccini. He took it upon himself to become a student of rock and pop music when in the late 90s, Cuomo created "The Encyclopedia of Pop" for himself, a three-ring binder which broke down the mechanics of pop and rock songs featuring songs by Nirvana, Green Day and Oasis.
He is known to perform with customised Warmoth Stratocasters. Throughout his career he has frequently played Warmoth stratocasters that are covered in stickers. Cuomo also notably played Gibson V'sand Explorers onstage in late 2001 and throughout parts of 2002 . Today, he almost exclusively plays a red Gibson SG with the Thai word Farang on it, meaning "a white foreigner. The sticker is found on his SG with E flat tuning; a second SG, tuned to E, does not have this sticker.
In 2008, coinciding with the release of Weezer's new self titled album, The Red Album, Rivers and Weezer announced a Nissan Live Sets performance in which fans were allowed to bring any instrument of their choice and perform in a Hootenanny with the band.
In early 2004 he made a surprise appearance onstage with ex-Weezer bassist Matt Sharp at his California State University, Fullerton show to play two old Weezer favorites ("Say It Ain't So" and "Undone"), a rare Weezer demo that they worked on together ("Mrs. Young"), and a new song they wrote together, "Time Song." Also, Sharp announced that they might work on a collaborative record together. But later that year, Sharp announced on his website that although they had come up with "15 or 16 new song ideas, some good, some not so good" for their new album, their "special brand of dysfunctionality" may keep them from finishing the project.
Cuomo married Kyoko Ito on June 18, 2006, a woman he had known since March, 1997. He proposed to her in Tokyo shortly before Christmas of 2005. The wedding was held at a secluded beach on Paradise Cove in Malibu and was attended by over a hundred people, including six of the seven members who played in Weezer (Mikey Welsh being the only no show) as well as notables Justin Fisher, Kevin Ridel and Rick Rubin. The couple have a daughter, Mia, who was born in May of 2007.
Some of Cuomo's fashion trademarks include his horn-rimmed glasses and his lightning bolt guitar strap. He has sported a bowl cut, most notably in the music video for "Undone - The Sweater Song." Other notable fashion trends include sporting a life preserver-styled vest in early 2001, growing a thick beard in mid-2002 and a brief suit-and-tie phase in summer 2002. Rivers has also recently been seen with a short mustache, like in the new video for Pork and Beans and on the Red Album cover. Rivers has said that he grew the mustache in honor of his daughter and that his father wore one just like his when Rivers was born.
Cuomo was born with his left leg 44 mm (1 3/4 in) shorter than his right leg. After the success of The Blue Album, Cuomo underwent a procedure to correct the condition. This involved the surgical breaking of the bone in his leg, followed by several months of wearing a steel brace which required self-administered "stretching" of the leg 4 times daily; Cuomo likened the ordeal to "crucifying [his] leg. An x-ray of the leg is part of the album art for "The Good Life" single, and the experience inspired him to write the song. Cuomo can be seen wearing the brace on an episode of The Late Show with David Letterman, which can be found on their DVD "Video Capture Device".
Cuomo is a big fan of soccer. He can be seen as he is shown playing in the "Photograph" video and even planned his band's 2002 "World Cup Tour" around World Cup games. In 2006 he reportedly wrote a song titled "Our Time Will Come" in tribute to the U.S. men's soccer team. He claims his favorite player is Landon Donovan, enjoys watching the Premier League and is both a Los Angeles Galaxy and New England Revolution fan. In early 2008 he played in the Mia & Nomar Celebrity Soccer Challenge and scored a goal in the game. His video for "Lover in the Snow" off of his Alone album dealt with this game and his love of soccer.
During Weezer's hiatus between the albums Pinkerton and Weezer (Green Album), Cuomo had gotten braces on his teeth. They were evidently removed before the release of the Green Album.
It's a popular misconception that Weezer is named after Rivers' supposed asthma. Rivers himself has openly admitted that although "Weezer" was his childhood nickname, it wasn't because he had asthma.
Cuomo has announced that he is working on "an amazingly cool creative project that is just as much musical in nature as it is literary. It may or may not be released by a book publisher. It is not a 'memoir'. Rivers has since revealed that the multimedia project will be an extremely detailed account of Cuomo's life from 1992 to May 10, 1994 including photos, journal entries and poems. This period of Cuomo's life will document the formation of Weezer through the release of their debut album. As of October 2007, the tome is already more than 400 pages in length.
Cuomo is a vegetarian.