The second album for Weezer after the meteoric success of The Blue Album two years earlier, Pinkerton was considered a commercial failure at the time of its release but has since become a fan favorite.
For the members of The Breton Sound, tackling Pinkerton live has been a way to reconnect with their musical past. Lead singer Jonathan Pretus and lead guitar player Stephen Turner were in a Weezer cover band called tWeezer while in college at Louisiana State University.
“tWeezer started in 2000, the second semester of my freshman year,” Pretus said. “A friend of mine was a big Weezer fan, and as a joke, we played a bunch of Weezer songs at an open mic night and it got a really good response.”
When people who were at the show started pressing Pretus and Turner to start a band to continue playing Weezer covers, the whim of an idea became a fully formed band.
“It progressively got bigger and bigger,” Pretus said. “By the time we played our last shows in 2004, we were about 50 tickets shy of selling out the Varsity Theater in Baton Rouge, and it holds 800 people.”
More than anything, tWeezer was a party band, and most shows ended with the audience streaming over to Pretus and Turner’s apartment. But the music wasn’t really challenging, Pretus said.
“The thing with tWeezer was we went for the simplest things,” he said. “Now, years later, we’re much further along in our musicianship, so we felt like this would be fun to revisit. Now we’re looking at these songs that years ago we never touched because they’re actually really tough.”
Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo has called Pinkerton his most personal album, and as The Breton Sound has prepared to tackle the album live, Pretus said he can see that Cuomo was flexing his muscles creatively when it came to the structures of the deeply personal songs.
“The movements are very complicated and don’t follow a lot of the normal patterns of not just where [Cuomo’s] songwriting traditionally goes, but where a normal chord progression traditionally would go,” Pretus said. “He was looking at a little more symphonic composition at the time, because some of the stuff that he does doesn’t really make sense in terms of a traditional pop song.”
Learning these songs that break convention has helped Pretus clear his mind while working on the next Breton Sound album, which is slated to come out by the end of the year.
“We’ve found that by learning other people’s songs and learning what makes the songs tick, you pick up things that you can apply to your own writing,” Pretus said. “It’s getting out of your own head and your own method for writing songs and seeing how other people do it and how they put things together. It’s kind of the best of both worlds in that you get to play something that isn’t yours and that you really love, so there isn’t as much pressure as a normal show, but you also get a good bit of knowledge out of it.”The Breton Sound Plays Pinkerton
April 17 8 p.m.
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