What If Sloan Made Weezer’s Buddy Holly Video?

sloan buddy holly coloured

Nicholas Friesen @Nicholastronaut February 29, 2016

Any music fan worth their copy of the Peppermint EP knows that Sloan’s Twice Removed never got the support it deserved from its label, Geffen/DGC, when it was released in 1994. Instead, many say, the label put all of its efforts into Weezer’s self-titled debut. Twice Removed suffered in the states, but the record was named one of the “10 Best Albums You Didn’t Hear in ’94” by Spin and became a CanRock classic, but, what if Geffen had supported Sloan’s second album?

(Oh, and don’t forget, this is a work of SATIRE.)

Summer, 1993: Weezer records its self titled debut, known as the “blue album,” for DGC Records with producer Rick Ocasek on a budget of $400,000.

1993: Sloan records Twice Removed with producer Jim Rondinelli on a budget of $120,000.

May 10, 1994: Weezer’s blue album is released through DGC with its first single, “Undone (The Sweater Song)” doing well on college charts. Its quirky video, featuring a blue sound stage and dogs, was directed by a young filmmaker named Spike Jonze.

May 20, 1994: Rivers Cuomo has an anxiety attack after being recognized from the band’s video on MTV and announces that Weezer will no longer make videos, “just like Pearl Jam.” The pre-production for Jonze’s “Buddy Holly” video is underway, and Geffen is rumoured to be unhappy with the band for not promoting what they believe will be a huge single.

June, 1994: Sloan shoots videos for “Coax Me” and “People of the Sky” with director John Ralston Findlay, both of which are rejected by Geffen. The label decides to release “I Hate My Generation” as the first single from Twice Removed, using the “Buddy Holly” treatment, with Jonze remaining as director.

August 30, 1994: DGC releases Sloan’s Twice Removed with “Generation” as the first single. The video, which inserts Sloan into an episode of Happy Days and finds the band performing at Arnold’s, is a mega hit, putting the band and Jonze on the map. Jay Ferguson, who sings the song, has gone on record saying the album’s first single wouldn’t have been a “Jay” song if the video treatment didn’t fit the line “If I was born in the ‘40s, I’d be a teen in the ‘50s, and maybe I’d watch too much TV.”

September, 1994: Sloan sells out a small club tour of the US in support of the record.

October, 1994: Geffen releases “Snowsuit Sound” as the second single from Twice Removed, with a video directed by Jonze starring A.J. Langer (famous at the time for playing Rayanne Graff on My So-Called Life). Not wanting to incorporate snowsuits, the band insisted on Jonze, as he had avoided putting a sweater into the video for “Undone (The Sweater Song).” Instead, it features Langer and Furguson hanging out with a guy in a dog mask who carries a boom box. Langer and Furguson begin dating.

December, 1994: Sloan’s Twice Removed is named the best record of 1994 in Chart Magazine’s year end readers’ poll, and is listed as one of the 10 best in Spin, Rolling Stone and People. Weezer releases a Christmas single through Kill Rock Stars, angering DGC. The label drops them on New Years Day, 1995.

January, 1995: Furguson appears on the final episode of My So-Called Life as Tino, the unseen singer of the band Frozen Embryos. He becomes lifelong friends with actor and “musician” Jared Leto.

February, 1995: Sloan plays its first arena tour of Canada, selling out nearly show, except for one in Montreal which is sparsely attended. Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories open most dates, and Loeb is photographed with Chris Murphy, but the two deny reports that they are dating.

March 26, 1995: Sloan attends the Juno Awards, where the band is nominated for multiple awards, including Album of the Year, Best Selling Album, Single of the Year, Best Alternative Album and Best Video. When host Rick Mercer introduces the band for its show-closing performance, he mistakenly says they are from Toronto. The band meets producer Phil Spector, who is there to meet Celine Dion, in hopes of working with her on her Falling Into You record.

May, 1995: Geffen insists that Sloan head into the studio to either re-record a track with Ferguson on lead vocals for its next single, or track a few new songs for an EP with Furguson on lead. The Steve Albini-produced Junior Panthers EP is the result, featuring a song penned by each member but featuring only Furguson on lead vocals.

June, 1995: Chris Murphy returns to Halifax to play a few shows as the drummer of Super Friendz.

July, 1995: The band tours Japan for the first time, filming a video for “Junior Panthers” with Jonze, who is with the band, documenting the tour on video. The label is angry that the song is more Beach Boys than Nirvana, but it is a huge hit.

August, 1995: Andrew Scott paints an image that becomes the cover art for Counting Crows’ Recovering the Satellites.

September, 1995: Sloan attends the MTV Video Music Awards where “Generation” receives four awards, including Breakthrough Video and Best Alternative Video.

October, 1995: Geffen decides to fund Sloan’s Murderecords label, effectively making each member of the band A&R people. The label’s first proper signing is Super Friendz.

November, 1995: Sloan’s first live album, Penpals in Japan, is rushed out in time for the holidays.

January, 1996: After spending the holidays apart, the members of Sloan reconvene to begin writing a proper follow up to Twice Removed. Ferguson insists that each member have equal input, despite Geffen’s insistence on a loud, Ferguson-heavy record. Recorded in Hollywood with producer Phil Spector, One Chord to Another is a double record featuring Beatle-esque harmonies, trumpets – and yes – big guitars. It is the first record Spector has produced since working with The Ramones on End of the Century in 1979, and it is seen as his “comeback” – revitalizing his career. The record has Spector’s classic “Wall of Sound” production style, featuring horn sections, pianos and guitar work from Jakob Dylan.

June, 1996: “The Good in Everyone” is released as the first single from One Chord to Another. The video, which features the band re-creating a scene from the film Easy Rider (with Ferguson as the Spector character) is directed by Mike Andringa. It is a massive hit on MTV and Much Music.

July, 1996: One Chord to Another is released, immediately reaching the top of the Billboard charts. The band headlines American tours for the rest of the year with Everclear, playing only one Canadian date, a Toronto show with Rusty and Super Friendz.

August, 1996: The Super Friendz’ Slide Show is released through Sloan’s Murderecords label. Produced by Chris Murphy, it is a hit on college radio. Super Friendz tour with Pavement and play Late Night with Conan O’Brien.

September, 1996: Weezer releases its second record, Songs from the Black Hole, via Kill Rock Stars. The band does not tour the rock opera and breaks up shortly after its release.

November, 1996: According to Jared Leto’s autobiography, How to Make an American Hero, Ferguson advises Leto not to take the the lead role in the Steve Prefontaine biopic, Prefontaine, insisting he should “have some fun as an actor.” He instead takes a co-lead alongside Damon Wayans in Bulletproof, only to eventually play Prefontaine in 1998’s Without Limits.

January, 1997: Murphy gives an interview with Spin magazine about the making of One Chord to Another, mentioning that Phil Spector kept a gun on the table “just in case” during the sessions. Spector, while working with Foo Fighters on The Colour & The Shape, allegedly shoots drummer William Goldsmith in the foot after Dave Grohl mentions his drumming isn’t up to par. No charges are pressed, but Goldsmith leaves the band shortly thereafter, resulting in Grohl recording most of the drums for the record. Spector later told CNN that the gun “just went off” and that he and “Goldy” remain good friends.

March, 1997: While shooting a music video for “The Lines You Amend” with director Sofia Coppola, Patrick Pentland injures his hand when a light falls on it. Coppola later tells Entertainment Weekly that when she ran to his aid, she realized she wanted to protect him.

June, 1997: Sloan co-headlines the final Lollapalooza tour with The Prodigy, Tool and Snoop Doggy Dogg.

September, 1997: Pentland and Coppola are married at her father’s winery. Ferguson and Langer break up at the reception.

February, 1998: Murderecords releases The Local Rabbits Basic Concept. The record does well on college charts and the band opens for Beck on his Mutations tour later that year before headlining its own US tour.

May, 1998: In the middle of a European tour, Sloan announces a hiatus, effective at the end of the tour.

June, 1998: Furguson begins recording his debut solo record, a light bit of classic rock and folk he plans on calling We’re Gonna Get It Started, but eventually releases as a self-titled disc through DGC.

September, 1998: Murphy re-joins Super Friendz as drummer and begins work on a new record as producer.

November, 1998: Scott moves to Norway and begins painting landscapes and recording sound collages.

February, 1999: Ferguson visits the set of the movie Fight Club to see his friend, Jared Leto. Director David Fincher insists that Jay put on a bald cap to be in one of the “His name is Robert Paulson” scenes. The director also considered using Sloan’s “I Can Feel It” to play over the closing credits of the film, but later tells Empire that it was “Almost too cute.”

May, 1999: Sofia Coppola premieres her debut feature at the Cannes Film Festival, The Virgin Suicides, with a score written and performed by Pentland.

July, 1999: The Super Friendz release Where the Change Is through DGC/Murderecords.

March, 2001: Sloan reunites for a string of intimate club shows, which sell out in minutes.

May, 2001: A handful of unreleased songs, rumoured to have been newly recorded, are discovered on file-sharing site Napster. Murphy explains to Chartattack.com that the songs are old, but that the fans shouldn’t count out new material from the band anytime soon.

July, 2001: Sloan returns to the studio with producer Jack Endino with “no real game plan.” The sessions last for six weeks.

August, 2001: Furguson drops in on his old friend Jared Leto, whose “band” 30 Seconds to Mars is working with producer Bob Ezrin. Furguson lays down some guitar, which he claims is never used on the final record, tarnishing his relationship with Leto.

November, 2001: Andrew Scott mentions during an interview with Interview Magazine that he doubts any new Sloan material will ever be released.

March, 2002: Sloan’s first record in six years, Fading into Obscurity, is released. A DVD bonus disc featuring a mini documentary about the making of the record is included. The album is credited as being co-produced by Endino, Ben Folds and the band, but Folds denies being anything more than “an inspiration.”

April, 2002: The band tours with Phantom Planet as openers.

June, 2002: On the second last date of the tour, Ferguson announces from the stage that he is leaving the band.

August, 2002: Ferguson enters the studio to begin work on his second solo record with producer Bob Ezrin.

March, 2003: Pentland, Scott and Murphy accept an invitation to visit Rivers Cuomo in the studio. The quartet records an album of covers with Cuomo as the “frontman.” Co-produced by Spector and the quartet, the covers record features such classics as “Little Diane” by Dion, “Jump” by Van Halen, “Just What I Needed” by The Cars and “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes. The songs are leaked online, causing new interest in Cuomo and Weezer.

June, 2003: The Cuomo/Spector sessions are released proper, simply as Sleezer, and a video for “Little Diane” is released, featuring the band performing the song live-off-the-floor. Directed by Roman Coppola, the playful clip receives moderate airplay. The record peaks at #42 on the Billboard charts. Cuomo, citing an anxiety disorder, does not tour the release or conduct interviews, preferring instead to chat with people online about it through his Livejournal. “Phil Spector is a dangerous man, and that’s not just me being paranoid,” he would write under his “RivesAlone” handle. “He does know how to get great guitar sounds, though.”

July, 2003: Ferguson releases the Thin Lizzy-inspired Dangerous Donnie record. It is met with mixed reviews, with Chart calling it “non-essential.”

April, 2004: Sloan (minus Ferguson) makes an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and performs “Coax Me” in honour of the tenth anniversary of Twice Removed. Kimmel asks the band where “that little guy is” and the band does not appear to be amused.

November, 2004: Ferguson appears on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno to perform “Step On It, Jean” from his forthcoming solo record, Big Town Tonight. Leno invites him to the couch and the two talk about guest Paris Hilton’s haircut. Paris tells Jay that he is “hot.” Jay blushes.

January, 2005: Big Town Tonight is released to lukewarm reviews.

February, 2005: Furguson attends a Super Friendz show in Boston and he and Murphy are photographed together for Entertainment Weekly.

February 14, 2006: Sloan releases its first new album in four years, Here We Go Ag’in, as a pay-what-you-want download. A physical release follows a few weeks later. The reviews are positive, and festival offers begin to pour in. The band opts to mount a Canadian tour, its first in years. Playing small theatres, the shows are billed as “An Evening with Sloan” and feature no opener.

June, 2006: Murderecords announces that tickets to the first Murderfest are going on sale. The event, held over August long weekend in Toronto, features Buck 65, Julie Doiron, Peter Elkas, Art Bergmann, Joel Plaskett, Super Friendz, reunited Inbreds and Jale, and is headlined by Sloan.

August, 2006: The first Murderfest is held, with surprise guest Rivers Cuomo headlining the second stage on day two. It is one of three solo shows the former Weezer frontman ever plays.

March, 2007: Sloan begins releasing a series of mail-order 7” singles, most of them punk-influenced, through Murderecords. Rivers Cuomo sings back-ups on several of them, credited as “R.C. Cola.”

December, 2007: Francis Ford Coppola’s Youth Without Youth is released, featuring a soundtrack score by Pentland and Scott. Scott also has a cameo in the film as “a man with a secret.”

April, 2008: Murderecords announces it is merging with Arts & Crafts to form a “Canadian Super Label.” Kevin Drew and Chris Murphy are seen shaking hands in a press photo that also includes Damien Abraham, which hints that the first release may be from his band, Fucked Up. Only two releases under the imprint, The Stills’ Oceans Will Rise and an EP by Feist and Buck 65, are released.

June, 2009: Sloan releases The John Lester Tapes, a b-sides and rarities collection, on white vinyl with a limited pressing of 4,000.

May, 2011: Sloan releases The Double Cross, named in honour of the 20th (XX) anniversary of the band’s formation. A documentary film, XX, is also released. Directed by Anton Corbijn, the film plays roadshow-style in select theatres to packed audiences, usually with a member of Sloan in attendance.

July, 2012: Sloan announces the line up to Murderfest, which it does not healdine for the first time since the festival’s inception. “We want to put the spotlight on other artists,” Scott tells Exclaim. Only four Murderecords acts are on the bill, including Bahamas, Brasstronaut, Super Friendz and Cuff the Duke.

February, 2013: Murphy announces on Twitter that Sloan is “packing it in for real,” but not before a farewell tour, which includes 43 dates in North America, Europe, Japan and Australia.

November, 2014: Sloan plays its final four shows at the Palais Royale in Toronto, which are documented for a live record and concert film. Jared Leto, Rivers Cuomo, Jason Schwartzman, and Demi Lovato are in attendance.

January 1, 2014: Rivers Cuomo is found dead in his apartment. No cause of death is reported until two weeks later, when it is revealed that he died from an allergic reaction to shellfish.

August, 2014: Undone: A Tribute to Rivers Cuomo is released. Sloan reunites to cover Weezer’s “Buddy Holly.”

February, 2016: Sloan announces a reunion tour to celebrate the 20th anniversary of One Chord to Another, which will be played in its entirety.