Weezer x Hurley: Hurleygate

Weezer’s “raw rock” LP Hurley is out 9/13 via the band’s new label Epitaph. You’ve heard “Memories” and you know Dan Wilson and Ryan Adams guest. You may have even heard the whole album. (Premature Evaluation coming soon.) But did you know Hurley, the 18-year-old act’s first “indie” LP, got its title not from Jorge Garcia’s LOST character but from A SECRET CONTRACT WITH BILLIONAIRE HUMAN RIGHT ABUSERS NIKE, INC?

This sad truth (read: confusing rumor) came to light in an interview with Brian Bell at this month’s Mile High Music Festival. Watch below, or just note this excerpt:

The inspiration [for the LP title] came from a surf company called Hurley that was funding the record at the beginning of the recording process and we actually did some sort of advertisement– I don’t even know how they’re tied in so much although we got some clothes and we did a photoshoot: we’re wearing these clothes, and I think we’re selling these clothes in malls. So how that’s tied in, I don’t know. I think it’s this whole, like, tying in different medias. And then using Hurley, the character from LOST, which I’ve never seen in my life, as our mascot almost, for this record, is somewhat post-modernistic maybe. I hope people don’t look at it as too jokey. Cause it certainly comes across that way, without reading into it a little more deeply. That’s it as far as the name and the album cover goes.”

Not everybody loves Hugo. (Thanks Voyno for the tip.)

Yesterday the guitarist took to weezer.com to clarify/retract:

Just wanted to clear something up
Recently I did an interview in Denver where I was asked why we called the album Hurley. I mistakenly said that Hurley funded the album. I later found out that it wasn’t true at all. Weezer paid for every penny of this recording. The reason the record is called “Hurley” is because Hurley (Jorge Garcia) is on the cover. We thought about leaving the record untitled for the fourth time, but that causes a lot of problems and he knew people would http://stereogum.com/wp-admin/post-new.phpend up calling the record “Hurley” anyway. We got no money for calling the record “Hurley.” thanks folks,

You’re welcome, B. Though that doesn’t really jive with how your singer starred in an online commercial for Hurley months before the then-untitled album was even announced.

While Weezer are not denying the Nike-owned Hurley clothesline partnership — this press release has a ton more info on this Back To School promotion — some fans are insinuating that the album title may have been bought, citing talk back in April that Weezer was recording at Hurley International’s Costa Mesa HQ.

A blown-out-of-proportion blog controversy three weeks before an album release never hurt any band, but I asked our friends at Epitaph about Brian’s interview anyway. They stand behind Brian’s latter claim that he was simply mistaken about the chronology of Hurleys.

Perhaps you would still like to share your conspiracy theory in the comments?

PS If you purchase any piece of Weezer/Hurley apparel (such as the vest below) at PacSun between 9/10-10/15, you’ll be entered to win a lunchtime Weezer concert at your high school or college. And that’s rad.

Rivers Cuomo in a Weezer Hurley vest

UPDATE: You can also consider the following weezer.com comment from =w=ebmaster Karl as an official statement on Hurleygate:

hi folks. its not that hurley and weezer have *nothing* to do with each other – yes the album is going to be carried in Hurley’s PacSun stores, and they are doing some new weez clothes, etc. But the point is that Hurley didnt fund the recording nor do they have anything to do with the music – the album was independently recorded and paid for by the band, and put out on Epitaph. Weezer has been doing promotional and merch deals and etc for 15+ years, that sort of stuff is nothing new. But Brian misspoke when he thought Hurley paid for the album.

Comments (28)
  1. im confused

  2. That was a quick admission and denial by Brian Bell and I’m almost not buying it. This potential sellout is another example of a stupid decision by Weezer in the later career descent into suckitude.

  3. meh. Whatever. I could care less about any partnership with Hurley/Nike. It’s pretty much the same thing as when all these indie bands are letting car companies use their music in commercials.

  4. Converse is owned by Nike, correct? But since they’re a “hip” brand and Hurley is a “bro” brand, they get a pass for all of their sponsorship across the “indie world” and Hurley is the arm of the devil? Yeah, OK BRO.

    Speaking of sweatshops, when can we expect another intrusive Gap takeover on this site?

  5. Weezer played a free show in Huntington Beach for the US Open of Surfing a few weeks ago sponsored by…wait for it…..Hurley. Coincidence?

  6. “The concern isn’t that the album may have been initiated and/or funded by a clothes company (or at least I don’t give a shit about that) ”

    So all the “human rights abusers” shit was a joke? Why is that a joke?

    • It’s a real concern, not a joke, but I am not currently boycotting Nike (do you know who makes all your clothes?) and don’t begrudge musicians like LCD Soundsystem for working with them. The all caps was intended to poke fun at the HYSTERIA over any hint of selling out in general.

      • I understand that everything we do has a negative effect on others, but that doesn’t mean we should just throw up our hands. I dance my ass off to This Is Happening, but I -do- on some level begrudge musicians like LCD for working with Nike when it is so well known how widespread their abusive practices are in particular. It’s like, in that case, what would it take for us *to* say “yo, I think aligning yourselves with this brand is fucked up.”?

        If not child and forced labor being widespread in factories so that the most successful sports apparel company in the world (/of all time, OF ALL TIME) can sell their shit for 6 zillion times what it cost to make then what is that line?

        I don’t expect every blogger to write the above paragraph every single time they talk about “All Summer” or 45:33 (though maybe there should be a commenter there to do so under every one of those posts), but if you’re going to straight up look those abuses in the face numerous times through this post (and the comments) and make lol’s out of them then that’s even wilder to me.

        also, I really like “Memories.” and “Can’t Stop Partyin’” for that matter. Maybe that’s the real issue here.

  7. Album name bought by a sneaker co. or not, honest or not, I don’t think anyone should support anything Rivers Cuomo does at this point. Least of all that cynical ploy that is a Blue Album/Pinkerton tour. Those are great albums, but not THAT great that I would support his terrible enterprise of a band, and willingly sit through the encore sets of new material that they’re certain to play.

  8. ooh ooh i got one

    hey guys did you also hear about this MOSQUE at GROUND ZERO?!?!?!?!

  9. i don’t believe them for one second, because i fucking hate weezer.

  10. It’s stories like this that make me wish I was illiterate.

  11. Really…so what if Weezer IS funded by Hurley for this album. They’re allowed to do whatever they want at this stage of their careers anyways. I for one will PROUDLY give Rivers and Co. my money when the Blue Album/Pinkerton tour comes around. That’s something I’ve wanted to see done for years. I might only like maybe two, three songs off of each of their last three albums, but neither that, nor blatant commercialism would ever stop me from seeing those classic albums played live.

  12. Don’t you think it’s possible that Weezer funded their record with money they earned from doing these various promotions with Hurley and that’s what they meant by “Hurley paid for our record”? Unless they were going for something more subliminal, they’d probably not deny the association. I get that anything that even smells vaguely of “sell-out” is a major issue with you people, but I’m just wondering why it’s such a huge flipping deal. Labels fork out the $ for production on a lot of records, although it is usually recouped, but what is the difference in the end if Hurley exchanged for some promo. I hate all the bitching and whining you pretentious pre-Green / Matt Sharp-era loyalists do…you’re the same kind of people who list your favorite bands on your Facebook profile as “OLD Weezer” or “OLD Smashing Pumpkins”. Bottom line is Weezer still lives in 2010; let these 40-somethings do whatever they want.

  13. yes the Blue Album/Pinkerton tour comes around. That’s something I’ve wanted to see done for years. I might only like maybe two, three songs off of each of their last three albums, but neither that, nor blatant commercialism would ever stop me from seeing those classic albums played live.

  14. Damn Megan, good post! I am a Weezer fan who has obviously been disappointed in their output in this decade, but this outrage is kind of weird. They are a major mainstream band, sorry if they somewhat determined the music you like, but they are a surviving band, Stereogum should be supporting the fact that anyone is making money in music right now, and we are not having this type of conversation about any other band from 1994, they are not raping your childhood, they are making a living, who cares, why is this even on Stereogum, should we be talking about the latest nonsense-wave band no one will care about in two weeks? And yes, that was a run-on sentence, my personal grammar tolerance had to be halted to get all my thoughts out.

  15. Who gives a crap. A turd sponsored by Hurley or Unicef is still a turd. This album = a turd.

    • I’m glad someone said this. Why does Stereogum even still cover Weezer’s nonsense shenanigans. We’ve given them 4 (5 if you consider the Green Album bad… I think its tolerable) albums to make a comeback and it never happened.

      Although part of me still expects Rivers to utter “GOTCHA!” on his death bed right before he takes his dying breath.

  16. jive = jibe. Sorry, I am not a “commenter copyeditor” normally, but that one really bugs me.

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