Commercial Appeal

Weezer Confess, Deny Nike Funded Hurley (The Sweatshop Song)

By Scott Lapatine / August 25, 2010

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,
-Brian

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.