US super-fan Rivers Cuomo has caught the last three World Cups, but he is going to miss out on this one. Not only that, but his band, Weezer, is scheduled to play the Bonnaroo Music Festival in Tennessee the same day as the US-England match.
Worry not, Weezer fans. Cuomo has a solution.
"They are actually playing the game on a big screen at the festival," the Grammy-winning artist told MLSsoccer.com over the phone. "So if you can believe it, I'll be sitting in front of that big screen with all the other concert-goers watching the game. As soon as we realized we were going to confirm that show, we asked the promoter if they were going to be showing the game. They're actually making a big deal out of it."
Cuomo has a very good reason for breaking his World Cup attendance string, which started when he took in the France '98 edition: quality time at home with his wife, Kyoto, and three-year old daughter, Mia.
"I've gone back and forth about it over the last few months," he admitted. "It's really tough for me [to miss attending the tournament]. I have to travel so much and I'm apart from her so much, it's really too much to go away for another couple weeks and not to see her for that time."
Going to Plan B again, he adds, "I'll have to find a really great bar after the 12th and get together with some US fans, get in touch with the atmosphere as much as I can,"
Even as a veteran of three World Cups, Cuomo struggles a bit to fully explain the spirit of tourney attendance—something he's surely been asked to do many times.
"It's really hard to describe, especially to an American, when you're in a place like Korea and it feels like the entire nation and all its people are focused on this one event," his attempt begins. "You go out on the street and there's literally millions of people wearing their nation's colors and singing songs and shooting off fireworks and celebrating. I suppose we have that to a lesser extent for college football games. You can find that in one town. But the World Cup feels about a million times bigger."
After watching the US bow out humbly in the group stage of Germany '06, Cuomo did what musicians tend to do: He poured his heart into a song.
"Last World Cup was an extremely disappointing experience for US fans," he said. "We had so much hope after 2002. Of course, we got knocked out in the first round, in somewhat humiliating fashion. So I wrote what was supposed to be an anthem, but it came out kinda depressed."
He cut the demo for "My Day Is Coming" in a Japanese mall recording shop while on his honeymoon. The track, which would eventually see a release two years later, is an ode to commiserative hope that wraps up with Cuomo speaking the names of several USMNT stars.
Though he won't be with the team this time, Cuomo has returned to his workshop for another World Cup song, titled “Represent.”
"I was in the studio today working on a new song, and this time I'm writing it for the games instead of right after," he stated. "This one has much more attitude and swagger. Hopefully, we can release it online or something before the (England) game."
He keeps his team spirit high in other ways, as well. Recently, Cuomo brought US forward Josmer Altidore along when he jumped on stage with rap act B.O.B. to perform their collaboration "Magic" in Los Angeles in mid-May.
"He Tweeted at me and we got together," he said. "I invited him to a concert I was performing at and hung out with him backstage. It was really fun to get to know him."
Cuomo gets a regular soccer fix by playing in the odd benefit match or with English pop star Robbie Williams' weekend crew. Some of those kick-around blokes are former players that still dazzle the singer-songwriter, such as ex-Liverpool, Newcastle and Sunderland defender Barry Venison, who managed two England caps in the '80's.
"He's in his 40's now, but he's still really, really skilled," says Cuomo.
Like any Red, White and Blue-blooded supporter, Cuomo is currently filled with the hope of a memorable World Cup 2010. Still, his take on their chances at the tourney in South Africa is a bit sheepish.
"I feel like any time we play outside of Europe, we have a good shot of doing really well," he gauged. "You could see it last year at the Confederations Cup when we made it all the way to the final. I'd like to think we could do the same thing again this year."
"I'm not really into making predictions, because I feel so unqualified, but my heart is telling me we can make it to the quarterfinals," Cuomo declared, then edited himself: "At least, the quarterfinals."