Clarifications, Corrections, and Supplemental Materials
Wikipedia: I don't know anyone who calls me "Ace," "The 'Varz" or "The Dude," as in the lead character in The Big Lebowski .
Blender: I want to go to school, and after that, I want to get married and have a family, Cuomo says, speaking barely above a whisper. And it doesnt seem like being on the road or working with a band is going to allow that to happen. This didnt come out right. What I meant was that I didnt seem to be able to find a partner while I was working with the band. This interview was heavily cut and pasted by the editor.
My Trip To Seoul: http://news.joins.com/en/200512/21/200512212203148731c000c040c041.html
Duh . . . I forgot to mention that "Buddy Holly" is about a Korean woman.
ElleGirl: be aware that this article was written in September, 2004, right before I left for the first semester of my senior year.
The Straight Dope On My Name:
At birth I was named Rivers Cuomo, no middle-name. (My mom said she wanted me to be able to pick my own middle name. I never bothered.)
When I was about eight, I was given the Hindu first name Rama by Swami Satchidananda. Most kids who went to the ashram school took Hindu first names at that time.
At some point around age ten, I started using my step-fathers last name Kitts (not Kitz).
When I switched to public school in sixth grade, I started using the first name Peter because I wanted to fit in. Most of the ex-ashram kids started using normal names at this point.
After graduating high school, when I was eighteen, I started using Rivers Cuomo again because it seemed more rock-star-ish and thats what I wanted to be: a rock star.
Throughout my entire life, my legal name has always been Rivers Cuomo.
I think it was a little harsh when I said, "There is no God." What I meant by that is that there is no sectarian belief or faith involved in the meditation: it's purely a mental exercise. That's why people come from all different faiths, beliefs, backgrounds, religions, and traditions. I've seen catholic priests, muslims, jains, buddhist monks, jews, and atheists attend these courses, with no apparent feeling of conflict.
I believe there is some confusion about the moral code by which I try to live. Here are the eight precepts I observe when I am at the meditation center, sitting a course:
1. to abstain from killing any living creature;
2. to abstain from stealing;
3. to abstain from all sexual activity;
4. to abstain from telling lies;
5. to abstain from all intoxicants.
6. to abstain from eating after midday;
7. to abstain from sensual entertainment and bodily decoration;
8. to abstain from using high or luxurious beds.
When I am outside the center, in my daily life, I only observe the first five. Also, precept number three, outside the center, is modified: to abstain from all sexual activity outside of a lifelong committed relationship. (For me, for now, that means total abstinence, because I dont have a partner.)
The purpose of the precepts is to make my mind calmer so that I can meditate better. The purpose of the meditation is to help my singing, songwriting, performing, and just about everything else in my life. See? It all makes sense. :)
"Cuomo, who studies Buddhism..."
I don't study Buddhism, I practice meditation.
"There are rumors that Cuomo may return to Harvard, where he's majoring in English, to finish his final semester. Cuomo hasn't addressed the issue..."
I definitely intend to return to school in the spring of 2006.
ROLLING STONE: "The Weird World of Weezer"
From a friend: "Also, I noticed in the article you said you felt you were off course in Ct. musically (I'm paraphrasing). I absolutely know what you mean but it also was a really powerful time for me musically. You, justin, adam, roger, glenn, drake and all those other guys in our little click had a profound impact on my life. We were just so ****ing into it man, dissecting solos, arguing about who's better, this guy or that. I of course have had that since and have that intensity now on a completely different level of awareness but that was a special time, at least for me. S*** like adam cutting together just the George Lynch solos from the Dokken songs, that s*** kills me. Anyway, for what it's worth, you seemed very much in tune then and were definitely a positive influence in my life musically and I just wanted to pass that along."
From my writing teacher:
>Here is what I can contribute. I tried to do this as an attachment but
>somehow I can't, so I'll just type it.
>When I heard that Rivers Cuomo wanted to take my nonfiction-writing
>class, I was just a little worried. What if he acted like a big rock
>star and intimidated the class, I wondered, though what I really meant
>was, what if he intimidated me, the teacher? But his application essay
>about . . . and the complicated feelings that
>the visit had evoked--of guilt, love, pride, embarrassment--was
>excellent. I also remembered an image from the one Weezer cd I had at
>that time, of a sweater unravelling slowly as a person walks away. So
>of course I admitted him to the 12-person writing seminar in which
>students were asked to write personal essays and critique each other's work.
>Everyone in class knew who he was even though no one said anything.
>Rivers made no secret of his identify--his music and his public persona
>were integral parts of what he wrote about--but he was completely
>matter-of-fact about these things, neither hiding nor broadcasting
>them. He was unassuming and assertive in turn, sitting quietly and
>studiously until he had something to say, and then making commentary
>that was kind, constructive, and perceptive. This particular class
>happened to have other very colorful personalities--a divinity school
>graduate student who used to be a celebrity reporter in LA, a young man
>from Tennesses who wrote about two near-death experiences (one in a
>dangerous neighborhood in NYC and the other in the wilds of
>Wyoming)--so after a while, Rivers kind of blended in."
From a friend:
" Hi Vanessa,
Thanks for getting in touch with me, I actually just spent a couple of days working with Rivers at the center, he's still there now. So I'll just start with the first time I met Rivers at the Vipassana Center.
First, a little Vipassana lingo, there are basically two things a person can do at the center, sit or serve. Sitting means being a student for the course and just focusing on meditation. Serving is working for the students(usally about 100) either in the kitchen preparing food, or being a manager, which means attending to any needs of the individual students. Managers tend to be more experienced students.
A year and a half ago, when I met Rivers, I was in the middle of a 6 month sitting and serving period. I'd left the center for a few days and came back a day or two late to serve a 10 day course. I met all the other 10 servers except for the manager for the male students because they are usually not in the kitchen but they do stop in to help when they have extra time. The male manager turned out to be Rivers and I saw him briefly a couple of times and knew he looked familiar but I would never have expected it to be him. The more I looked at him the more I was saying to myself, 'Damn, that really looks like Rivers Cuomo'. So we were working in the kitchen across from each other. He was scrubbing potatoes and I was cutting tofu. I was thinking, 'Is there any way this can possibly be Rivers?' I basically convinced myself that it wasn't logical that Rivers would be at this meditation center that I've been coming to for years. Once I decided it wasn't him I simply asked,"What's your name?" He said, "Oh, my name is Rivers." I remember that I involuntarily jerked backwards a little bit in shock. I am a big Weezer fan and a musician. I introduced myself and said,"Sorry for my reaction, I just thought you looked really familiar." Not knowing what else to say I said," Your music is wonderful." I felt like a dork. He thanked me and I walked away trying to comprehend how amazing it was that I was meeting one of my idols in such a spiritual and personal environment. We worked together on the course for the next couple of weeks and slowly I got to know a lot about Rivers. For the first few days I would be meditating five feet from Rivers with about 20 Weezer songs running through my head. It was very surreal.
The initial conversations I had with Rivers were mainly about the Dhamma, (the teaching and practice of Vipassana). I figured he was probably enjoying his autonomy at the center and didn't want to be pestered by a fan, so, while it took some restraint, i tried to keep the rock-related questions to a minimum. He told me how he'd been very unhappy with his last two records and had been looking for a way to reconnect with his creativity and that Rick Rubin had suggested that he take a meditation course. He had already attended 4 or 5 courses in about a 6 month period which is way more than usual. I remember one conversation that stands out, I asked him if he was still friends with Matt Sharp, he looked at me and with a sadness in his voice he said, "I'm trying to be". He told me how he'd been reaching out to Matt and trying to make peace and resolve whatever tensions there were between them. It was obvious he was really hurt that they weren't friends. He seemed willing to do whatever it would take to improve their relationship and I could see that his meditation practice was helping him deal with it.
Rivers was much more comfortable talking about meditation and the teachings of Vipassana than he was talking about music, being a rock star, touring, and all the things that the Weezer fan in me wanted to know about. A few times we would get on those subjects and he would say, "Wow,I can feel how agitated I'm getting just talking about these things." One time when we were talking about his new album he just said, "I don't think I want to talk about music right now."
Our conversations also seemed to gravitate toward the subject of women. Being in a semi-monastical environment really tends to bring up the passions in a person. Rivers seemed very preoccupied with girls and the idea of finding the right partner who would also be into meditation. Rivers is a very shy and private person. I remember our other friend Travis and I talked to him a lot about meeting women and interacting with them.
In the 7 years that I have been practicing Vipassana I have met very few people who are as dedicated to the practice as Rivers. For example, most people starting off take 10 day courses which are very demanding. If you practice 2 hours minimum a day for 2 years and refrain from using any intoxicants during that time, as well as meeta few other requirements, you can qualify to take a 20 day course. Very few people take these longer courses. Rivers just completed a 20 day course after a little less than 2 years of practicing! Imagine 20 days of total silence, meditating 10 to 12 hours a day! You can understand the kind of dedication that this would take. Rivers always seems down to meditate. The few times I visited him in LA thats what we did. He has clearly cultivated a lot of inner peace and clarity through his practice. Also sitting still and meditating for hours on end can be very uncomfortable. You tend to want to fidget. When Rivers sits to meditatite he resembles a stone statue of the Buddha. no movement. He is a person that exudes discipline. It's very inspirational. I remember between courses a few of us were going up to nearby Yosemite Park to camp out and have a little mens circle. Rivers really wanted to come with us but he waffled back and forth for about an hour because he didn't want to leave the vibe of the meditation center and risk loosing his focus, as we were going to be sitting a 10-day course starting the next day. Eventually he decided not to come, I really admired his discipline.
<> One funny thing that I recall was after a course Rivers got picked up in a big black chauferred van equipped with a guitar and he was excited about the four hour ride home, getting to pour all of his newly cultivated inspiration into writing new songs. I think we'll get to hear some of that on the new album."