Since they formed in Los Angeles in 1992, rock band Weezer has performed dozens of memorable cover songs. Their catalog ranges far and wide, from Radiohead’s “Paranoid Android” and “War Pigs” by Black Sabbath to more intuitive nods to their influences like “Velouria” by The Pixies and “Just What I Needed” by The Cars. One song they have yet to cover in their 25 years of existence, comprising thousands of performances, however, is “Africa” by Toto. One person believes that needs to change.
In the midst of a particularly divisive period in American politics and culture, it seems there’s almost nothing that we can all come together in agreement on. Some days it seems like there’s little hope for our voices ever being heard on anything. But one thing it’s safe to say we can all agree upon is that the famous alternative rock band Weezer would absolutely kill a cover of “Africa” by Toto, the internet's favorite song.
That’s the simple dream espoused by one intrepid Twitter user posting under the name @weezerafrica. The account, set up by a 14 year old music fan from the Cleveland area named Mary, has tweeted exclusively about her dream of hearing Rivers Cuomo and company perform what is likely to be a straight-forward, slightly arch, but no less emotionally resonant power-pop version of the song that went to number one in the US and number three in the UK in the year it was released.
Mary has been busy tweeting at the band members with her humble request and has been encouraging others to do the same. “it’s about time you blessed the rains down in africa,” she tweeted at Cuomo on Wednesday. Agreed, it is time. She even got a reply from drummer Patrick Wilson. “I laughed,” he said. But Mary, with a determined, unbreakable focus on her goal, replied: “thank you for replying patrick. it has made me feel almost as blessed as the rains down in africa.”
And while this might seem like an ultimately frivolous goal, and an even more frivolous endeavor to write about it here on the internet, in these dire times, we need to take all the small victories we can get. We need this. We need this young music fan to succeed. We need to hear the sounds of the African rains being blessed by Weezer.
We talked to Mary, who has been learning Weezer songs in her School of Rock cover band, on the phone during her lunch break about what inspired her petition to hear Weezer cover the song that made it all the way to number 32 on NME’s 2012 list of the "50 Most Explosive Choruses.” Neither Weezer nor Toto responded immediately for comment.
Noisey: Were you a fan of Weezer before this? How’d you get into them?
Mary: I’m a big Weezer fan! I was into Green Day like a lot when I started doing [guitar] lessons, and people there started telling me to listen to Weezer. So I listened to their music and I just loved it. My favorite album is Pinkerton and my favorite song is “Across the Sea.”
That’s a good one. Where’d you get the idea for “Africa” by Toto?
It was just a goofy joke? It was from Weezer was talking about they were inspired for their new album Daydream, what inspired them. So I jokingly said, “Oh I bet they were inspired by ‘Africa’ by Toto for their new album.”
Was that just an absurd joke or you think it actually sounds like that?
It was just an absurd joke. And then I was like, "I wonder if I can get them to cover the song."
You got a reply from Patrick Wilson?
Two nights ago I got a reply from him. He posted about how he enjoyed this one Christmas album and I was like, “Oh yeah? Well I enjoy a cover of ‘Africa’ by Weezer.”
Was that exciting?
Yeah it was. I was sitting at home and I got the alert on my phone from Patrick Wilson and it was just honestly amazing.
Do you think they’ll do it or not?
It’s really up to them. It’s in their hands now. I think they’d do a pretty cool rendition of it. It would be really interesting to see if they’ll do it.
There’s not much we can all agree on right now besides this.
Yeah, I really agree with that. With everything going on, politically, and net neutrality, there’s just a lot of stuff going on, and everyone just agrees this would be fun. I think it’s good that people all seem to enjoy this.
Why do you know about “Africa” by Toto, by the way? It’s obviously a huge hit, but…
I listen to a lot of strange 80s music, and a lot of my friends were into Stranger Things, and they were talking about “Africa” by Toto a lot and I knew the song. And School of Rock did a rendition of the song in one of their shows a few months back and I thought it was really cool.
Oh, it was in Stranger Things?
Yeah it was. That’s why my friends were talking about it and it was on my mind.
Oh, that makes a lot of sense. So do you want to be a musician and be in a band and do the whole thing?
I don’t really know since I’m only 14, but I think it would be really cool to do that one day, there’s just not a high probability of it happening.
OK well I will let you go, put your phone away and do your studies.
Luke O'Neill will bless the mentions down on Twitter.