August 10, 2010

Concentration and Flow with Weezer's Rivers Cuomo

In an interview published yesterday in the LA Times, Weezer front man Rivers Cuomo discusses the band's upcoming "raw and emotional" album Hurley, experimenting with different vocals, and the creative ways he keeps fans on their toes during performances (at a recent show, he found himself serving beer at a bar in the back of the venue.) When the interview turned to cultivating a peaceful mind through Vipassana meditation---which Cuomo has practiced for seven years---the singer said that exercising his mind helps to focus his concentration and flow during Weezer's performances:

Your image is as a perennial frustrated guy howling about girls, yet in reality you are a practitioner of Vipassana meditation. Can you explain how a peaceful mind can make such explosive music?

I do exercise my mind with Vipassana to make it more peaceful and concentrated, but I wouldn't say I have a totally peaceful mind yet!  Anyway, I think audiences sometimes mistakenly assume a quality performance comes from some great emotional disturbance rather than really intense concentration.  Concentration and flow is what it's all about.

A few years ago Tricycle ran a lengthy article on Rivers Cuomo in which Cuomo discussed his music, the almost unbearable loneliness of celebrity, his celibacy, and how his Vipassana practice helped him turn his life around once he stopped self-medicating and began meditating:

In Cuomo’s first fourteen months of meditating, in 2003-04, he sat seven ten-day retreats and volunteered at two, meaning that in just over a year he spent ninety days in a semimonastic environment and about seventy in the depths of his mind. It wasn’t long before he sat a twenty-day course, the prerequisites for which include five ten-day courses, two years of regular meditation practice (two hours a day), and one year of keeping the Five Precepts. For most students, the journey to a long course is slow and filled with diversions, but Cuomo had begun working toward the requirements on the first day of his first course, and he completed them as early as he could. “I’ve been lucky. I’ve had the freedom to sit whenever I want, and just a ton of enthusiasm and motivation because I was in such bad shape. So I really dove in.”

Hurley, named for Jorge Garcia's character on Lost, will be released on September 14th. Read Tricycle's full profile of Rivers Cuomo here.

Image: sofeminine.co.uk

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