Weezer's Rivers Cuomo on How Meditation Helped Him Find Music Inspiration

The frontman joined Dan Harris for his "10% Happier" livestream show

ByABC News
March 10, 2016, 10:57 AM

— -- Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo has been writing and singing hit songs about scoring with the hot girl, nerding out “In the Garage” and longing for celebrity status in “Beverly Hills” for over two decades.

But this Grammy-winning rocker, whose catchy lyrics about relationships, promiscuity and drug use helped Weezer become what some argue as the father of today’s emo-genre, credits his success and stability to his daily practice of meditation.

“It seemed like the last thing that could possibly help me make better rock music,” Cuomo told ABC News’ Dan Harris in an interview for his new live-stream podcast, “10% Happier With Dan Harris.”

“But I was willing to give it a try, and what can I say, it helped. I’m not exactly sure why,” he continued. “It definitely improves your concentration and creativity, even in rock music ... it’s about fighting through whatever internal struggles there are, self-doubt and really focusing in on what it is you’re trying to say.”

Cuomo said he first experienced meditation as a young kid in the ‘70s going to an ashram in Connecticut with his parents.

“It’s weird, because I remember asking my parents when I was a kid, ‘Are you guys hippies?’ and they would always say, ‘No.’ They didn’t identify with hippies, but then later I look back on it and it’s like, ‘It’s seems like you guys were pretty much hippies,’" Cuomo said.

By the sixth grade, Cuomo said he gave up practicing and didn’t pick it up again until he was 32 -- and then he never stopped.

“I felt like my inspiration, my creativity was drying up, and I needed -- I tried everything," he said. "I needed to do something drastic.” "After deciding to give it a try, Cuomo dove in head first and tried different meditation techniques and courses, and then began attending weeks-long meditation and made meditating a part of his daily routine. Since 2003, Cuomo said he has practiced S.N. Goenka’s Vipassana Meditation, meditating for two hours a day, every day (except for one day in 2009 when Weezer’s tour bus crashed -- “I was unconscious that day,” Cuomo explained), and he takes it extremely seriously.

“So from my first course, also somewhat famously at least in Weezer circles, is I couldn’t have any sexual activity outside of lifelong committed relationships so for three years I was completely celibate after that first course,” Cuomo said. “It was tough.”

He not only credits the practice of meditation for helping him find continued music inspiration -- outside of a recent stint on Tinder he said was for song research for the new album -- but also for choosing to get married and have children, and even for keeping Weezer together.

“I don’t know if I ever would have gotten married without this meditation practice to settle me down and get me focused on my core values,” Cuomo said. “I feel like without the practice I wouldn’t be married, I wouldn’t have these kids, I wouldn’t be able to hang in there.

“And then again, it’s like man, how long has this band been together -- 24 years now? And that’s something to be proud of,” he continued. “And it’s very hard to keep that thing going, that four-way marriage going, so I give the practice some credit for keeping me calm through any difficulties that come up.”