In 1995, when Weezer bassist Matt Sharp released the first album by his side project The Rentals, he was at the peak of an alt-rock explosion that was reaching its apex, and with the smash success of “Friends of P,” he was positioned as one of the music industry’s golden boys. Then he quit Weezer, split to Europe, and recorded a moody concept album about being a famous rock star drifting through Europe (1999’s Seven More Minutes) that failed to reach “Friends of P” levels of popularity. Sharp then dissolved the band and dropped out of the public eye, popping up here and there with art projects and oddball, small-scale recordings.
Recently Sharp recruited a new team of Rentals, including Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney, and recorded Lost in Alphaville, a long-awaited return to form that was enthusiastically received by the fervent cult following that his project has grown over the years. During a stop in New York City he spoke with EW about the new album, his admiration for film directors, and the long shadow that Weezer’s first album still casts over his career.