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A Ten-Year Relationship With Rivers Cuomo?

Three almost identical stories can now be spotted around the web, three stories about Jennifer Chiba controlling who was about to see Elliott backstage, even refusing people the access. Nelly Reifler, a writer who attended the same college than Elliott, wrote this episode about her backstage visit after Elliott’s show at the Knitting Factory in 2003. This is an excerpt of her three-part series The Weeklings:

‘Then the door opened again, and a young woman was standing there. She was one of the singers who had been onstage with him. Pretty in an unremarkable way, wearing a T-shirt and jeans. She was smiling at me, reaching out her hand. She apologized. “I’m so sorry!” she said, “I’m Jennifer. Come in. I didn’t realize you were that author.” At first I didn’t know what she was talking about. And then—oh, yes—I was an author, sort of, almost. But what did that matter? If I hadn’t written a book, I wouldn’t have been allowed to see Elliott? And she was a gatekeeper, deciding who could greet Elliott? This was worse than if he’d simply not wanted to see me himself. Right then, I didn’t like her. She still refused to allow Noah entry.’

Joanna Bolme had the same experience the same year, as she told Q magazine in 2011.

‘The year he died, Elliott came to see me play. He was excited about his studio and he hadn’t been doing drugs. He wanted to show me his studio. I was going to go after the show, but [then girlfriend] Jennifer Chiba threw a fit and made him leave. That was a bummer – we hadn’t hung out in years and been civil, and we were making some amends. It was the last time I saw him.’

And there is also this comment posted on a website after an article questioning J Chiba’s involvement in Elliott’s death. It was only signed old friend:

‘I knew Elliott pretty well, and met the girl in question only once. When I met her, she made up a false story concerning an old girlfriend of his, who happened to be at one of his Brooklyn shows a few months before he died. I attended the show with the old girlfriend, and afterward Miss Chiba refused to allow her backstage, accusing her of violently hitting her for no reason. This blatantly false story spurned an insane scene, and I felt terrible for Elliott for being caught in the middle of such nonsense.’

Three people who experienced the same thing. Jennifer Chiba was the gatekeeper, controlling who could see Elliott or not? At best it demonstrates a total insecurity in her relationship with him, at worst, it shows a dangerous control-freak side.

This is very far away from the way Schultz portrays her in his book. Starting from the moment she and Elliott supposedly meet for the first time, the narrative is trying to fool us with lies: ‘Chiba’s first instinct was to tell him to call her when he dropped out of the music industry. She’d recently ended a ten-year relationship with Weezer’s Rivers Cuomo, and in the moment she didn’t feel she could ‘deal with being in the public eye’ again.’

Let’s just stop there, a ten-year relationship with Cuomo? I wonder what Cuomo would say about this, According to Weezerpedia, she was Cuomo’s on-again off-again girlfriend between 1992 and 1995! Hey that’s barely 3 years, plus if you read some of his interviews, you realized the guy was not that focused on one person at the time:

‘One of my girlfriends had just died from cancer. This is a girl I was going out with around 1995’… err, a ten-year relationship, really? To her credit, he did write a few songs about her, songs like ‘El Scorcho’, which starts like this: ‘Goddamn you half-Japanese girls/Do it to me every time’. In an interview to the Crimson, he declared he couldn’t tell much about the inspiration behind the song:

‘Yeah, I’d love to tell you all the juicy details, but I…I’m not concerned for my own privacy, but for someone else. I know she doesn’t want anyone to know anything. So I can’t say anything.’… but some discussion with Weezer fans will tell you it’s about her.

‘No Other One’ (with the lyrics, ‘My girl’s a liar/
But I’ll stand beside her’…) featured on the same album ‘Pinkerton’, is also rumored to be about Chiba, since it is a song originally written for the character of Maria in the abandoned space opera ‘Songs from the Black Hole’,… and since Chiba was the inspiration for Maria…. So this confirms the time of their relationship, as the songs for ‘Pinkerton’ were recorded in 1995. Furthermore, Cuomo moved to LA in 1989 and got married in 2006 to a woman he met in 1997: there’s simply no place for a ten-year relationship. Plus Chiba dated the Warlocks’ Bobby Hecksher probably around 1999-2000.

Why giving so much importance to a single sentence in the book? Because first, it shows that Schultz didn’t verify anything J Chiba was feeding him with, and second, it demonstrates her tendency to arrange reality and rework the truth to fit her story. To the posterity, she wants to be this woman, coming out of a ten-year relationship and hardly able to start a new one because she doesn’t want to be in the spotlight, whereas we know she was running after fame (an ex-friend of hers described her to me as a ‘starfucker’) and money (remember about the lawsuit, not even mentioned in the book), totally insecure in her relationship to the point of making a barrage between Elliott and some friends or ex-girlfriends trying to see him after a show. None of these stories are in the book of course, just like her DUI, which is mentioned between parentheses whereas it was probably at the center of their argument on October 21st. J. Chiba exists now through the internet, books and documentary and we have to be vigilant and denounce her undergoing mythmaking.

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