Viral TikTok star who played Weezer’s Buddy Holly lick for 990 days straight finally plays the song with the band live

Rivers Cuomo
(Image credit: David A. Smith/Getty Images)

A few months ago, Rivers Cuomo virtually performed part of Weezer’s Buddy Holly with guitarist Evan Marsalli, who went viral on TikTok following an ambitious – and successful – pledge to play that lick every day until Cuomo agreed to duet with him.

Back in February, the first phase of the viral campaign came to a close, resulting in a joint TikTok video between Cuomo and Marsalli – the latter of whom ended up playing Buddy Holly's iconic lick for almost 1,000 days in a row before completing his quest.

But that wasn’t the end of the story: after the duet, Cuomo issued Marsalli with an invitation of his own: “Challenge you to come play this live on Weezer’s Indie Rock Road Trip Tour this summer.”

Well, Weezer’s Indie Rock Road Trip tour kicked off earlier this month and, true to his word, Cuomo brought Marsalli out to play Buddy Holly live on stage in Madison, Wisconsin, on Wednesday (June 14).

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Weezer shared the clip of 2023’s most anticipated collaboration (yes, we went there) on their social media page, which saw a Gibson Explorer-wielding Marsalli take the spotlight for just a few seconds as he played the Buddy Holly lick.

Considering he played it 990 times before getting Weezer’s attention – which, we’ve worked out, equates to around 50 minutes, there or thereabouts – it comes as no surprise that his show-stopping moment goes off without a hitch.

In the video, it looked as though Marsalli’s contribution went beyond the lick, with the TikTok hero helping Cuomo out with some powerchord thrashing and headbanging. He looked completely at home on stage, too, but that probably can be attributed to his extensive live experience with his own band, Diet Lite.

“It finally happened,” Cuomo wrote on Instagram after the show. “After almost 1,000 straight days of playing the Buddy Holly lick on TikTok, Evan Marsalli joined us on stage and absolutely nailed it.”

It’s a triumphant conclusion to Marsalli’s story, one that no doubt thrilled the guitarist’s 16,000 TikTok followers, who slowly grew en masse as the plucky Weezer fan plowed on with his epic journey towards internet immortality and social media stardom.

Plus, if there’s one thing we can take away from this, it’s that committing to a bit, no matter how obscure it might seem, really does work. It may take a while – almost three years, in Marsalli’s case – but the power of six-string activism remains a force to be reckoned with. That, or Weezer are just the coolest rock band around.

@rivers_cuomo

♬ original sound - Evan from diet lite

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.