Back in 2002 the regular splash page at therentals.com was replaced with a photo of front man and mastermind Matt Sharp wearing a crazy-man beard and holding a toy gun to his head, captioned with a cryptic message to the effect that we wouldn’t be hearing from him for a while. By then only the really fanatical fans were still paying attention, and we were pretty sure about what’d brought him low. After “Friends of P,” the big single from Return of the Rentals, hit the charts in 1995, he quit his bass-playing gig in Weezer, pursued a brief European love affair (and a European drinking expedition), and in 1999 released Seven More Minutes, a front-to-back perfect pop album with an expressive depth that the single’s dorky novelty-band vibe hadn’t even hinted at. The record got a pitiful reception that almost ended Sharp’s career–and at the time I kinda liked seeing him go off the deep end, since that was what I was doing myself. By the same token it’s nice to see him collaborating now with former bandmate Rivers Cuomo after successfully suing him for royalties, since I’m at a point in my life where I’d like to reconnect with old friends and make them give me money. Some of the material Sharp and Cuomo are writing is likely to end up on a new Rentals album, which ought to be out sometime next year. Ozma opens. Tue 8/1, 9 PM, Double Door, 1572 N. Milwaukee, 773-489-3160 or 312-559-1212, $17 in advance, $19 day of show.