Ween Breaks Up.
It was with a heavy heart that I heard the news that Ween are calling it a day. Dean Ween aka Aaron Freeman announced that Ween are over and he’s focusing on his solo career. You can check out the full info from Spinner.
Ween were a one of a kind band, and very hard to classify, as they were able to play almost every genre and sub-genre of music.
Formed in 1984, Ween was co-founded by Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo. Taking the stage names Dean and Gene Ween they ventured into sublimely silly musical terrain. Unlike fellow absurdist musical duo They Might Be Giants, Ween were unafraid of getting bolder and more offensive with their satirical bent, all while still being relentlessly catchy.
From the drugged out and ADD scatter shot focus of their first 3 albums (‘God Ween Satan; The Oneness’, ‘The Pod’,’Pure Guava’), to the slightly more refined production and musicianship of ‘Chocolate and Cheese’ (my favorite), ‘Golden Country Greats’, and ‘The Mollusk’, they took on everything from 70’s style prog rock, 60’s soul, psychedelia, metal and country to name but a scant few. Sometimes they would do their take on seminal artists like Bowie (‘Don’t Get Too Close To My Fantasy’) or (Prince ‘LMLYP’) in over the top fashion.
Coming to the height of their popularity in the 90’s, the band were a much-needed respite from the sometimes overly serious tones of Alternative Rock. They had minor hits with songs like ‘Push The Little Daisies’, ‘Voodoo Lady’ and ‘Can’t Put My Finger On It’, but Ween were a cult band, and had an intensely loyal following, depending very little on radio airplay.
As diverse as their musical style could be, the same could be said of their lyrics. From random hallucinatory strangeness; (‘Mr Would You Please Help My Pony’), their take on the country break up song;( ‘Piss Up A Rope’), to a song about taking a dump (‘Poopship Destroyer’), Ween were a band that you either loved or hated and you got it or you didn’t. Those who did enjoyed manic laughter amidst great tunes.
2000’s ‘White Pepper’ was their attempt at a bigger crossover, more pop oriented and lacking the diverse weirdness of their earlier albums. After that, they went back to their roots with 2003’s ‘Quebec’ and 2007’s ‘La Cucaracha’ which saw them skewering techno, dub-reggae and nasal emo.
Live, Ween were an ever changing experience. Going from their early days of 2 guys playing to a DAT machine, to eventually having a full-fledged band. Prone to free jams, extended sets and even the occasional Van Halen cover, a Ween concert was unlike any other you’d ever see.
I included the Ween ‘brothers’ in my Top 15 Lyricists in Alternative rock, which you can recap here.
In the meantime, let’s have a drink and remember what a great body of work we’re left with. I feel their Irish Drinking Song ‘The Blarney Stone’ (off of ‘The Mollusk’) is a more than fitting tribute:
Want to relive the good ole days of Ween to drown out your sorrows? Clicking on any of the album images below will take you to Amazon.
[amazon_image id=”B00123KDWE” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Chocolate & Cheese (US Release) [Explicit][/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B001OGLRFQ” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]12 Golden Country Greats [Explicit][/amazon_image][amazon_image id=”B001OGROM6″ link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]The Mollusk [Explicit][/amazon_image]