One of the world’s most creative and innovate bands, Ween, has apparently ended. The band’s lead singer Aaron Freeman, otherwise known as Gene Ween, has announced the end of Ween in Rolling Stone. The breakup came as suprise to Mickey Melchiondo, Dean Ween, as he sent out this sad message on facebook.
Obviously it seems that the breakup is sudden and unplanned. Aaron noted that there is no bad blood, but rather its just a time to just close that chapter in his life. Is this really the end? Maybe officially, but probably not forever. I’m sure some reunion concert/reunion record will come down the road at some point. Whether that’s gonna be in 2 years, or 20, nobody knows right now, but its truly a sad day in the history of rock and roll. For Ween fans I have two videos. The first is a short documentary on the guys from 2000, and the second is Aaron Freeman playing “It’s Gonna be Alright,” an appropriately crushing ballad for the occasion. RIP Ween…
Part 93 of my youtube countdown keeps the party going with Ween’s stunning 2000 single “Even if You Don’t” from their fantastic White Pepper album. The music video was directed by two geniuses who were enormously influenced by Ween’s music, that being South Park and Book of Mormon creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. “Even if You Don’t” is a strait up Paul McCartney pastiche. It has a beautiful Beatle-esque descending melody, a joyful pounding piano, and that subversive psychedelic humor that both Ween and the South Park guys are notorious for. I’ve always thought that Dean and Gene were playing Matt and Trey in the video, all goofy smiles and buttoned up shirts covering up layers and layers of fucked up rage. Anyway, its an all-time modern classic, and not to be missed. Check it out!
For part 59 of my youtube countdown, I have another video from Ween’s amazing 1997 record, The Mollusk. The song, appropriately enough, is “The Mollusk” itself. This song is a beautiful story about a semi-creepy older man talking to a boy at the beach about a magical mollusk he found by the shore. It’s a hilarious back and forth vocal duet set to a gorgeous sea-faring arrangement. This song, the whole album, and the video below for that matter, reminds me of the Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It’s a concept album about the ocean set to glorious transcendent melodies and production. Every time I put on the album, I play it all the way through, and I always feel like I’m happily submerging into Ween’s hilarious and colorful ocean of sounds. Ween are among the greatest musicians in rock history, a dramatic statement I know, but true nonetheless. They have been criminally underrated by most music publications, and unfairly ignored as torch bearers for great rock and roll. Well, on my website, such realities are not true. At williesimpson.com, Ween sits on a throne right besides all the other greats in my personal hall of fame. Enjoy, “The Mollusk.”
Welcome to part 51 of my ever expanding youtube countdown. For this spanking new edition, I bring you more Ween playing on TV shows that no longer exist. I have no idea what this show is. I think it’s from Canadian MTV, but I don’t know, the internet isn’t telling me. Anyway, they are playing their nautical psychedelic acoustic jam, “Mutilated Lips,” from their 1997 masterpiece album The Mollusk. Ween gives a beautiful performance while a large dancing monkey trades moves with awkward 90s hipsters and a fat shirtless dude. It’s pretty much par for the course for Ween, and as such, its fantastic. The Mollusk is one of the greatest albums of the 90s. A pastiche of psychedelic sea shanties mixed with transcendent pop all adorned with the best studio production Ween ever achieved. If you don’t have it, I suggest making it one of your records of the coming summer so you can bask in its sun baked glory. Enjoy.
The alternative vibe continues in part 45 of my epic youtube countdown. This time its Ween, on the, ahem, “unforgettable” Jane Pratt Show in 1993 playing “Freedom of ’76.” The song, a slow soul jam, comes from Ween’s brilliant album Chocolate and Cheese. Ween, for the uninitiated, consists of Gene Ween (aka Aaron Freeman, lead singer) and Dean Ween (aka Mickey Melchiondo, lead guitar.) Both guys are geniuses, two of the world’s best contemporary songwriters. When Ween broke through as 19 year olds in the early 90s, they were pegged as a comedy rock act, which couldn’t be more of a misrepresentation. While its true that there is great humor in their rock, their true skills lie in melody creation and tasteful arrangement construction. Their talent is so powerful, they are capable of tackling any genre of music, making it original, and making it their own. What’s great about this clip is the amazing clueless Jane Pratt interview with the very stoned Gene and Dean before they launch into their stunningly weird duet. Expect more Ween in the future, enjoy.