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…
Pink Floyd has some lengthy songs. I think most of the time, it sounds like they rode in on a long traveling cosmic wave from Neptune. They made sure to reflect the journey accurately with long gentle harmonized verses and guitar solos that surge and bend like celestial orbits. “Echoes,” from the 1970 album Meddle, was credited to all four members of the group, and is a gorgeous galactic ballad about some undersea magic, or something. Originally, the song was about two planetary bodies meeting, but Roger Waters was concerned that the band would be pegged as a “space-rock” band, so he made sure to change the imagery to the more aquatic themed variety. Sorry Roger, the song still sounds like space-rock, and that’s how your band will forever be remembered, nice try though. Anyway, these clips of “Echoes” are culled from the 1972 film, “Pink Floyd: Live at Pompeii,” probably one of the pompous cinematic events that greatly inspired the boys in Spinal Tap. I mean, the drummer Nick Mason looks exactly like Harry Shearer’s character Derek Smalls, no coincidence in my opinion. Want more “Echoes” fun facts? Ok, I got two. The first is the Waters’s claim that Andrew Lloyd Webber plagiarized the riff of the song for his “Phantom of the Opera” musical. In a great quote Waters said, “I couldn’t believe it when I heard it. It’s the same time signature, it’s 12/8, and it’s the same structure and it’s the same notes and it’s the same everything. Bastard. It probably is actionable. It really is! But I think that life’s too long to bother with suing Andrew fucking Lloyd Webber.” Fun fact #2 is that one of my favorite bands Ween used a 5 second clip of “Echoes” for their song “Birthday Boy.” This was no plagiarism, it was a DIRECT LIFT! I have no idea how Ween got away with putting a Pink Floyd recording on their major label debut record, but sometimes miracles happen. Anyway, take a 15 minute break and enjoy “Echoes” parts 1 and 2 live in Pompeii, Italy.
We knocked off 100-50, now its time to begin rounding off the list of my 100 favorite youtube videos with part 3. In this list you’re gonna find a lot of amazing super groups, all-star pair ups, and ultra rare collaborations! Let’s begin the magical mystery tour right now!
Welcome back again to my youtube favorite retrospective part 2! You know the deal, the list is done, and we’re looking back at all the hits that made us laugh, cry, and die. Let’s start rolling right where we left off!
#74. The Ramones, Blitzkrieg Bop – It’s more Ramones, the greatest and most original punk ever playing the shit out of Blitzkrieg Bop, in Germany of all places. Not bad for a bunch of Jewish guys from Queens.
#73. The Sex Pistols, Anarchy in the UK – When I was in college, I actually had a history professor show us this video as an example of historical outliers. That’s all well and good, but I was just fascinated with how the drummer sat at the front of the band.
#72. Elvis Costello, Pump it Up – Declan MacManus’s punky little pop jam. You gotta love Costello for essentially being the reincarnation of Buddy Holly in modern times, both physically, and musically. Read more »
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.