Ween

TrackAlbum
Your PartyLa Cucaracha
Freedom Of '76Chocolate And Cheese
Push Th' Little DaisiesPure Guava
My Own Bare HandsLa Cucaracha
The MolluskThe Mollusk
Back To BasomWhite Pepper
You Were The Fool12 Golden Country Greats
Chocolate TownQuebec
Mutilated LipsThe Mollusk
Don't Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy)Pure Guava

spotify-logo-primary-horizontal-dark-background-rgb-sm

 

Contributor: Matt Roberts

Mickey Melchiondo and Aaron Freeman were Ween. In concert, they were happy to inform the audience of that fact at every opportunity, often preceding a song with “This is a song by Ween”, or appreciating the response to any given track with the tag, “Thank you, we’re Ween!” Taking the names Dean and Gene Ween, they carved a deep cave in the bedrock of underground music, serving up ten studio albums and a bevy of live sets, bootlegs and demo cassettes over the lifetime of the band. Never content with sticking to a given style, Ween surfed genres like they were born to confuse. The stylistic breadth they covered seemed, at some points, an impertinent middle finger at those who wanted to pigeonhole them as four-track stoners (although they certainly produced a lot of material with feet firmly planted in that camp).

Ween are one of those incredibly polarising acts that people either idolise, or flat out don’t get at all. One very rarely hears the sentence, “Yeah, Ween … they’re OK I suppose.” They were one of the few rare acts that could ramp up the stupid at any given moment, but retain control simply by performing with complete sincerity. Whether Ween were really exhorting you to “Touch My Tooter” seriously or not is sometimes a question that needs to be asked. Was that a wink or not? It’s easy to write off certain acts as comedy because the subterfuge is transparent, the listener can hear the irony, the raised eyebrow. Ween, especially toward the end of their run, tried to make that hard to ascertain. But sometimes, it was actually, sincerely sincere. To me, that is a big part of why I love them. It means you have to take the wistful pop/folk of She’s Your Baby (on White Pepper) at face value as a beautiful track – but where does that leave you with tracks like Object (on La Cucaracha) which details the banal, vile thoughts of an obvious serial killer?

Fans measure their output in “brownness”. The clunkier, mistake-ridden and more basic of their works are deemed the brownest. As they progressed in their songwriting skills and the production became more advanced, it was deemed “less brown”. They returned with a very brown album later in their career with Quebec. They took the concept album to new levels with both 12 Golden Country Greats (a ten song album of proper country songs performed with some gun Nashville session musicians) and The Mollusk (an entire album recorded in a shack by the ocean, about the ocean) and for me, both albums rank in the top three of their career.

Make no mistake, Ween took goof to new levels. The single that propelled them to international recognition (especially in Australia) was Push Th’ Little Daisies, a strange, playful tune with a wonky video that had top 40 listeners scratching their heads and unable to stop bopping at the same time. It was heartening to know that the commercial radio listeners were buying the album Pure Guava based off of that single and finding themselves having to sit through Poop Ship Destroyer.

Tongue firmly in cheek, Ween did what they needed to do and finished with one of them in rehab and the other not knowing that the band had ended. They rank highly in my list of important bands and the best I can do is recommend these ten as a starter. There are some singles in there, Freedom Of ’76 got radio play, as did Daisies of course. But this is more like my attempt at a well constructed Best Of, with a beginning, middle and end.

As Henry Rollins once intoned from stage after a crowd didn’t give them the due expected, “Start liking them now, for one day you will get down on your filthy knees and crawl to the altar that is Ween.” And if Uncle Hank tells ya, you’ve been told.

 

Ween live at Enmore Theatre, Sydney 2008: Matt writes: This is a half an hour edited set played on Triple J TV, from a three hour gig. I thought it was amazing, since I was there, but Dean Ween notes in the upload that it’s “Probably the best video of us ever shot” and I must concur.

Ween’s official site

Ween info, discography etc.

The Dean Ween Group

Ween news, tour dates and all things brown

Ween biography (iTunes)

Matt Roberts is a musician, audio engineer and graphic artist from Sydney, Australia with a blinding love of all things sound. His tastes are catholic, ranging from Esperanza Spalding to Slayer and everywhere in between. He writes angular pop and rock, crafts and remixes many varieties of electronic music, and fronts a Frank Zappa tribute act called Petulant Frenzy. More about Matt here and catch up with Petulant Frenzy here. This is Matt’s first post for Toppermost – there are more to come.

TopperPost #415

4 Comments

  1. David Lewis
    Feb 26, 2015

    Ween keep rewarding, no matter how many times you listen. Keep listening… It’s marvellous stuff. And welcome to Matt. Looking forward to your posts.

    • Matt Roberts
      Mar 6, 2015

      Why thanks Dave, much appreciated!

  2. David Corway
    Feb 27, 2015

    No ‘Squelch The Weasel’ (“…and this is a song… about God.”), no party.

    • Matt Roberts
      Mar 6, 2015

      “Squelch…” was ‘this’ far…. so, so, so many good tracks – though I will cop to veering further from the brown than the rabid fan. Even though I am… Rabid that is…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

↓