Classic or Dud: "Ladies and Gentlemen..WEEN!"

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It's very easy to get wrapped up in their world, wrapped up in their injokes, wrapped up in all their stylistic variations, just totally immersed and geeking out -- and this, weirdly enough, is something I find hard to say about a lot of "serious" bands. Easy to pull people in when you populate your world with bizarro comic-book characters (Boognish, Dr. Rock, Captain Fantasy, Eddie Dingle and Danny, etc.), but there's still something there: why, exactly, doesn't "serious" music more often populate itself with concrete figures and situations and stories? And now that "proper" music cuts so hard into its own stylistic niches, wouldn't it be nice to see more bands working along the lines of mid-period Ween -- bands whose sounds can run in any number of directions, and yet still be unified by an overarching aesthetic? (We could just as easily be talking about the Cure on that one, I guess.)

I dunno. I originally got involved with this band in a kind of collegiate-stoner scene and sense, thanks mostly to a friend who geeked out on them more than I can ever dream to. What keeps them from every being a "joke" band -- and what I think has been spelled out by the progression of their albums -- is that no matter what kind of song they're attempting, they tend to commit to it absolutely and entirely. Often they're joking, but it's incredibly rare that they're actually parodying a sound. This is possibly why Chocolate and Cheese works well for me: it was the first moment where the really leapt beyond the fun of their recording process, and the songs managed to come out fully functional without really changing much at all. "Freedom of 76," or "Joppa Road" -- the lyrics joke (a little), but is there really anything about these songs that doesn't function really well within the styles they're adopting? And from there to, umm ... "Ocean Man?" It's only really after The Mollusk that I feel like they've dedicated themselves more than I like to their "proper" songwriting, and in the process lost a little of the imagination and breadth of the stuff before.

I'd actually say the same of a lot of the lyrics, but that's a little more complicated -- something about how a "weird" song will read as funny, intentionally off, even when it can more interestingly be read as (theoretically) serious. E.g. as a light example, what makes "Freedom of 76" so far removed from a "real" tribute to Philadelphia? (And for a heavier one, isn't it kind of fun to imagine "Mister Would You Please Help My Pony" as an actual situation and problem? Kid's pony is in mortal peril!)

Anyway yeah: it helps to try not to read "weird" as "funny," because in a lot of cases, with these guys, it's actually just wonderfully imaginative, especially when it comes to the songs and the sonics -- which are rarely half-assed "joke" performances, and are often written for total earnest effect. I'm surprised more people don't cover these songs, to be honest: I know Phish have adopted "Roses are Free" as practically theirs, but there are loads and loads of great fascinating songs beyond that kinda begging for various interpretations.

The White Album reference from before is a really terrific one -- styles and novelties thrown on out of sheer imagination, and delivered in a way that's not "kidding" but fully-committed and just incidentally fun. And if you think everyday Ween fans are freaks, then whoah Jesus you should have seen the crowds that showed up for their country tour! I have some some weird-ass people in my life, but nothing tops the country contingent at their Chicago show for that one.

nabiscothingy, Saturday, 12 November 2005 18:49 (twelve years ago) Permalink

two months pass...
Ooh ooh I wanna rate them too!

Axes: Bold as Boognish - 5.5
God Ween Satan - 9
Pod - 9.5
Pure Guava - 7.5
Chocolate & Cheese - 7
12 Golden Country Greats - 9
Mollusk - 8
White Pepper - 7
Quebec - 5.5
Shinola - 7

LoneNut, Thursday, 9 February 2006 21:45 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"keepin' little pumas locked up in a cage"

mom, Thursday, 9 February 2006 23:54 (eleven years ago) Permalink

plagued by an image of days gone by

flies on my...........DICK!!!

mom, Thursday, 9 February 2006 23:56 (eleven years ago) Permalink

"My mom bought me a cool shirt. When I wear it, I'm the shit."

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Friday, 10 February 2006 03:44 (eleven years ago) Permalink

five months pass...

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Monday, 31 July 2006 17:45 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Whoa, I am listening to The Pod RIGHT NOW!!! (it's on Pollo Asado)

Marmot 4-Tay: The root cause of dragon hatred among power metal bands. (marmotwo, Monday, 31 July 2006 17:52 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Me too!

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Monday, 31 July 2006 17:55 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I'll be yer johnny on the spot...


J. Grizzle (trainsmoke), Monday, 31 July 2006 17:56 (eleven years ago) Permalink


Marmot 4-Tay: The root cause of dragon hatred among power metal bands. (marmotwo, Monday, 31 July 2006 17:59 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Those early albums still rule the goddamn roost.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 31 July 2006 18:10 (eleven years ago) Permalink

All their albums rule the goddamn roost.

Mr. Snrub (Mr. Snrub), Monday, 31 July 2006 18:14 (eleven years ago) Permalink

I haven't heard the later ones as much. :-/

Ned Raggett (Ned), Monday, 31 July 2006 18:15 (eleven years ago) Permalink

They're okay. Once upon a time, I dug the first few albums an awful lot. But I found I cared less and less as time went by. Not so much that the quality dropped, but my interest level sure did. Not sure why... Guess I just found 'em more charming when they seemed like go-nowhere losers fucking around (brilliantly) on a 4-track.

I wish them the best of luck in everything they do.

fuckfuckingfuckedfucker (fuckfuckingfuckedfucker), Monday, 31 July 2006 18:18 (eleven years ago) Permalink


Marmot 4-Tay: The root cause of dragon hatred among power metal bands. (marmotwo, Monday, 31 July 2006 18:27 (eleven years ago) Permalink a brother on skates...

the doaple gonger (nickalicious), Monday, 31 July 2006 18:30 (eleven years ago) Permalink

Their live albums rule the goddamn roost, even though they do not come close to recreating the sheer awesomeness that is a live ween experience. Although live albums don't have stinky stoners constantly moshing into you.

danzig (danzig), Monday, 31 July 2006 19:19 (eleven years ago) Permalink

don't get 2 close 2 my fantasy
don't be afraid to touch the hand of your creator
stare into the lion's eye
and if you taste the candy
you'll get to the surprise


Emily B (Emily B), Tuesday, 1 August 2006 03:18 (eleven years ago) Permalink

im otm on this thread: Ween. Are they great or what?

ween are better now at singing and playing guitar but worse at making records.
-- ¨?¨?¨?¨?¨?¨? (chaki.time...), June 20th, 2006 1:17 PM. (chaki)

Supercalifragilisticexpiala Brosius (chaki), Tuesday, 1 August 2006 03:22 (eleven years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

Let us all anticipate the new Ween FRIENDS EP (due 06/19) and untitled album (due sometime this fall)!


Mr. Snrub, Thursday, 7 June 2007 22:00 (ten years ago) Permalink

"what deaner was talking about" is the shins but better

M@tt He1ges0n, Thursday, 7 June 2007 22:06 (ten years ago) Permalink


taste the waste!

Emily Bjurnhjam, Thursday, 7 June 2007 22:54 (ten years ago) Permalink

My cat's name is Captain Fantasy.

Davey D, Saturday, 9 June 2007 17:03 (ten years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

"Don't Laugh (I Love You)" is all the twee most people will ever want.

Cunga, Wednesday, 24 February 2010 23:25 (seven years ago) Permalink

Jesus Christ
Take one
Yeah! Pain

Last time I saw you, I was holding your hand
And I couldn't wait for you to leave
I knew right then that it was over and done
And I couldn't believe that I was free

Help me now, I'm going down
And I don't know if I'll be ok
I'll be around, I'll be in town
If you need a place to stay

When the wind blows and there's a chill in the air
I hope that someone is taking care of you
I'm alright, yeah, I'm really ok
Just so you know I'm always there for you

Help me now, I'm going down
And I don't know if I'll be ok
I'll be around, I'll be in town
If you need a place to stay

Anton Levain (jdchurchill), Thursday, 25 February 2010 00:27 (seven years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Just had a thought, could "Buckingham Green" be a reference to Lindsey + Peter? Or is it just a cool English-sounding name?

R. Stornoway (Tom D.), Friday, 16 July 2010 11:42 (seven years ago) Permalink

I always thought that it was a reference to the Buckingham Green Shopping Center located a few miles down the road from New Hope, PA.

bmus, Friday, 16 July 2010 17:47 (seven years ago) Permalink

Seeing these dudes tomorrow again! Hope they go light on the La Cucaracha album, the only dud in their catalog IMO...

ColinO, Saturday, 17 July 2010 04:48 (seven years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Where did the motherfucking cheese go at?

lol @ dog w/ sunglasses (Pillbox), Tuesday, 28 September 2010 17:12 (seven years ago) Permalink

(i don't know)

lol @ dog w/ sunglasses (Pillbox), Tuesday, 28 September 2010 22:37 (seven years ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Ween, the eternal:,0,6390254.story

Ned Raggett, Saturday, 29 January 2011 02:59 (six years ago) Permalink

ween, the clusterfucking (from what I hear):

symsymsym, Saturday, 29 January 2011 03:06 (six years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

Hope they go light on the La Cucaracha album, the only dud in their catalog IMO...

people keep putting down La Cucaracha, but the two tracks I have heard from it (Woman And Man and the divine Your Party) are both amazing.

Particularly Your Party, which is plainly the best song ever recorded by anyone.

The New Dirty Vicar, Friday, 30 September 2011 11:19 (six years ago) Permalink

are there really standouts from that album? maybe i'll give it another shot.

billstevejim, Saturday, 1 October 2011 00:44 (six years ago) Permalink

dirty vicar otm. "woman and man" is ween's "sympathy for the devil." the sax on "your party" kills. "spirit walker" could have been on 'white pepper.' "friends" is one of their best songs. all in all have to say this album is better than 'quebec'

reggie (qualmsley), Saturday, 1 October 2011 00:56 (six years ago) Permalink

single version of Friends >>>>>>>> album version of Friends

robocop last year was a 'shop (sic), Saturday, 1 October 2011 02:08 (six years ago) Permalink

I think quebec is maybe their best, so I cant agree with that, but La C isn't as terrible as you've probably heard
I dig "Blue Balloon" quite a bit, it's a really dumb song but I like it

frogbs, Saturday, 1 October 2011 02:11 (six years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

by the way it's 2012 now and they still haven't released a follow up, now I'm getting sad (especially considering how prolific these guys used to be)

frogbs, Thursday, 5 January 2012 19:56 (six years ago) Permalink

three months pass...

solo Gene Ween coming soon...

billstevejim, Friday, 13 April 2012 17:26 (five years ago) Permalink

If I'm reading this correctly, it's produced by the same guy who did 12 Golden Country Greats...

billstevejim, Friday, 13 April 2012 17:30 (five years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

this is actually pretty good. completely dissimilar to Ween outside of maybe a few tracks on White Pepper. just kind of a lush, upbeat pop album, kinda of intentionally campy, but really catchy and fun

frogbs, Wednesday, 9 May 2012 18:44 (five years ago) Permalink

a lush, upbeat pop album, kinda of intentionally campy...

It's an album of Rod McKuen covers. So there you go.

Hideous Lump, Thursday, 10 May 2012 02:43 (five years ago) Permalink

two years pass...

classic Deaner:

me and carlos sort of collaborate-------I think enough time has passed where I can finally tell my favorite Ween story of all-time.
The businesses and the people involved have long since closed their doors and moved on for good and hopefully the people involved (and Carlos himself, if it comes to that) will have a good sense of humor about this story.

In 2003 Ween released our album “quebec” on Sanctuary Records. We worked on the album for 2 years in our beach house in Holgate,NJ, a rented house in the Pocono Mountains of PA, the garage behind Aaron’s house in Pt. Pleasant, PA, my upstairs guest room, and finally Andrew Weiss’s living room in NJ. We also worked at Water Music in Hoboken, NJ and Graphic Sound Studios in Ringoes, NJ. It was not a great period in our personal lives, Aaron was going thru a divorce and I was partying way too hard myself—it was some dark shit. The record is one of my favorites, but it is a depressing album lyrically. It was not an easy record to make either, as evidenced by the amount of places we worked, trying to find the right environment. There are demos available online that I posted where you can hear the process at work, we racked up our normal batch of like 6 dozen songs or more before whittling it down to what was finally released, 15 tunes.

I am a huge fan of Carlos Santana. He is one of my favorite guitarists of all-time. He is playing better these days than ever before in my opinion. His music is more radio friendly, for sure, but as a guitarist he has aged like a fine wine. Only Neil Young, Prince, and a small handful of others can make that claim as they become members of the AARP.

We were working in Andrew’s living room on the song “Transdermal Celebration”, our drummer Claude Coleman had just gotten into a horrific car crash and left us w/o a drummer for the recording and ensuing tour. Eventually it worked itself out where the record took so long to complete that Claude made enough of a recovery to do the world tour with us supporting “quebec.” In the meantime though, even though Claude had played on some of the demos, drumming on the album was left up to me, Josh Freese, and Sim Cain. “Transdermal Celebration” had been recorded 3 times by this point, with a drum machine, with Claude playing drums, and the final take on the album which features Josh Freese. It was the eventual single from the album. So, we’re in the middle of this session and I get a phone call from my roadie (nameless) who also worked for a backline company (nameless) that supplied amps, drums, lights, etc. to bands touring in the Northeast. My roadie told me that Carlos Santana’s equipment (including his guitars) had arrived via a trucking company that night at their depot. Carlos was recording an appearance on “Good Morning America” the next morning and his equipment was to be delivered to the set in NYC in a few hours.

What needed to be done was immediately clear to me, I had an opportunity to play the solo on “Transdermal Celebration” through Carlos Santana’s amplifier and guitar. I had one shot at it, it meant taking a hard disk recorder to a storage space where all of Carlos’ stuff was sitting in transit. I arrived at 2am. We (very carefully) unpacked his equipment and set up his stage gear and in one take I recorded the guitar solo for “Transdermal Celebration” (the one that appears on the album, playing thru Carlos Santana’s guitar, pedalboard, and amplifier. The whole thing took 10 minutes and we were terrified we were going to get caught. A lot of people would have lost their jobs. We got the fuck outta there really fast after that. So the solo on “Transdermal Celebration” was played thru all of Santana’s shit in what resembled an early morning bank heist or something……….

Of course a story like this requires visual proof, so here it is. Don’t tell anyone about these please.

-Dean Ween 6/14

an afterthought: regarding the Carlos post, i'd like to add that we handled his equipment as if it were the Mona Lisa. We photographed the way his roadie had his cables wrapped and positioned and put everything back exactly as it was found. The whole process was over as quickly as it happened. Also, the respect that I have for Carlos and the depth, spirituality and stamina of his playing is held by me in the highest regard. I am not just a fan of Carlos, I am a believer and follower of everything he has done, and yes that includes the pop singles. I felt it was important to have this be known, there is no one I hold in a higher regard. Also, I have a lifetime of experience of handling equipment, as did the other person involved, it wasn't two drunk buffoons manhandling a legend's gear, the furthest thing from it. I think it's important to clarify that. -DW

Maggie killed Quagmire (collest baby ever) (frogbs), Tuesday, 17 June 2014 14:16 (three years ago) Permalink

haha that's incredible.

piscesx, Tuesday, 17 June 2014 14:23 (three years ago) Permalink


how's life, Tuesday, 17 June 2014 19:43 (three years ago) Permalink

Amazing. I'm calling the cops

PaulTMA, Tuesday, 17 June 2014 21:02 (three years ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

new freeman album is vintage

reggie (qualmsley), Wednesday, 16 July 2014 17:52 (three years ago) Permalink

It's definitely at least rather good, possibly moreso.

PaulTMA, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 17:54 (three years ago) Permalink

yeah I guess I better order a copy

Maggie killed Quagmire (collest baby ever) (frogbs), Wednesday, 16 July 2014 17:59 (three years ago) Permalink

didnt know he had a new album out.

Mr. Snrub, Wednesday, 16 July 2014 22:10 (three years ago) Permalink

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