In less than 3 weeks, I’ll be on a plane leaving Seattle in route to Denver. It’s been over 4 years since WEEN played their last concert, and nobody is anticipating the reunion of the New Hope, PA outfit more than the founding members, Aaron “Gene Ween” Freeman and Mickey “Dean Ween” Melchiondo. In the early days, the two performed as a duo with a DAT machine supplying the backing beats, but by 1992, they were already growing tired of the limitations with that setup. Eventually, they expanded, transitioning into their current lineup as a 5-piece, featuring drummer, Claude Coleman; Dave Dreiwitz on bass; and former Blood Sweat And Tears keyboardist, Glenn McClelland. And with this evolution came an increase in their fan base, as well as their notoriety as one of the greatest live acts in music. The first of their reunion shows will be a 3-night run held at the 1st Banks Center in Broomfield, CO; the final night added later, after the overwhelming demand became apparent. All 3 shows sold out instantly.
For the last 3 weeks — until just recently — I was, somewhat religiously, following a Ustream channel created and run by Melchiondo. The guitarist would pop up on there sporadically, sometimes offering a little insight into his process, or a bit of Ween trivia, while playing old shows, or hipping us to a little taste of a rarity. Maybe we’d even just watch a science show hosted by Jurassic Park star, Sam Neill. The stream quickly picked up steam and content began streaming more and more frequently, often in a loop. A mini community accumulated overnight, discussions in the chat bar going on even without Melchiondo‘s presence, or anything streaming, at all; sometimes into the wee hours of the night. Then, like clockwork, right when people were ready to retire, a little “Yo” would pop up from Deaner, followed by a “Here we go,” or “check this out.” At the end of it’s run, the stream had a little over 500 official followers, but would generally max out at around only 34, or so, viewers at any one time. Out of those, maybe about half were actively communicating through the chat. When David Bowie passed away, nothing but old interviews and performances by the Thin White Duke played, followed by his 1976 film, The Man Who Fell To Earth on repeat. The day before was sprinkled with everyone’s live commentary of the NFL playoff games — the collective viewpoint is that Joe Buck is a trash commentator.
A few days ago, the channel disappeared and was replaced with a 404 error page, leaving idiots like myself, who were already spending what was, by all accounts, way too much fucking time on there anyway, confused about what to do next. [Pay attention to our families?!!!] We got hooked on that crack fast. The general assumption is that the end of the channel was the result of issues that Melchiondo was having with the UStream service, itself, but, to be fair, that’s mostly speculation. It’s difficult not to appreciate how accessible the musician has always made himself. An avid and experienced fisherman, and certified fishing guide, he started Mickey’s Guide Service, for those interested in hiring him to take them out for some sportfishing. Every Wednesday when he’s not on tour, Deaner makes his way to the local New Hope establishment, John & Peters — a venue synonymous with the early days of WEEN — to jam at the weekly invitational. And regardless of the knowledge that both of these situations are pretty much an open door for the inevitable and innumerable tactless WEEN fanatics to cross boundaries, doing shit like getting drunk demanding to get on stage to play WEEN cuts with and/or for him, Deaner continues to operate like the normal guy he is — a guy who loves playing music, fishing, P-Funk, and Ozzy.
One of the last things that Capt. Mickey shared with us on his now defunct stream was a really great interview that the band did on an Australian radio show back in 1995. You’ll hear the host make reference to The Pod toward the beginning, because it wasn’t officially released in Australia until that year, but this appearance was recorded during the Chocolate And Cheese tour. Joining Claude and the Brothers Ween on the program was Andrew Weiss (Rollins Band, Pigface), who produced the album, along with just about every other release in their catalog, and was handling bass duties on that tour. Chocolate And Cheese is known for being the first album where the boys utilized a “real” studio, and the era marks a fundamental turning point in the evolution of the group, making this interview both an informative and hilarious look back into the past. Plus, there’s a really great rendition of “Pumpin 4 The Man” from Pure Guava. Fortunately, for those who haven’t had a chance to hear it, as well as for those of us who would love to hear it again, Mickey turned around and posted the audio on his official Youtube account. And that’s another thing, you should be following him on Youtube; it’s full of great stuff, including live footage and WEEN song tutorials directly from the man himself.
Now that that’s covered, check out the radio interview below. It gets uncomfortable. You should love it.