December 30, 2008 9:23 AM   Subscribe

Maybe you remember them from their 'hit' single "Push Th' Little Daisies", or from their appearance on MTV's Beavis and Butt-head. Maybe you know them from their appearance in the film "It's Pat" or from their contributions to the "Road Trip" soundtrack or even from their appearance at Chef Aid on South Park. My hope, however, is that you don't know Ween, allowing me the opportunity to let you taste the waste.

Ween is often described as an 'Alternative Rock' band, although their music spans nearly every genre you can concieve of. Formed in 1984 in Pennsylvania, Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo (better known as Dean and Gene Ween), have released over a dozen albums, hundreds of songs, and contributed to several other bands. Their music is often ecclectic, strange, and beautiful. Their love of drugs, feces, and music (not necessarily in that order) is legendary. Their music can be and often is hilarious, but they have a serious side too.
Nearly breaking up after a 4 year hiatus, Ween returned with a vengence last year with the release of both the "Friends EP" and "La Cucaracha". This holiday season, Ween released the CD/DVD album "At The Cat's Cradle, 1992". Dean Ween has channeled his love of fishing into a new online fishing show called Skunked. Meanwhile, Aaron Freeman is working on his photography.
A little something for everyone, maybe Ween can shrug Mefi's nearly-constant mantle of 'Your favorite band sucks'. Maybe not.
posted by Bageena (73 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
"Chocolate and Cheese" is one of the best albums of the 90s, easily. Too many people have this negative opinion of Ween based on the Pod/Pure Guava era stuff and don't realize they've done so much since then. Listen to Chocolate and Cheese and 12 Golden Country Greats before forming an opinion of them.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:29 AM on December 30, 2008 [2 favorites]

My favorite band sucks.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:34 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

And I thought they were all about weird voices and huffing fumes. Thanks Bageena! If I get nothing else from this, I'll be distracted by nice pictures for a while.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:36 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

And I thought they were all about weird voices and huffing fumes.

See first post in thread.
posted by DecemberBoy at 9:43 AM on December 30, 2008

"Chocolate and Cheese" is seriously great. Something for everyone.

We had it in heavy in-store rotation at the record store I was working at when it came out, and pretty much every track brought a different person up to the counter to find out what we were playing. There were a lot of disappointed Prince fans discovering that "Freedom of '76" was actually those "Push the Little Daisies" fuckers.
posted by padraigin at 9:43 AM on December 30, 2008

I always associate Ween with their rejected Pizza Hut jingle, which is pretty...cheesy.
posted by substars at 9:47 AM on December 30, 2008

I saw Ween open for the Dead Milk Men in 1991 at the 9:30 club in D.C. They were absolutely amazing.
posted by daq at 9:48 AM on December 30, 2008

I believe "Your favorite band sucks" isn't generally a comment directly on your favorite band so much as a metafilter-localized way of saying "Yeah, so you've been listening to [your favorite band] recently. That's nice information to put on your LiveJournal, but why is it here?" These, then, are woven into the plush fabric of "Ooh, Ooh, I like [your favorite band] too!" comments, making, all in all, for a high quality posting and reading experience.
posted by Wolfdog at 9:48 AM on December 30, 2008

Ween are brilliant. Their whole schtick is "we can do every genre, and better than the genre artists can, and we don't give a fuck."

And they're usually right.
posted by stenseng at 9:49 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

I like this post for some reason, but I can't put my finger on it.
posted by jonmc at 9:50 AM on December 30, 2008 [4 favorites]

Needs more Jimmy Wilson Group.

Their drummer Claude quit the band earlier this year, making me very very sad that I will never get to hear Put The Coke On My Dick ever again. I saw his side band Amandla last year but he wouldn't play it then either, even for $20.
posted by waraw at 9:50 AM on December 30, 2008

Ween completely rules. It's part of my make up. I am into Ween, I mean I need to make eye contact with you and say "I am into Ween." My musical tastes are all over the map of course, but they've been a pretty steady soundtrack since I was 15, in 1992.
"Gonna rap you up in my towel, give you a massage, like, like THIRTEEN KINGS, BABY".
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 9:51 AM on December 30, 2008

Ween performing 'Hot For Teacher.'
posted by bunnytricks at 9:52 AM on December 30, 2008

Ween could make me like fishing.
posted by freq at 9:53 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

My girls (6 and 7 years) think "Poop Ship Destroyer" is one of the greatest songs ever. They may be right.
posted by phong3d at 9:54 AM on December 30, 2008

I saw Ween open up for Porno for Pyro's in the mid nineties and they were musically the tightest band I have ever seen live, have been a fan ever since
posted by kanemano at 9:55 AM on December 30, 2008

Plus I saw him play drums for Eagles Of Death Metal in cleveland a few years ago, and he wouldn't take my twenty then either.

Ween radio is awesome because you can request stuff, like the longer even more extended Where'd The Cheese Go or this excellent version of Papa Was A Rollin' Stone. In fact Ween does a lot of awesome covers.
posted by waraw at 9:56 AM on December 30, 2008

Always did love Ween. Bless their twisted little minds.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 10:11 AM on December 30, 2008

jonmc, it's funny, because when I was making this post I thought about you specifically as someone I'd hoped either liked Ween or hadn't heard them but would after hearing something they'd done. Not quite sure why. I think it's because I see your name pop up a lot in music threads.
I recently bought their album Live in Ontario with the Shit Creek Boys. Probably my favorite vinyl record I own thus far, it has a cover of Piano Man on it with the new, additional lyric of "Sing us a song, you're the piano man/Put some coke on my dick tonight." Of all the live albums the band has released thus far, this is absolutely my favorite. Not only does it have the LSD-inspired track "What Deaner Was Talking About", but there's also a ton of their songs from 12 Golden Country Greats, an album that actually only has 10 songs on it. They never, ever stop effing with your head.
posted by Bageena at 10:12 AM on December 30, 2008

I once played the 30 minute long version of 'Vallejo' (from the 'Paintin' The Town Brown' live double album) at Music Night (AKA The Joint Group Howl)... after it was over our host had to go to bed.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 10:13 AM on December 30, 2008

My girls (6 and 7 years) think "Poop Ship Destroyer" is one of the greatest songs ever...

Ween, TMBG and The Danielson Family will definitely be required listening for my children.
posted by elmono at 10:17 AM on December 30, 2008

I'll show you my collection of medallions and wine!
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 10:19 AM on December 30, 2008

I first heard "If you could save yourself you'd save us all" as a live version with a significant amount of audience chatter; it sounded as if they were playing open mic at some bad coffeehouse and debuted this incredible tune full of bitter confusion to a crowd who didn't realize what they were getting. Far superior to the recorded version on Quebec.
posted by waraw at 10:23 AM on December 30, 2008

Z Rock Hawaii is a collaboration between Ween and Y. Eye from the Boredoms. If you don't know who the Boredoms are, they're worth a listen, too. It's a great album... hard to find, though. You can get it on Amazon for from $49.99 to $499.99...

Get a Little Taste of You - seemingly an official video, which I never knew existed...

The Meadow - audio only.
posted by Huck500 at 10:25 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

They also have some awesome music videos.
posted by stenseng at 10:28 AM on December 30, 2008

Mod note: edited comment to not break the side in a sideways way for everyone.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:31 AM on December 30, 2008

My wife is a huge Weenie and she's attempted to convert me on numerous occasions but they just can't crack my shell. There's an inconsistency between albums I can't stomach - I end up liking one, but disliking others, and I just can't get into them as a band. The only album I listen to with any kind of regularity is The Mollusk which I admit is pretty damn great. I saw them in Montreal two years ago at the Metropolis hoping that seeing them live would be the kickstart I needed to really get into them but even that didn't work. They put on a good show, but to an outside that didn't really know their stuff I found the experience very inaccessible.
posted by pookzilla at 10:32 AM on December 30, 2008

Anyone seen the bandwagon?
posted by Sailormom at 10:34 AM on December 30, 2008

Seconding Z Rock Hawaii as a favorite. Also just saw ween on the last tour and it rocked crazy hard.

The thing to remember about them is that they're deadly serious about joking about being deadly serious. Seriously.

Also, here's the nice little interview npr did with them recently.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:52 AM on December 30, 2008

Moistboyz is a side project by Mickey/Deaner that leans on the metal side of things. Since so many of Ween's songs are silly I can't decide whether the song Man Of The Year is to be taken seriously or not.
posted by waraw at 10:56 AM on December 30, 2008

Giggling along to The Smothers Brothers in my youth, my parents always taught me that in order to be seriously good at musical parody/comedy you first have to be seriously good musicians. Ween are fabulous. I love putting "Piss Up A Rope" on the jukebox in my local pub from time to time, watch the tourists toe-tapping until they actually hear the lyrics pan out with hilarious results.
posted by Sk4n at 11:05 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

black jack

black betty





posted by gcbv at 11:12 AM on December 30, 2008

Henry Rollins on Ween.
posted by shmegegge at 11:17 AM on December 30, 2008

All hail the Boognish!
posted by Chocomog at 11:23 AM on December 30, 2008

Proud to say that the only tour bus I've ever boarded was the Weenbus in Minneapolis Y2K, and I barely made it out alive. I sing "El Camino" to my son all the time.
posted by hellboundforcheddar at 11:27 AM on December 30, 2008

I have listened to a lot of Ween, and they, along with Zappa and other tongue-in-cheek eclectic geniuses, have convinced me that sometimes you really can know too much to make truly unfettered and superlative rock music. Struggling against the limitations of genre, technology, and your own not-fully-developed talents and idiosyncrasies is what makes recorded music interesting--the great evoke powerful emotions, the terrible pander to simplistic sentiments, and the over-educated puff out ironic whimsy clouds instead of risking the indignity of mediocrity.

PS I am a Doors fan, so take this threadpooping with a grain of mescaline.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:34 AM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Push th' Little Daisies came out when I was ten or eleven. Looking back, that was a pretty important moment in the development of my musical tastes, even though I didn't listen to Ween again until I was fifteen or so, when a friend lent me Chocolate and Cheese.

Chocolate and Cheese is one of the best albums ever, by anyone.
posted by robcorr at 12:08 PM on December 30, 2008

the over-educated puff out ironic whimsy clouds

I don't think you're hearing the same Ween I'm hearing. The songs are deeper than they seem. Like, "Even If You Don't" is one of the most touching love songs I've ever heard:

I was happy this morning
You finally got yourself dressed
Eating raw bacon
It's okay, I was still impressed

posted by robcorr at 12:14 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

The songs are deeper than they seem

My personal fav:

"Everything - 'cause tried and true, I see the light in you
Oh can you dig in my soul, could you smell my whole... life?"

If you haven't heard the song (Tried and True) note the break between 'whole' and 'life', which on first listen turns it into 'Can you dig my sould, could you smell my hole?'

Yet it's a love song complete with faux-sitar .... genius!

(for the record, Quebec is my favorite album)
posted by mannequito at 12:53 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

posted by loquacious at 1:07 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

To be clear, it's the musical whimsy that leaves me cold in Ween, not the lyrics. The Angry Samoans were just kidding about poking their eyes out, but they were dead serious about the ripping animal rhythm in that song.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:10 PM on December 30, 2008

Other (more serious) beautiful songs by Ween:

It's Gonna Be (Alright)
A Tear for Eddie
She Wanted to Leave
She's Your Baby
You Were the Fool

I'm glad there's so many fans here. I was really, truly surprised to find there hadn't been a post about Ween on the blue before.
posted by Bageena at 1:32 PM on December 30, 2008

Bageena, you just found my pony. I had lost it in Portland in 2000.
posted by dirty lies at 1:56 PM on December 30, 2008

Most posts on the blue are about Ween.
posted by dirty lies at 1:56 PM on December 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

I named my wifi network "fluffyontheporch." A neighbor (whom I never met and don't know what house they live in) shows up at "weenlover" on my list.
posted by Danf at 2:31 PM on December 30, 2008

I got my copy of Chocolate and Cheese for free by going in to (the late, lamented) gaslight records on an appointed day and hour and eating a chocolate and cheese sandwich.

It sort of ruined the album for me.
posted by pompomtom at 2:39 PM on December 30, 2008

Fuzzy Monster speaks the truth. That song was too much for me (in the state I was in) and I had to take a break for the middle ten minutes or so.

For the record, my favourite Ween track is I Don't Want It.
posted by The Card Cheat at 2:42 PM on December 30, 2008

I neither like nor dislike Ween but I do have a memorable Ween story. Sometime in 1989 or 90 I think, I saw them open for a hardcore band at the Pyramid Club in the East Village. They had a little boombox playing as the backing "band". I don't remember the set all too well, but Gene Ween, who was just singing, was wearing these little opaque swim goggles and seemed to be drinking heavily the whole time.

After they were done, he (Gene) began to cycle around the crowd still wearing these goggles and I want to say a chef's hat (?). Noone paid too much attention to him, but at some point he had puked all over himself but seemed to shrug it off and continued to wander around for what seemed like a long time. I have have this distinct memory of him with this goofy smile staggering towards my little group as we all shrank back as if he were a leper.

Good times.
posted by jeremias at 4:58 PM on December 30, 2008

Remember when Ween were featured in Sassy's Cute Band Alert column?
posted by pxe2000 at 5:34 PM on December 30, 2008

I saw Ween at the Fillmore during their country stage. It was a surreal experience because a significant portion of the crowd were young country music fans (think Garth Brooks lovers in Garth Brooks attire complete with huge belt buckles, cowboy hats, cowboy boots and those hideous tucked in shirts). Who knew there were so many young country fans in San Francisco. My friends and I were in the middle of these kids line dancing and shit wondering if they'd never heard any of Ween's music before the country album. Sure enough the kids went crazy for all the country songs and just looked baffled and mortified when Ween played their other music. It was hilarious. I've always wondered what the Ween brothers thought of this dichotomy. They looked amused in an evil genius sort of way. It was by far the strangest concert I've ever attended.
posted by wherever, whatever at 7:12 PM on December 30, 2008

Best Ween show I ever saw was at a roller rink in Warrington, PA. I took my little sister, who was 11 at the time. It was her first concert. She knew all the words to 'The Pod' and 'God Ween Satan', since I had those albums endlessly on repeat in my car's tape deck when I would chauffeur her around to ballet dance class and such.
posted by medeine at 9:11 PM on December 30, 2008

Pork roll, egg, and cheese!
on a kaiser bun
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:36 PM on December 30, 2008

It's sad that Ween has been so discounted. Ween's a local band for me (or were.. New Hope, PA.. I saw them at a local roller rink in the mid-1990s), and I've always felt some protectiveness towards them. Even though enough of their music is grating and is about STDs and urinating.. and.. well, just other topics along that theme. The first song I heard by them that really made me think that this was a band with talent and not just a lewd novelty act was Don't Get 2 Close 2 My Fantasy. And, of course, I agree that Chocolate and Cheese was their first better album.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:45 PM on December 30, 2008

I have a difficult time picking a favorite Ween song. I mean, both Chocolate and Cheese and The Mollusk were, in my opinion, wonderful albums as a whole . Nan gets lodged in my head frequently, along with Dr. Rock, Big Jilm (doot doot doodoot).

While working in an art supply store, I was very fond of putting Pollo Asada on repeat, just to see how long it would take my coworkers to notice. Sometimes, I think that might be my favorite song of theirs.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 9:47 PM on December 30, 2008

@medeine : I was at that show, too!
posted by Mael Oui at 9:55 PM on December 30, 2008

All Hail the Boognish!

I've seen Ween probably 6 times now...you'll want to check out their live show.

If you just want a taste, search for "Rotten Cheese" (a 6 CD best-of-Chocolate-and-Cheese 94-95 collection) BrownTracker [requires registration], a torrent site that has predominately Ween and side projects, is a good place to start. The "Rarities and B-sides" collection is also pretty good. Shinola is the first part of a series of rarities and B-Sides, most of which you can find on that torrent.

In the case of Youtube, these are my favorites:

Demon Sweat
Now I'm Freaking Out
Pumpin' 4 the Man
Ace of Spades (motorhead cover)

You don't want to miss Techno Viking getting down to some Ween.

I could go on...I loves me some Ween.
posted by schyler523 at 10:25 PM on December 30, 2008

Oops, forgot an old favorite, and two new favorites from the La Cucaracha:
Albino Sunburned Girl

Learnin' to Love
With My Own Bare Hands
posted by schyler523 at 10:38 PM on December 30, 2008

12 Golden Country Greats is a masterpiece; I don't know the backstory, but have always assumed they drove to Nashville with a wad of cash and songs in hand, dug up the best session players they could find to record 'em, and then drank away whatever money they had left.

My girls (6 and 7 years) think "Poop Ship Destroyer" is one of the greatest songs ever. They may be right.

My kids (both 3) think "Push th' Little Daisies" is one of the greatest songs ever (as of just this week, as my wife played it for 'em) but I think "Poop Ship Destroyer" is one of the greatest songs ever.

I don't have all of their albums or anything like that -- just 12 Golden Country Greats, White Pepper and Pure Guava -- but when God Satan Ween showed up at my college radio station in the early 90s (two-record set, WTF?) I overplayed it. It wasn't until years later that I found out they weren't just some flash-in-the-pan but wonderfully inventive crank band.
posted by davejay at 11:30 PM on December 30, 2008

I'm certainly a huge Ween fan -- I've seen them on every tour since C&C tour, sometimes 2-3 times per tour, opening for the Foo Fighters, touring with Queens of the Stone Age, at the Austin City Limits Fest, over a dozen times now. But I gotta say... La Cucaracha is really one of the most disappointing albums I've ever heard. And, alas, their most popular. It really sounds like Ween trying to imitate Ween. Just my 2c.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:36 PM on December 30, 2008

I've tried to get into Ween a few times. Friends of mine who have great taste in music have told me I'm a loser for not "getting it."

I dunno. I'm a loser. I just don't hear many good songs there. Terribly rockist of me I guess.
posted by bardic at 12:12 AM on December 31, 2008

I'd just like to put a shout in for "Cold Blows the Wind."
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:22 AM on December 31, 2008

I was at that show (Live In Toronto).

As a rule, I kind of despise country music, but that band was a-mazing and it was not only one of the best shows I've ever seen musically (easily), but it was also one of the funnest shows I've seen too. If you'd told me that Ween covering "Piano Man" (interspliced with 'Chariots of Fire" as I recall) would've just about brought me to tears, I... would not have believed you.

But yeah, that show was like a deathbed memory. I wish I could get ahold of the CD. Thanks for the post.
posted by stinkycheese at 8:24 AM on December 31, 2008

I'm sorry I'm so late to this thread. Ween is far and away my favorite band; I've seen them twenty or so times in eight different states, I've got tons of bootlegs, I got to interview Dean for an article once. But my favorite Ween story was the first time I saw them live, sometime around 1996. They were opening for the Foo Fighters in Cain's Ballroom in Tulsa, OK. Me and three of my friends decided to drive from our dorm at the University of Missouri to see the show. (That's about eight hours away). Being slightly drunk college freshmen, it never occurred to us that a Foo Fighters show might sell out, but of course it had.

So there we were in Tulsa, desperate. We waited outside the venue for Ween's van to show up. When it did, I walked up to Gene and told him our plight. He told us to wait and then came back outside about ten minutes later and told us we were all on the guest list. He won a carload of lifelong fans with that move.

It was a great show. We left before the Foo Fighters went on, which now strikes me as slightly odd, but I guess we'd seen what we came to see.

in a more self-linky kind of way, here's an article I wrote during their last tour, written in that lazy-yet-easy-to-sell "top 10" format.
posted by Bookhouse at 8:25 AM on December 31, 2008

stinkycheese, check out this record if'n you can find it. It's got the 'Piano Man' cover and the 'Chariots of Fire' ending to, I believe, Japanese Cowboy. Also, it's fucking wonderful. Probably the most played slice of vinyl I have.
posted by Bageena at 8:40 AM on December 31, 2008

Just thinking about the suggestion that "whimsy" is somehow involved with Ween.

I think that suggesting that Ween's lyrical or musical content includes a whole lot of whimsy is akin to suggesting that Bill Hicks' comedy is whimsical. Yes, Ween includes humor in some of their work, but, by and large, the humor is not gentle or cute. The humor is, in fact, frequently ugly, even borderline reactionary. One could make the argument, for example, that a song like "Mr. Richard Smoker" is one of the most deliberately homophobic songs ever set to music because the band is, in fact, homophobic or because the band is pulling something of a Borat. You can't listen to the song (which is very catchy) without feeling at least a little uncomfortable about it (assuming you're at all sensitive to homophobia).

This is true of several of their songs. They are whimsical the way that drunk frat boys are whimsical - which is to say, not especially whimsical at all.
posted by Joey Michaels at 10:15 AM on December 31, 2008

Just thinking about the suggestion that "whimsy" is somehow involved with Ween.

I think one of the most frightening songs I've ever heard is "Spinal Meningitis Got Me Down". Definitely not whimsical.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 10:20 AM on December 31, 2008

Bageena, I'm saying I was in the audience at that show on the record. Yeah, it was a dynamite show and you're right, it was "Japanese Cowboy" with the "Chariots Of Fire" bit. The band was so tight it was positively silly.

The next time I have a lot of money, I'll have to go looking for that vinyl, wow.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:58 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Bookhouse: I was at that same show! My friends and I had driven up from Austin, TX. What I remember most about the show: There was an outdoor portion of the club, and while we were sitting there waiting for Ween to start, there was a couple of kids -- maybe 12 years old -- dry humping like crazy. I swear, they went for at least 30 minutes if not longer. I even stood by them and had my picture taken (they didn't notice). When they finally stopped, everyone outside who had been watching gave them a round of applause.
posted by Saxon Kane at 11:16 AM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

They are an awesome band live and I would also like an order of the "sopiflias". Do you make the guacamole? I like the guacamole....
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:39 AM on December 31, 2008

Poopship Destroyer is a masterpiece.
posted by swift at 12:29 PM on December 31, 2008

stinkycheese, my friend, the sheer amount of envy I feel right now wafting in your direction is palpable. Sadly, I've never, ever even been to a Ween concert, although I've been a fan since I was 15 (I'm 27 now). I just picked up that vinyl about a month ago and I love it. Much, much more than Paintin' the Town Brown, although I also like that album. A friend of mine told me a story once, not sure if it's true...
He said he went to a Ween show where they dragged an empty glass bathtub out on stage and then proceeded to sit and fish out of it for about an hour and a half, then left. He said most of the audience was pissed, although the diehard Weeniers loved it. Don't know if it's true or not, but it sounds like it could be.
posted by Bageena at 12:32 PM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Okay, that'll be ten sixty seven. Out of twenty? Ok. Ten sixty seven's your change.
posted by waraw at 12:38 PM on December 31, 2008 [1 favorite]

Earlier this month, there was a short Gene Ween Band tour (audio) that was a lot of fun.
posted by stifford at 1:26 PM on December 31, 2008

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