I saw Ween three times in one week. Here’s what happened.

#ween and their happy colored marbles #lockn

A photo posted by julie miller (@clamcostume) on

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way.

Two kids from New Hope shouldn’t have been able to get as famous as they did by performing original tunes about regional breakfast meat sandwiches and “The Refrigerator That Wouldn’t Close” (an actual early song title). It doesn’t make sense that anyone would have paid attention to two high school kids playing guitar and singing over a pre-recorded drum and bass track from a DAT tape. It’s nothing short of miraculous that at age 22, they would release a major label debut with song titles like “Flies On My Dick” and “Poop Ship Destroyer”, let alone that it would produce a charting single.

They shouldn’t have risen to festival-headlining status. They shouldn’t have been able to cultivate a ravenous, age-spanning fan base with a culture and mythology all their own. It defies logic that 28 years after these two best friends started their band, that they would suddenly split up, leaving their fans confused, outraged, and devastated.

Ween’s very existence is mysterious. Their rise and fall is as unlikely as their genre-bending catalogue of music is vast. Quite possibly the only thing that makes sense about Ween is their triumphant reunion, currently 13 shows deep. Their music, however, is still just as impossible to pin down as it ever was. They play festivals with jam-band-heavy lineups, but who would call Ween a jam band? They don’t exactly “jam”, although in their prime, versions of their funk odyssey “Let Me Lick Your Pussy” were known to cross the half-hour mark. They’re musical character actors, not just channeling the vibe of an 80’s hair-metal anthem or a drunken sea shanty, but fully committing and embodying the spirits of these songs. They can be 12 different bands across the span of a record, which is precisely why I jumped at the opportunity to see them play three times in a single week.

Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Drake at Wells Fargo Center, Emily Yacina at PhilaMOCA, Ween at Festival Pier

Drake | via

Back in July, Toronto rapper Drake set off on his Summer Sixteen tour in support of his fourth album Views, released in late April of this year, and tonight he heads to the Wells Fargo Center tonight for one of two Philadelphia performances on the four month long tour (the next will be his penultimate stop before two final nights in Newark). Grab tickets and more info on this show by heading over to the XPN Concert Calendar. Watch the music video for Views’ track “Hotline Bling” below. Continue reading →


Welcoming Back the Boognish: A Megafan’s Guide to Ween

Ween | photo by Dana Distortion | courtesy of the artist

Beloved New Hope outfit Ween make a long-awaited return to a Philadelphia stage this Sunday, August 21st at Festival Pier. Producing nine studio LPs over a 30+ year career, digging into the band’s catalog can be a bit daunting. Thankfully The Key’s Brian Wilensky, a self-professed Ween superfan, has done the hard work for you, picking out the best and brownest from Gene, Dean, and co for your listening and educational pleasure.

Chocolate and Cheese
The Pod
Individual songs

QUEBEC (2003)

Just as the metal cracks the mirror Deaner’s yelling about the bender he roped you into on “It’s Gonna Be a Long Night.” Next it’s a soothing Zoloft and you’ll be feeling fine in no time. But really you’re just dumbing down the trauma from that night with the Ween guitarist, when suddenly you’ve stumbled into the wrong end of town and you’re paranoid, thinking to yourself, “So many people in the neighborhood/ Not sure if they’re really good people.” Well, things have gone awry for you, you’ve overstayed your welcome, and now you just want to get back home on, “Captain.” That’s how Quebec by Ween goes, and only you could save yourself.

Continue reading →


Just Announced: Ween to bring reunion tour to Festival Pier this August

Ween | photo by Dana Distortion | courtesy of High Road Touring
Ween | photo by Dana Distortion | courtesy of the artist

Buenas Tardes indeed: Legendary New Hope funk-folk duo Ween reunited back in November, and their subsequent tour has added a stop in Philly this summer – August 21st at Festival Pier.

Gene, Dean, and the rest of the band will be bringing the jams from almost two decades of sporadic yet prolific work: Chocolate and Cheese, 12 Golden Country Greats, Pure Guava, and GodWeenSatan: The Oneness are only the beginning. Ween are the kings of weird and they are back to reclaim their throne, Boognish and all. Continue reading →


Listen to a recording of Ween’s 33 song reunion show from Colorado

Amazing first night!! #Ween

A photo posted by Jenny Lee (@jennyleeban) on

While the much loved-by-Philly music fans Bruce Springsteen rocked the Wells Fargo Center Friday night, another much loved-by-Philly fans group – Ween – played the first of a three night stand in Colorado. For the New Hope, PA. group, it was their first show in four years, and was held at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colorado. Continue reading →


Now Hear This: Ween is reuniting, playing shows in Colorado

Ween onstage in 2013 | photo via

Fans of New Hope avant-pop favorites Ween have been holed up in bummertown for a few years now. Though the band has historically phased in and out of activity, co-frontman Gene Ween (nee Aaron Freeman) announced back in a 2012 Rolling Stone interview that the band was over, a blow their many devout fans still feel. Freeman toured behind a well-received solo album, and longtime collaborator Mickey Melchiondo toured as The Dean Ween Group (which was essentially 4/5 of the longtime Ween live band) but it wasn’t the same. Until today, that is, when it was announced that Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo Jr. will be resuming their partnership and perform once again as Ween. Continue reading →


Stream Freeman’s introspective self-titled debut via Spin

Photo courtesy of artist.
Photo courtesy of artist.

Founder of surreal pop-rock band Ween and formerly known as Gene Ween, Aaron Freeman is releasing his latest LP this summer; a sorta-self-titled record from his newest project, Freeman. It’s his first release since 2012’s Marvelous Clouds, a tribute to Rod McKuen, and this album is his first since disbanding Ween and getting sober. Freeman explains why he broke up Ween by saying “If I hadn’t left my partnership, there wouldn’t be anything,” he explains. “I’d probably be dead too. I know that at the end of the day, this is the best thing I could’ve done for me and for every Ween fan.”

The lyrics are more personal, like on “Covert Discretion” where Freeman talks about his experience as a part of Ween. In a recent interview with Newsweek, Freeman stated that one of his influences for the album was Paul McCartney. The warm pop on Freeman does have a McCartney vibe to it, especially on “The English and the Western Stallion”. However, Freeman also channels some classic Ween sounds,  which is prominent on “(For A While) I Couldn’t Play My Guitar Like a Man“. Then there are the more experimental pieces like “El Shaddai” and “Golden Monkey”. Overall, Freeman has created a continuation of Ween.

Freeman will be leading a song-writing session through the Rock Academy, where he currently teaches in August before embarking on a tour in support of Freeman. Catch Aaron Freeman at Johnny Brenda’s October 3rd. Get more details here. Stream Freeman via Spin and listen to “The English and Western Stallion” below.


Read Dean Ween’s hilarious story about stealing Carlos Santana’s gear for a night

photo via

Okay, so this is something you simply couldn’t make up if you tried. You know the guitar solo from the Ween song “Transdermal Celebration”? That one single from the quebec album? That was recorded with Carlos Santana’s gear without him knowing.  

According to a in a (grammatically questionable) post on Facebook this week, Dean Ween told his “favorite Ween story of all time”: how his roadie at the time also just happened to work for a backline company (those are essentially companies that will supply or help transport a band’s gear to their concerts for them) and tipped him off that Ween’s shipping company would have Carlos Santana’s gear in transit at his backline company’s storage facility.  As a result, Ween decided to break in to the facility at 2 in the morning and record the solo to “Transdermal Celebration.” — the very take that appears on the album — through Carlos Santana’s PRS and Mesa Boogie amp.

“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 think 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 relly fast after that. So the solo on “Transdermal Celebration” was played thru all of Sanatana’s shit in what resembled an early morning bank heist or something”

Check out the whole story, which is backed up with photographic evidence on Dean Ween Group’s Facebook page here.


Watch Brian and Vanessa from The Lawsuits cover Ween’s “She’s Your Baby” (playing Kung Fu Necktie on 12/6)

Screen shot 2013-12-02 at 3.34.07 PMFor the latest installment of Root Down in the Shadow‘s Covers Club series, it’s like Bucks County of the present takes on Bucks County of the past. Brian Dale Allen Strouse and Vanessa Winters of The Lawsuits delicately harmonize on “She’s Your Baby,” a gentle folk-tinged tune from Ween’s 2000 album White Pepper – which Strouse tells Root Down’s Dan McGurk was the album that served as a gateway to the weird and eclectic world of the Deaner and Gener. Watch the video below, and compare it against Ween’s original. The Lawsuits open for their Bucks County brethren Levee Drivers Friday December 6th at Kung Fu Necktie; get tickets and more information on the show at the XPN Concert Calendar.

Continue reading →


Listen to Gener’s Gone: The Final Demo Recordings of Gene Ween (2009-2011)

Aaron Freeman
Aaron Freeman

In early 2012, a flurry of news articles surfaced about the fate of 90s alt-rock duo Ween.  The New Hope, PA born project of childhood friends Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) and Mickey Melchiondo (Dean Ween) was apparently calling it quits, as Freeman seemed ready to hang up the Gener moniker and move on.  A 2012 solo record from Freeman called Marvelous Clouds supported this announcement, and now a six-track requiem EP on Bandcamp solidifies the transition even more.  The note accompanying Gener’s Gone: The Final Demo Recordings of Gene Ween (2009-2011) states:

These demos represent the final writings and music of Gene Ween, before he departed and the inner FREEMAN emerged. On that note, we have received a two word personal statement from Aaron: “stay tuned.”

Listen to the EP below.  Fans of Ween might also be interested in Melchiondo’s latest project Moistboyz, coming to John & Peter’s in New Hope on December 4th and to the North Star Bar on December 6th.