Time for another Ween update. While it seems like the dust has settled on Gener and Deaner calling each other out in public forums, it doesn’t seem that there is of yet any reconciliation with one another – be it personal or musical. But recent events could potentially lead one to believe that not all bridges are burnt between blood brothers, and the biggest cue is the unified connection both parties share with bass player Dave Dreiwitz. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Dave, he’s one of the more happy-go-lucky guys you’re ever apt to encounter in the music business. He’s one of those “down for anything” kind of people, and while that may branch into some sexual and/or psychotropic avenues that could be somewhat off-putting, the dude’s hard not to love. There’s been a few interviews and comments inquiring about what led to him playing with Marco Benevento, and every reply seems to lean towards “He asked me so I said yes.” And as great as it is to see Dreiwitz out on the scene, every time I see him play I realize that there’s really only one place he really should be – and that place is laying down the low end for Ween.
So just a few weeks ago, April 14th to be exact, Dreiwitz was scheduled to play a gig with Ween drummer, Claude Coleman, at Ween’s former homebase – John and Peter’s in New Hope, PA. A couple of phone calls went out to old friends, and suddenly the gig turned into a 4/5ths Ween reunion as Deaner and keyboardist Glenn McClelland joined in. They pulled a full set composed mainly of Deaner’s songs from Ween, and reports were that it was obviously a fantastic evening for everyone involved. Now cut to today, May 8th, and Gener has announced that at tonight’s gig in Connecticut, as well as the following 2 shows in Mass and Brooklyn, he will be accompanied by Dreiwitz on the bass. This means that within 3 weeks time, Dave will have played a full show’s worth of Ween tunes in 2 separate parts. While he doesn’t seem to be one to ruffle any feathers, and I personally have no clue as to what levels of communication happen backstage, one could only hope that at least some word could be brought up about the New Hope gig from a few weeks back. Because I’m sorry, I don’t care how fantastic any Aaron Freeman gig is, there’s no way it can contain a smidgen of the magic that a Ween gig had. And after a solid year of sobriety, one would also hope that Gener is beginning to contemplate the possibility of maintaining his sobriety while playing with his old band mates. It seems to me that the Boognish is singing in the distance right now – like a siren of yore calling to sailors – calling and urging the patriots of its message to reunite and reforge the magical rock strength that has been missing from the universal musical spectrum. I’ve got my nuts crossed.
If you read my blog on a regular basis, then you know I’m no stranger to expressing my own heartfelt opinions. Thus, when I was asked a couple months back about answering some questions about my own blog, I decided to drop any potential hesitations about clouding my honest answers. And I realized that most of my darkest secrets happened long enough that I don’t care about family members reading about them, nor do I worry about ever running for public office. So to sum up the interview in 5 parts:
#1 – I love to talk shit.
#2 – I accidentally smoked crack when I was 16.
#3 – Ween kicks ass.
#4 – Zach dela Rocha let us all down by not releasing new Rage Against The Machine material during the Bush administration.
#5 – I’d be nowhere without the influence of Built to Spill, Phish, and the Beastie Boys.
Read the in-depth article HERE.
Photo courtesy of my utterly bold 18 year old self.
Ok, let’s get back into this. First off, let’s celebrate Mr. Aaron Freeman on 11 months of sobriety. Probably the longest he’s gone since 8th grade, so mad props unto you fine sir. However, I have some serious bones to pick with you my good man. Going solo is totally fine. And I understand that you needed to get away from Ween and that being Gener was keeping you on the eternal binge train. But here’s what really apes my butt-star…
After releasing this dumb album of Rod McKuen covers, you tried to do a solo tour. Only you very quickly realized that in the mass swashes of low IQ locales you had scheduled shows, (The South), nobody there realized that Aaron Freeman is Gene Ween. Thus, you had to cancel those shows. Then you realized that at the shows you actually played, nobody gave 1/2 a shit about hearing some pussy cover tunes off an album they had no interest in listening to in the first place. So you gradually worked more and more Ween cuts into your gigs until by the time you got out to Portland, nearly your entire set was Ween tracks. Deep tracks. You encored with “What Deaner Was Talking About”. Those are some really fucking poignant lyrics bud – “The sun comes up and I’m all washed out. Is this what Deaner was talkin’ about? I don’t think I will ever return again my friend.” And I know that shit has to hit home hard for you, let alone what Deaner friggin’ feels about his lifelong friend turning his back on him only to sing these songs that mean so much to the both of you without him.
So if you want to go solo, then go solo. Don’t play Ween tunes, just play your irrelevant cover songs. Right now you’re making yourself look no better than Axl Rose or even the dude from Asia who tours without Asia. I mean, what do you really need – a separate dressing room? You guys usually played venues that can accomodate that shit. If you don’t want to be around your boys drinking whiskey and blowing coke, then leave the fucking room. Don’t be a whiny brat about it – suck it up and get out there on the stage with them after they’ve gotten their buzz on without you. I assure you Deaner and the crew would be a lot happier with that, than with you playing all their songs with some other random cats. Sobriety’s tough – I get it, we all do. But what’s even tougher is turning your back on your boy and your legacy and your fans. I guarantee all of them are willing to support your decision to not be fucked up anymore if you’re willing to keep one of the greatest bands of all time together.
So in one month you’ll be a full year sober. That seems like a great time to apologize, say you needed to distance yourself from it for a year, and then set some new Ween tour dates for 2013. Open up the 1st show with “Stay Forever” and I guarantee you, Deaner, and all the fans will have tears of joy pouring down their face. Stop being a bitch.
Here’s a wicked early version of “What Deaner Was Talking About”
And here’s Cooley’s latest entry into the classic Hitler clip world.
There’s a ton of unwritten but wholeheartedly valid rules about rock and roll bands out there, but I’d say the Top 5 has to include “Don’t let your wives get a say in the band.” Straight up, that’s all there is to it. The relationships band members forge with one another can, in a way, be even more involved and complicated than any marriage. There’s usually more than just 2 people in the situation, you have a whole network of employees and fans to worry about, and most likely there’s no amazing sex involved. Obviously, Yoko Ono is the go-to example of said situation, and that’s led to God-knows-how-many labeling of an over-involved woman who people start calling Yoko So-and-So, or So-and-So Ono. I mean for fuck’s sake, I love John Lennon, but the world’s most obscure performance artist had no place suddenly joining the greatest Pop act of all time. Anyway I bring this up due to my recent frustration over the Gener Ono situation.
For the past few months, the devoted followers of the Boognish like myself have been trying to comprehend exactly what led to Gene Ween breaking up Ween. Obviously he’s been having a tough time staying sober, but more info seems to be dropping about Deaner and Gener just totally not being the pals they once were. They aired a lot of their frustrations towards one another publicly a few days ago on the awesomely absurd Ween Forum – you can dig through the rants HERE. Basically they’re pissed at each other – you know, shit happens. And Deaner made the simple comment that he doesn’t really know Gene’s wife of 8 years, and that she doesn’t fully understand what the band is all about, and thus she shouldn’t be joining into the argument. But I’ll be damned if the lady didn’t post a solid 1,000 word rant on the forum – butting in about what Gener says about the band off the road and other stupid shit. It’s not only completely pointless, (because who gives a fuck what Gener’s wife has to say,) but it also make him look like a complete douche by having his unknown wife suddenly jump into the argument to defend her husband’s breaking up of the band. I’m sorry Pollyana, but you have nothing to do with Ween and your interference only makes it seem like you potentially had something to do with Ween breaking up. I’m gonna rank this as the#4stupid wife of band butt-in of all time. Here’s the rest of my Top 5 -
#1 – Yoko – duh
#2 – Phil Lesh’s Wife – It’s been well known that the woman has taken quite the controlling hand in Phil’s affairs since Jerry died, but her biggest mistake was causing Steve Kimock to quite Phil and Friends in 1999. All Kimock ever really said about the subject was that he “wasn’t gonna work on Maggie’s Farm no more.” The rumors are that she wasn’t into Steve’e backstage heroin abuse, but c’mon, the dude’s trying to fill in for Garcia. If he wants to poke a little smack before he launches into the nether-realm, then let him. Complicated topic, but still not hers to get involved in.
#3 – David St. Hubbins’ Wife – Ugh, we all hate Jeanine Pettibone and how she nearly broke up Spinal Tap. But nothing was worse than when she fucked up the sound-check for the rare oldie “Gimme Some Money.” Hell, the boys are finally busting out “GSM” and she has the nerve to come on the mic – “Hellllloooooo darling!” What a bitch.
#4 – Gener’s Wife
#5 – Warren Haynes’ Wife - If you ever listen to the JamOn station on Sirius/XM satellite radio, then you’ve probably wondered why the hell Stefani Scamardo is so fucking obsessed with the Southern axe-shredder. I mean honestly, nobody should be that obsessed with Warren Haynes, but she can’t go 15 minutes on the radio without mentioning how amazing he is. Once you realize she’s his wife, her voice become even more annoying. It’s like some asshole Mom whose son has the lead role in the 4th Grade Christmas Spectacular.
Oh well, let’s watch some decade old videos from before Ween let someone nose in on their business. Here’s a couple lovely acoustic numbers a fan posted on the forum the other day.
So if you’re not from down South or a devout scavenger of all music that NPR finds new-worthy, then you may perchance have missed out on THE jam of the summer – “Hot Cheetos and Takis.” The Maryland kids known as the Y.N. Richkids totally own the junk-food hip-hop world these days with this jam that apparently some of them are unaware the world even knows about. As they begin to near 2 Million hits on youtube though, it’s quite clear people are paying attention. The track has reminded me what an avid fan I am of non-commercial songs that big up a specific food product line – true tales of product devotion if you will. I’ve put the Richkids at #3 on my Top 6 list of All-Time Non-Solicited Corporate Food Songs – here’s the whole run-down:
#6 “Oh My Dayum” – Daym Drops
So this fella loves to record himself doing reviews of shitty fast-food. The Five-Guys Burger sent him over-the-top in ecstasy though, and those geniusGregory Brothers from Auto-Tune the News turned it into the smoothest homage to melted cheese of all time. Summer 2012 has really been a prolific year for this genre.
#5 “Rock n’ Roll McDonalds” – Wesley Willis
The schizophrenic wonder man-child of lyrical innocence, Mr. Willis created hundreds of tunes over the same beat and chord changes. And while he has left this Earthly realm, we will be forever blessed with his magical music, especially this one honoring the Satan-Clown. My go-to track of W.W. is the follow up to this one, “I’m Slimming Down” but that has no place on this list.
#4 “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell” – Das Racist
At one point in time this track probably would have topped my list, but then I became aware of just how incredibly fucking amazing Das Racist is, and this song that kicked off their careers has fallen wayside to the rest of their dope-ass tracks. Still, I’ve got a solid 14 runs of this tracked on my iPod – probably 12 more than most people were able to handle. Shit is hot though!
#3 “Hot Cheetos and Takis”
Despite listening to this song 10 times over the weekend, I still have no desire to try my first Taki, and I fear about what pain will be unleashed on my ass after devouring a bag of Hot Cheetos. But hot-damn, that dark Southern Crunk beat is off the chain! This crew has everything though – the raspy kid that sounds like MCA after a few blunts, the happy fat kid in a wife-beater, the stuffed-up kid who sounds like Q-Tip, and even the uber-hyped little guy with a high voice. This is some real deal thugged out corner-store shit. Pretty undeniable.
#2 “Eat It” – Weird Al Yankovich
How can you leave out a legend? I’ve literally been saying the first line of this song at least once a month since it came out in 1984 – “How come you’re always such a fussy young man? Don’t want no Capn’ Crunch, don’t want no Raisin Bran.”
#1 “Where’d Da Cheese Go” – Ween
Now sure this tune was originally written for Pizza Hut’s stuffed-crust ad-campaign, but it was viciously rejected by the Hut and thus deserves inclusion on this list. When placed together with Part 2 of the song, also known as “Bitch, Where Da Motherfuckin’ Cheese At,” you have a truly magical piece of art. This was an easy pick for my number one.
You know, bands get old. No matter how much they may maintain their abilities to kick ass, things will never be the same as those first experiences you had with them, so embrace those passing moments with as much self-referential joy as you can. I’ve been a Ween fan for a long fucking time. And while I wouldn’t necessarily say that inebriation is an essential part of their live experience (for both fans and band) I also wouldn’t say that sobriety fits in too well with the game plan (for both fans and band.) And with only a handful of shows in the past few years, highlighted by a disastrous Pacific Northwest performance a year or so ago, it seemed that perhaps Gener was headed to one of the 3Ds of rock stardom: Dead, Drugs, or Done. He was either gonna completely burn himself out til it straight-up killed him, just continue to become a fatter piece of faded shit, or walk away from the whole situation. Those were his only 3 options – call it the Garcia Exit Plan if you will.
I’ve been holding out a glimmer of confused hope since the unofficial announcement of Ween’s demise came a month back, but last week’s official one made it hit home a little more. To quote Gener, “I want to thank each and every one of you for all of your kind words and support. It means a lot. My decision to leave Ween, however interpreted, was absolutely not made in haste. It’s involved over a decade’s worth of internal and external struggle. Know that I am extremely proud of all that Ween created, and want to leave it that way. I need to now move on for myself, and for my family. Many new roads to travel, bridges to cross.”
So while it fucking blows that Ween is calling it quits, and it blows that poor Dener seemed to have found out by reading it in Rolling Stone, I’ve decided to take some pride in the fact that one of my musical heroes is hopefully going to maintain his actual physical existence on this Earth – I can’t really be pissed at the guy. Something’s gotta change. Seems like Eddie Van Halen could only rock the sober train if Michael Anthony wasn’t around – which again blows. And Trey can’t rock Phish sober unless he’s allowed to play a lot of sub-par shows whenever he wants. Gener can’t rock Ween unless…he’s just not rocking Ween. Oh well, I feel the looming paycheck will bring a tour somewhere down the line, but til then…upward and onward. The girlfriend and myself have had this track with The Kostars from 1996 on loop since the first announcement – poignant shit and Dener’s solo is a soul-crusher.
I’ve labeled this post as a part one, because I’m sure I will have much more lengthy commentary expansion on one of my most beloved topics of all time: FESTIQUETTE. Now for the unschooled, this term is a combination of FESTIVAL and ETIQUETTE – thus the word to properly describe the rules of human interaction at a summer music festival. (Or whatever season it may be, but as we are now approaching the start of the summer festival season, such a moniker seemed apropos.) Anyway, here’s my Top-5 essential rules of common decency when temporarily placed in a world of blissful debauchery.
Rule #1. Cocktails Must Always Be Offered
Now this doesn’t mean shelling out mad duckets for random beers for your neighbor, but rather refers to when an empty-handed anybody enters your pseudo-dwelling area (be it camp-site, RV, or hotel room.) It doesn’t matter if you have no clue who the mother fucker is and he’s got a squirrely eye for your girl in the corner – “Cocktails Must Always Be Offered” End of story. However, rules of engagement are altered when a bottle of alcohol has been snuck onto the playing field.
Rule #2. Return Borrowed Bowls Packed
Be it due to travel arrangements, tight security, or absent mindedness, someone in your crew is always gonna have grass and nothing to smoke it out of. That’s just a Murphy’s Law kind of thing. And likewise in universal certainty, there will always be a 16 year-old kid in a tye-dye in front of you who has no weed and is dreaming of the moment when someone will ask to borrow his pipe. Seriously, these two dichotomous individuals are forever destined for one another and their own mere existences are made to brighten the others’ day. Of course, much of the time, said youngster is brought into the shouldered periphery of the circle and further post-bowl action is not required. However, is the child has been neglected in the ceremony, than by all means you are required to return pipe unto him fully packed with whatever it was that you were smoking. Depending on your level of ‘holding’ prowess, I believe said pipe should actually be returned back regardless of whether the youngster was involved in the circle, but I understand that issue being up for debate.
Rule #3. The Post-Mishap Barter
At a festival, some shit of some degree will always happen to somebody else that’s kinda your fault – be it a spilled drink, an accidental vomit splatter, or your spun buddy jumping naked on the roof of your neighbors’ Honda. Whatever the situation may be though, it can and should always be resolved with a non-financial agreement. A new drink should be bought, possibly a fresh t-shirt, or give em’ enough of whatever you’ve been eating all weekend so that they won’t even remember the issue in 10 minutes. Problem always resolved.
Rule #4. Don’t Play Shitty Music at 7 in the Morning
Just don’t. C’mon, what the fuck’s wrong with you. Bonnaroo 2008 – Sunday Morning – Backstage Camping Area – Folks next to us wake up and pump “Lollipop” by The Chordettes – booooold move! Now what’s interesting about this tactic, and this will bring me to #5, the most important rule of Festiquette, but what’s notable here is that this was such an absurdly poor act of festiquette that it’s humorous undertones actually made it acceptable. Playing shitty dub-step or String Cheese Incident is a much more erroneous offense.
Rule #5. Never Call Somebody Out For Lack of Festiquette
Kinda like the Fight Club rule. Regardless of what bad festiquette someone may be displaying, the worst show of festiquette is to publicly decry said offender. The only acceptable commentary is to murmur “festiquette” softly to your sarcastic friend – I assure you the subtlety of the condemning will be a wonderful display of comedic timing. While this rule is definitely the most essential, it also relates to the notion that festiquette is a constantly evolving term, as what may have been inappropriate 3 years ago could have evolved into something completely acceptable.
Now this example branches a little into a preview of Part 2 of this discussion where we talk about rules 6 and 7 which relate to not tweaking on your neighbors, and letting the tweakers tweak. This clip taken from Ween’s set at Lollapalooza in 2011 features a fine gentlemen who is being completely and physically overwhelmed by the combination of (most-likely) LSD and the echoes of Ween’s “You Fucked Up.” What’s great about this clip though, is what exceptional festiqutette both the gentlemen and his surrounding festy-goers are displaying! Sure, this cat is rolling in the mud and completely losing his mind, but he’s doing a really good job of not fucking with anybody else. He’s relatively quiet and only grabs onto one kid’s ankle for a second. Those around him are doing a great job of letting him get into the music and occasionally dumping a little water on his head. The biggest shower of poor festiquette here actually is the filmer, who is breaking rule #9 – Don’t ruin someone’s buzz with your iPhone. Great clip though. Guy is calmly taken away by security where they probably let him shake it off in the shade, (let’s hope.) To be continued…
When I first heard that Aaron Freeman (aka Gene Ween) was going to release a solo album, I was giddy as a school-girl. Ween hasn’t released an actual album since La Cucaracha in 2007, although Deaner did drop The Caesar Demos last year. If you’re in a serious need of hearing Ween tunes you’ve never heard before, it’s definitely a must-have. The download links are still up at MediaFire – Here’s Disc One and here’s Disc Two. Anyway, when I first heard Aaron was putting out an album, I had visions of slow ballads that were a touch too soft for Ween but would still have his off-kilter beauty shining through. The pseudo-bummer is that the album is actually a collection of songs originally penned by Rod McKuen.
Now if you’re like me, too young to have been a complete music geek in the 70′s, then you also have no idea who Rod McKuen is. Turns out Gener didn’t have a clue either, til producer Ben Vaughn turned him on. Well good ole’ Rod here supposedly wrote over 1500 songs in the 50s through the 80s, for everyone from Frank Sinatra to Madonna. And yeah, he’s got a little odd twist to his writing and his voice has an ironic snarl that points to a hidden amusement in even the most serious of moments, but these aren’t Ween songs. This is Aaron Freeman paying his respects to an artist that he truly appreciates and wants to turn more folks onto. So, it is what it is for what it is, but fuck, I was hoping for it to be just a little bit more. I guess it’s a good way to get your grandmother into Ween, but other than that it’s only gonna make you want to listen to The Mollusk on repeat a few more times. Give it a shot yourself. Here’s Freeman’s take on “As I Love My Own.”
And here’s some original Rod with “Marvelous Clouds.”
And if you need Ween you haven’t heard, here’s “Ambrosia Parsley” – another classic Prince on Mushrooms groove.
50 – 41 – http://www.ishitmusic.com/?p=122
40) Ween – Caesar 1 & 2
- The New Hope boys haven’t released anything formally since 2007, so for the Ween-freaks like me out there, this collection of demos from the Quebec era provides quite the fix. First put out on Mickey Melchiondo’s (Deaner’s) facebook page, the amount of never-before-heard-or-released tracks that are friggin’ awesome here proves just how prolific these guys really are. “Eulogy for David Anderson” – fucking beautiful. “You Can Go Shit in Your Hat” – dope as all hell. “Hello Johnny” and “Wide Open” – why the hell didn’t they release these?!? Thanks Dean.
39) Neon Indian – Era Extraña
- When I first heard “Should Have Taken Acid With You” 2 years ago, I figured Neon Indian was going to evolve into a dub-step mess of synthesizer patches by 2011. But instead of taking the easy way out, Alan Palomo put his head back down, wrote some waaaaay better tunes, and found a way to make all those patches sound epically classy. Good lyrics, good beats, and a truly fun use of modern sound – I’m on board for the rest of his ride.
38) Givers – In Light
- A group of Louisiana sub-brooklynites make music that half draws from Phoenix and half from Paul Simon’s African skies vibe. But don’t think about how that first Vampire Weekend really got annoying after multiple listens – Givers go deeper in stacking of melodic layers, have a killer guitarist, and aren’t afraid to intelligently slow things down when they want to. I’m going to listen to this album a lot in 2012.
37) Thee Oh Sees – Carrion Crawler/ The Dream
- This San Francisco garage-rock attack force is like Iggy Pop with better chord changes. Loyal to the melodic vengeance of pre-punk punk-rock, this is the kind of band that your friends who don’t like punk-rock will be like “Oh, I dig this though.” While your friends who love punk rock will be like, “Maybe not as sloppy as I’m used to, but I like this shit a lot.” It’s better to just call it rock and roll.
36) Starfucker – Reptilians
- It’s hard to make an acoustic guitar sound cool in a quasi-electronica band, but the opening cut from Reptilians make it seem essential for Portland’s Starfucker. Think Beta Band turned up a few notches, focused more on potentially danceable grooves, and not afraid to have a shit-load of glitchy tweek noises cycling in the background. The album turns into more of a dance-party as it goes along, but there’s a lot of potential for this horribly named band to go deep – soon.
35) Wilco – The Whole Love
- I’m one of those people who loves Wilco but thought the last album kinda blew chunks for the first time in their career. It wasn’t bad, it just featured the most non-memorable songs in the band’s history – it was cliché Dad rock. Then I heard “Art of Almost” and let out an enormous sigh. Again, the whole cycle of songs isn’t nearly as strong as what they used to release, but there’s a solid handful of ridiculously good songs on The Whole Love. It’s definitely not the album that’s gonna win any new fans, but it definitely will keep the old ones happy.
34) Real Estate – Days
- More and more lately this album has been reminding me of Echo and The Bunnymen. It’s because Real Estate not only has that same space-folk feel, but also has the same drive to keep things from getting too boring. The beats, the melodies, and the reverb are all the things that put this album on my top 50 and keep The Fleet Foxes out of it. “It’s Real” has been cycling in my head many a morning the past few months.
33) Floating Action – Desert Etiquette
- Shit, somebody forgot to tell Seth Kaufman that stupid puns are always crappy ideas for album titles…moving on. There’s a late-50’s beach-rock swing that is the basis of Floating Action, and that Kaufman is constantly gaining more indelible control of. This is the perfect music for a backyard party in the summer – or at least for drinking a beer before 5 on a weekday during the winter. It’ll be interesting to see how long this band remains so seriously underrated.
32) Destroyer – Kaputt
- I figured Destroyer was a new side project for Dan Bejar of The New Pornographers to get his yacht-rock coke-funk passions out, but turns out he’s been releasing stuff with this act since the 90’s. Either way, all 9 tracks on the album are classics that will make you want to drink Zimas in the sun. You’ll hear one track and think there’s no way he can keep up that cool-ass groove for the whole record, but boy does he.
31) TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light
- What happened, did people just get tired of talking about how great this band is? After Rolling Stone put 2008’s Dear Science as their album of the year, it’s like people don’t want to admit that TV on the Radio are as important as they actually are. Nobody is crafting rock in such epic rhythmic syncopation these days, and Light is probably their finest work to date. And despite bassist Gerard Smith’s passing, these guys still have a lot of soul left in them to unleash on the world.