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Recent Ween Interview


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Here's the transcript of an interview Deaner did with the Village Idiot in Boone, NC (not available online):

Ween:Rock N' Roll's Best Kept Secret

By : Lisa Hill and Jason Talbott

With songs titles like, “Poop-ship destroyer”, “Puerto Rican Power”, and “Piss up a Rope” the guys in Ween may not seem like your ordinary artist. But, after 20 years together, the song writing team of Dean Ween (aka Mickey Melchiondo) and Gene Ween (aka Aaron Freeman), have massed a catalogue of music of which mainstream artist can only dream. Their secret is that friendship and a good time is all that really matters. While toying with commercial success, they are taking what's theirs on their own terms. Ween could be rock n' rolls best kept secret. The idiot was honored to speak with the man behind the music, Dean Ween.

Lisa: How did Ween get together?

Dean: Ween started in 1984. We met in Jr.High in New Hope,PA. It wasnt common to meet other 8th graders that were obsessed with music the way we were. We were into different music that wasn't on the radio, like Dead Kennedy's and Devo, so we made the connection through that and we were doing home recording on our own and the whole basis of our friendship started with music.

Lisa: Are you trying to stay out of the mainstream on purpose?

Dean: We've never made any decisions based on getting ahead or trying to advance the band into the mainstream or commercial level. We've just done what we want and if anything ever magically happened to Ween, then it would. I think one of the strengths of Ween is our honesty. I think it shapes what we do and that's why people like us.

Lisa: Things seem to be going your way with the Honda commercial and playing large festivals like Bonnaroo...

Dean: We've seen every part of it on a small level. We've been on MTV a million times; we've played Letterman, and played in front of hundreds of thousands of people through festivals. It has been there for the taking for us many times and we've shunned it away out of laziness. I think that if Ween toured for the next two years non-stop, we would be playing gigantic venues by the end of it. But, we like to keep it fun the whole time and enjoyable. If you're not enjoying it, it's not worth it. After 20 years, we know our limits; how much touring we can do before it starts to become counter productive. We're in a pretty comfortable place right now. We make records and tour on our own terms

Jason: Is Ween a democracy or an iron-fist, duke it out situation?

Dean: Either of those answers sort of applies to different levels of the organization. It doesnt do justice to just how lazy we can be. It's basically a friendship. If something's not comfortable to us, we just don't do it. It's very much a democracy in the way that it's the product of the two of us learning to play and write together and record ourselves.

Jason: When you write a song in the studio, do you think about how you're going to pull if off live?

Dean: No; we're really not even conscious of that. Unfortunately, most of our stuff we don't play live or can't play live because we get too into using the studio as a tool and we end up doing sh!t we can't reproduce. We like to experiment so much that it can be a problem.

Jason: Do you feel that as a song-writing team you are overlooked from a critical standpoint?

Dean: Yeah, I'd be lying if I said I never had moments of bitterness, but i can honestly say I dont give a fu©k. What bothers me is to see some bullshit or critics sucking somebodys dick that sucks. Do I think Ween's the best band? Yeah, I always have. I think we can play circles around any other band there is. But what does that mean? I'm extremely happy with what we're doing.Do i need to get a medal or a blue ribbon? No, as far as getting sold short, I play music and I know when its bullshit. If a guy's a contractor and he sees a poorly built house, he knows. The only thing that matters to us is the song, “Somewhere over the Rainbow” is a good song and there arent many song-writers left. The emphasis has gone away from song-writing. To be a musician, to be talented should be a prerequisite. Listen to Earth,Wind and Fire. The songs, singing, production, and on top of that they dance while they do it. They are so talented. Then look at Hoobastank or Limp Bizkit, it's not right.

Jason: Do you write lyrics together or individually?

Dean: We do it different. People would be amazed about how much guitar Aaron plays. I wrote a lot of words he sings. Who ever's closest to the instrument picks it up, when we're together. We write a lot of songs individually and we write a lot together.

Jason: As far as the other musicians go, do the two of you come up with everyone else's parts for the songs, like the bass lines, etc. or is their input from the other musicians that are in the band now?

Dean: We pretty much come up with everything through to completion. The way almost all Ween records are written and recorded was we would rent a place somewhere and we would move a whole bunch of equipment in there, like a vacation house on the shore for The Mollusk, White Pepper was written in Maine, and this last record was done where The Mollusk was. Aaron and I will go down there usually just alone for like a month. I play drums and we can both play bass, keyboards, and guitars. Then we'll have the band come in for a certain part of the time and we'll either work on the songs that we'll do or we'll wait to cut certain tunes that need to be cut live. Not to sound like a Nazi or anything, but the two of us do everything. I played all the drums on GodWeenSatan. Pure Guava is all drum machines, I played 75% of the drums on Chocolate and Cheese and Clause played a couple of tunes. I played almost all the drums on The Mollusk. Ween live and Ween in the studio are two very different things. We're not about chops on the record. Claude, our drummer, is the best drummer that I've seen play, hands down. But, when we record it's always just been Aaron and I sitting there.

Jason: Ween fans are one of a kind. What do you think?

Dean: I try to stay as far away from our fans as I possibly can because they're generally not the kind of people I like to hang out with. No, our fans are good. It's so varied I can't make a generalization. We had a NFL player tour with us in Europe. We've been around a really long time, so there are Ween fans everywhere; old people, hippies, and music lovers.

Jason: Who would your fans be surprised that you are listening to?

Dean: So much stuff. Biggie Smalls right now, Bill Evans, Duke Ellington, Thin Lizzy.

Jason: Any artist that you'd like to sit in with you guy's?

Dean: Stevie Wonder

Jason: What is one song by another artist that you wish that you written?

Dean: “Witchitaw Lineman” by Glenn Campell

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