Concert Sutra Wallows In Wackiness With Ween

Written by terri sapp

Photographed by Leah Yetter

© Concert Sutra, All Rights Reserved

Gene Ween

click photos for photo gallery

In a 1984 junior high typing class, in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo met, called themselves Gene and Dean Ween, and started playing and recording music.  They came together like brothers from another mother, and have been doing their thing, THEIR WAY, ever since!  Even though they have been associated with such major projects as cartoons “South Park,” “Spongebob Squarepants,” “Crank Yankers;” TV show “Grounded for Life;” movie “It’s Pat;” and powerhouse band Queens of the Stone Age; released at least twenty recordings (studio, self-produced, and live); launching their own internet radio station, WeenRadio; and even forming their own label, Chocodog Records, their live show is by far their most sought after accomplishment.  In addition to the dynamic duo, Gene Ween (a.k.a. Aaron Freeman on lead vocals, guitar, etc.) and Dean Ween (a.k.a. Mickey Melchiondo on lead guitar, vocals, etc.), there are Dave Dreiwitz (on bass), Claude Coleman, Jr. (on drums), and Glenn McClelland (on keyboards) backing them up with style! 

When I think of Ween, I first think of their lyrical shenanigans!  These guys have been cracking me up for years, and the one thing I have always wanted is to experience them on a tour all their own.  Up to now, every time I was fortunate enough to catch them live, they had been part of a festival, or group tour that did not allow them to properly spread their wings for, and show what a REAL Ween headliner show was all about.  UP TO NOW…  April 10, 2006 at the Tabernacle here in Atlanta, Georgia was no doubt a full ON Ween show!  They did not even bother with an opening act!!!!  You know that when an audience is lucky enough to have the actual band they paid/came to see all to themselves all night, everyone is in for quite a time.  This was a prime example.  Fun for all ages.  Leah even spotted a little old lady! 

Let me start by saying that they played thirty-six songs…get comfortable…  Opening with a bang, “Nan” sets the tone Dean Weenfor the show that will prove to be one that will be hard to beat in 2006!  A barefoot Gener really goes off on that bitch!  “Take Me Away” continues with the whole getting away from some crazy, low down, cheating woman thing.  I am thinking there were some bitter endings behind some of these songs!  “Freedom of ’76” is a bit more on the mellow side.  I really love when the Gener sings falsettos.  He always gets a funny look on his face (see photo gallery).   He is just fabulous!  Always a favorite, “Waving My Dick in the Wind,”  which really spotlights McClelland’s keyboarding.  Glenn McClelland is serious.  “If it all goes right, I’ll be in your arms tonight, but I’m waving my dick in the wind.”  Sounds a bit like between the “sauce” and “prescriptions,” these guys will wave it in the wind “Even if You Don’t” love them back!  This is the most peculiar “love” song I think I’ve heard in a while.  The guitar solo rocks it out, though.  “Buckingham Green” visits the weird side, but the music is beautiful.  This drummer, Coleman, trips me out the way he will be rockin out the major drummage, but to look at him, he seems to be relaxing and chillin back there.  “Albino Sunburn Girl” maintains the slow, psychedelic guitar and vocals on the dark side, while “Roses Are Free” bounces around with a more “Sgt. Pepper”ish psychedelic keyboard, bass, and guitar.  “She’s Your Baby” softened the mood a bit.  Maybe they got a whiff of the air…I don’t think the smoke was coming from cigarettes.  The colors of the lights in this show were very concertsutra.com (more on that in the Summer of this year).

Then, finally, they played the song that reminds me most of my early days with Ween, “Push the lil’ Daisies.”  The crowd really responds to this one.  Surprisingly, there was a small pit down in front of the stage, but no crowd surfing, yet.  The Gener’s vocals on this quirky number as so unique and all over the place.  Ween writes the best “love songs” in my opinion.  The lyrics are so true to life, and not all that fluffy shit that just isn’t realistic.  “if you think that I’m a loser, well, you suck, cause you know I ain’t nothing but a user…of your love…can’t get enough.” To keep the crowd going, Ween played through a series of up tempo songs, like, “Light Me Up,” drum heavy “Exactly Where I Am,” hilarious new song “Leave Deaner Alone” (when the words “sucking my cock” came out of Dean’s mouth, I almost involuntarily fell to my knees), metal style “Dr. Rock,” “Puerto Rican Power,” and race track inspired bullhorn vocaled “Stroker Ace.”  Along the same vivacious lines, but a song all its own, “Reggaejunkiejew” takes the cake as far as a classic Ween-telling-someone-off song.  Somewhere out there is a Jewish fella that apparently is “a dick,” likes Reggae and drugs, and has done something to these two that warrants a “drop dead motherfucker.”  No one can ever say that Ween doesn’t say just exactly what they want, and take full advantage of their First Amendment Constitutional Rights!  Aside from the inflammatory lyrics and awesome vocal effects, which I love, the guitar, drums, bass, and keyboard jam this one out in a way that makes some of the top “jam bands” look like amateurs.  Ween seems to know how long a good jam should last, and not go on and on for days.  Their shit is tight.

“Powder Blue” is one of Ween’s more country style songs, where “Zoloft” is tranquil and calm.  “Gimme that Z-o-l-o-f-t.  Gimme a grip, make me love me…no longer pissed and you don’t bother me.”  This song always gives me a giggle.  If Gene and DeanZoloft is as pleasurable as this music, I need to talk to my doctor!  “You Were the Fool,” very slow and dramatic, mesmerized us for just a moment, then back into the land of the strange and demented.  “Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)” is just bizarre.  The vocals are distorted and sound a bit creepy.  Of all the Ween songs that might be offensive, I feel that “The HIV Song”  is the most distasteful.  The only lyrics being, “AIDS!  HIV!,” it’s hard to know, aside from the obvious, what they are really getting at…  I trust that these guys have some very good reason for making and playing “The HIV Song.”  “Frank” belongs in a David Lynch movie.  “The Mollusk,” sang by Dreiwitz, makes everyone want to sway back and forth.  Hypnotically melodious.  The Drummer is especially kicking back.  At one point, he tried throwing one of his sticks into the crowd, and he was so chillax, it didn’t even come close to clearing the stage.  “Ocean Man” is about as close as Ween comes to pop music   Maybe pop music from a handful of decades ago…  Now, during “Ocean Man,” is the time when a girl begins crowd surfing across a sea of guys…perfect.  On the other extreme, “Pumpin’ for the Man” is a speed country song, sang and played by Dean, about pumpin gas for the man.  “In the Mood to Move” is curious, and could be the theme to a Jeff Foxworthy show.  “Gabrielle” is all out RAWK.  Bass player, Dave Dreiwitz is pure rock and roll personified.  After this song, Dean called out, “Thank you, Phoenix!”  Did he just call us Phoenix?  Maybe on purpose, as a segue into “You Fucked Up.”  This hard rockin little ditty shoots it straight, “you fucked up, you bitch.  You really fucked up…you fucking nazi whore!”  Now that’s free speech at its finest.  “Sketches of Winkle”…hardcore.  “Fat Lenny” has a wonderful beat.  The Gener’s vocals on “Fat Lenny” remind me of that kid on Fat Albert that you can’t really understand.  The entire Tabernacle was rocking out.  I felt for sure that this was the end of the show.  We had been given so much!

After the crowd chanting feverously, “Ween!  Ween!  Ween!…” the guys decided to give some more!  The unexpected encore began with “Licking the Palm for Guava,” right into “Mushroom Festival in Hell.”  Another using the bullhorn contraption.  Definitely could fit in the bad flashback category!    At last, “Piss Up a Rope!”  The Deaner takes the mic, and makes my heart melt.  With things like, “She’s got time for the dog and none for her man…for the last 6 months I been packin’ your bag.  You can wash my balls with a warm, wet rag till my balls feel smooth and soft like silk.  I’m sick of your mouth and your 2 percent milk…so hit he fuckin’ road and piss up a rope…(and especially) on your knees you big booty bitch start suckin’.”  This guy is KILLIN me…this is the part where I reveal the second thing I always think about when I think of Ween, and that is the Deaner’s ass!!!  Man oh man!  When he gets going on that guitar, especially with his mouth, watch out!  My favorite is the whole bending over to play the guitar (as pictured)…what a bootylicious view!  Come to Butthead!  I almost wet myself when he leans way back (playing guitar, of course, in real life) and gives a great “Oh!” face.  WOW!  I had to do my best to pay attention to the music in these moments, his gorgeousness is so distracting!  He really knows how to work those strings, too…Dean can play Concert Sutra whenever, wherever!  We love him.  Sorry to all of my female wooing readers for the Dean Ween lust fest, but I have way too much passion for the topic not to express it.  (just so we’re clear, it’s official, I am saving myself for Dean Ween!)  Anywho, “Piss Up a Rope” is in general a country song with pizzazz and terrific harmonies.

To end the night, the vocal stylings of “Touch My Tooter.”  As most of their music, “Tooter” has its own sound and flow.  The things that they can do with their voices (effects or not) forever amaze me.  Of course, Ween would never leave an audience on such a seemingly normal note…so, along comes the “Poop Ship Destroyer.”  I can’t even Weendescribe the effects on the vocals.  The voices sound like what you might imagine the demons in one’s head might sound like.  What a night!  By the end of it, I felt like the symbol of the little face with the big smile that they had projected above the stage.

To capture the beauty that is Ween, Ms. Leah Yetter, Photographer debuted her newest addition to the family, Sugar (a.k.a. “Shugah”), the Canon 30D, which seems to be “all the rage” on the streets these days.  Praise Bob that Leah and Sugar were able to make it to Atlanta for Ween!  I’d like to publicly welcome Sugar to the Concert Sutra family, and wish her many MANY clicks, much speed, a great memory, and myriad hours of battery time for the future.  Big ups to the 2.5 inch LCD monitor, the beefed up shutter, the spotmeter, the new file management system, and the RGB histogram!  Sugar and Leah’s first set of bomb ass Concert Sutra photos can be viewed at: http://www.leahyetter.com/ween0406/.  Be sure not to miss them!

To experience for yourself the pleasure that is Ween (coming from a true hedonist), you will have to catch one (or more) of the following shows: Sunday, May 28, 2006 at Jam on the River at Penn’s Landing in Philadelphia, PA; Friday, July 14, 2006 at the All Good Music Festival in Masontown, WV; Saturday, July 29, 2006 at Red Rocks in Denver, Colorado, but only if you already have tickets, because it has already sold out; and August 4, 2006 at Lollapalooza in Chicago’s Grant Park.  I’d be willing to bet that there will be more shows announced between now and August, so to keep a look out for Ween to show up in a city near you, visit: http://www.ween.com/ for your most up to date information.  You can also now order Ween records directly though their site, as well, so make sure to pick up a few records that will be like nothing else in your collection.