Friday, November 07, 2003

The eclectic joys of Ween

Ween is a couple guys pretending to be brothers but doing anything but as musicians. To the truly musically trained, these guys must be like the smartass idiot savant of the class who can ace every spelling test or math quiz, but gets F's regularly because he would rather clown around and make unappreciated fart jokes. "Talent" doesn't even begin to cover it, and then they play songs so full of juvenile prurience and glee, it would make a South Park character blush.

Folks who are Ween fans can't just review the albums, they have to give a Harry Knowles-like review where they describe the weather that day, what they ate, what their nightmares were, the position of the planets, the placement of the lint in their navel and so on. THEN they tell you about the first time they discovered Ween.

My experience was during the time I lived in Minneapolis, and I had made the long voyage on foot (I had no car at the time because a license and insurance in the Miniapple was more than my rent) to one of those great old-time music stores with the skank of a thousand incense sticks burned over time and sun-bleached posters of bands who didn't last beyond one solar-induced shift in the Pantone (R) spectrum of the same. I'd had a gyro for lunch, having only recently discovered Greek food to my utter delight, and was avoiding breathing directly on anyone should they react like a cartoon character encountering Pepe LePew with bad intentions. It was a cold, sunny day. I think it was the month of Aquarius with Venus descending. Over on the new rack was a primary red and blue line drawing of a face with a storm sewer mouth and shocked hair, entitled "God Ween Satan - The oneness". Cartoon satanism in rock has always annoyed me, so I picked it up to see how bad it really was. Well, it had songs like "You F*ucked Up", "I Got a Weasel", "Never Squeal on the Pusher" and, geez, "Papa Zit". Nothing about the devil, though. It was way cheap, about half the price of the other CDs, so I took a chance. Later, as my roommate and I were gasping with laughter only half way through, he wheezed, "Stop! Turn it off! My side hurts! I'm gonna hurf up my beer!"

I've been a big fan ever since.

I wish I could find the review I once read where the reviewer related his Ween discovery story about an entire group of partiers who had to gang up on a guy who had recently purchased "The Mollusk" and played it over and over until a spontaneous intervention erupted and someone chucked the CD out the window. This threw the guy into such a black mood, had tossed everyone out and wouldn't forgive his girlfriend until she bought him another copy. That's dedication.

And, how could you not love an album cover like this?

(This contains the hit "Voodoo Lady".)

With each subsequent album, they have gotten better, wierder, and much more diverse. They even did a country album . Their last studio release, "White Pepper", is so all over the road, if you didn't have the label to tell you differently, you would assume it was a sampler CD of different bands.

Frinstance, check out:
- "Even if You Don't" - where they sound just like the Beatles.
- "Bananas and Blow" - with steel drums and a Caribbean beat.
- "Stroker Ace" - a hard rocker with a title taken from a very bad Burt Reynolds movie.
- "Ice Castles" - which sounds like they discovered mom's Optigan in the garage, fired it up, and got this one last song out of it before the plastic sound disc shattered from age.

And they're all on this one CD.

Maybe your Ween experience is out there waiting for you. I hope it is.

In the meantime, pop open this short little spurt of a number: Papa Zit.
(I added the movie quote on the end, btw.)

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