A kinder, gentler Ween

Band’s sound changes again as it enters middle age

Oakland L. Childers | Boulder Weekly






It´s hard to picture the two guys who wrote “Waving My Dick In The Wind” and “Spinal Meningitis” settling into suburban family life, but time has a way of imposing its will on everyone, even Gene and Dean Ween.


It’s been three years since Ween released their most recent album, La Cucaracha. That time has seen the members of Ween make babies, do the parent thing full-on and generally surrender to the realities of adulthood.

“It’s fucking totally exhausting,” says Aaron Freeman, aka Gene Ween, from his brand new house on a horse farm in New Jersey. “Mickey [Melchiondo], my partner, is an avid fisherman and I’ve been being Mr. Dad. Between that we haven’t been getting together too much.”

Having family obligations has also changed Ween’s touring style immensely. Where once the pair would head out for months at a time, the band now focuses on short tours throughout the year, pulling from its vast, 11-album catalog.

“Basically we’ve been doing these showcases,” Freeman says. “We’re all 40 now and none of us want to be away from our families for very long. We’ve been doing like four- and five-day stints. It’s a cool way of [touring].”

Ween will be in the midst of one of those mini tours Sunday when they play a Halloween show at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield. Freeman promises a show worthy of the holiday.

“It will be a Halloween show so we’ll probably … I don’t know what the fuck’s going to happen,” he says. “We’re working on costume concepts. It’ll be weird and crazy.”

Song-wise, Freeman says fans can expect a smattering of favorites from throughout Ween’s career, though every show is different. With such a huge body of work from which to choose songs, the band has no problem finding material for a three-hour set.

“I like to play stuff we haven’t played a million times,” Freeman says. “I like weird stuff from [1991 album] The Pod. Lately we’ve been playing songs from our first record. We have our set, standard songs, but it’s always fun when we whip something out of the blue, and the people really appreciate it.”

As far as new material goes, Freeman says there’s not much to talk about — yet. But a new record is sure to surface relatively soon.

“I’ve just got to get back in the writing mode,” Freeman says. “It’s pretty much putting yourself in a position where you’re not distracted by anything and you don’t go get a banana for your son every 10 minutes. Just getting together, sitting there and spending time writing.”

While Freeman and Melchiondo sometimes struggle to find space in their lives for writing music (they typically rent a house, away from their families, and demo songs for a couple weeks when starting a new record), coming up with material has never been an issue.

“I’m always playing guitar and I’ve got 12 different jams in my head all the time,” Freeman says.

And there’s no telling what will come out of the collective mind of Ween. The pair has never limited itself to any genre of music, writing everything from country ditties to full-blown rockers. It’s part of what makes Ween unique, but also a matter of keeping themselves interested, according to Freeman.

“I’ve never, since the beginning, seen how a band could stick to one sound,” Freeman says. “Playing a particular style of music, that kind of music, I can’t really imagine. The only rule we have is that it be a good song. It’s got to be a quality song as agreed to by Mickey and I.”

So where is Ween — a band with no particular influence, direction or classification — heading?

“I want to get into soft rock,” says Freeman, without a hint of leg-pulling. “I’ve been saying that since I was a teenager. Like Al Stewart or Christopher Cross — some really lame shit that I love but no one else does. That’s the direction I’m hoping the next Ween record will be.”

On the Bill

Ween plays
the 1stBank Center on Sunday, Oct. 31. Show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets
are $38.50 to $42.50. 11450 Broomfield Lane, Broomfield, 303-410-0700.

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