2007 La Cucaracha
2007 The Friends EP
2005 Shinola, Vol. 1
2004 Live in Chicago
2003 Quebec
2003 All Request Live
2002 Live at Stubb's, 7/2000
2001 Live in Toronto Canada
2001 GodWeenSatan: The Oneness [Anniversary Edition]
2000 White Pepper
1997 The Mollusk
1996 12 Golden Country Greats
1994 Chocolate and Cheese
1992 Pure Guava
1991 The Pod
1990 GodWeenSatan: The Oneness



2007 La Cucaracha

01 Fiesta
02 Blue Balloon
03 Friends
04 Object
05 Learnin' to Love
06 My Own Bare Hands
07 The Fruit Man
08 Spirit Walker
09 Shamemaker
10 Sweetheart in the Summer
11 Lullaby
12 Woman and Man
13 Your Party


2007 The Friends EP

01 Friends
02 I Got to Put the Hammer Down
03 King Billy
04 Light Me Up
05 Slow Down Boy


2005 Shinola, Vol. 1

01 Tastes Good on th' Bun 3:26
02 Boys Club 3:06
03 I Fell in Love Today 4:09
04 Big Fat Fuck 2:55
05 Gabrielle 3:29
06 Did You See Me? 5:11
07 How High Can You Fly 2:39
08 Transitions 3:45
09 Israel 3:40
10 The Rift 5:41
11 Monique the Freak 5:48
12 Someday 3:45


2004 Live in Chicago

01 Take Me Away 3:02
02 The Grobe 3:17
03 Transdermal Celebration 3:33
04 Even if You Don't 4:20
05 Voodoo Lady 7:30
06 H.I.V. Song 1:54
07 Baby Bitch 3:26
08 Roses Are Free 6:03
09 Mutilated Lips 4:37
10 Chocolate Town 3:23
11 I'll Be Your Jonny on th' Spot 4:29
12 Buckingham Green 3:57
13 Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down) 3:08
14 Pork Roll Egg and Cheese 2:30
15 The Argus 4:57
16 Zoloft 7:05
17 Ocean Man 2:15


2003 Quebec

01 It's Gonna Be a Long Night 2:50
02 Zoloft 3:51
03 Transdermal Celebration 3:26
04 Among His Tribe 3:39
05 So Many People in the Neighborhood 3:30
06 Tried and True 4:02
07 Happy Colored Marbles 3:14
08 Hey There Fancypants 2:00
09 Captain 3:59
10 Chocolate Town 3:17
11 I Don't Want It 3:25
12 F**ked Jam 2:59
13 Alcan Road 5:08
14 The Argus 4:53
15 If You Could Save Yourself (You'd Save Us All) 4:47


2003 All Request Live

01 Happy Colored Marbles 5:12
02 Stallion, Pt. 1 2:56
03 Stallion, Pt. 2 4:24
04 Stallion, Pt. 3 3:25
05 Stallion, Pt. 4 3:19
06 Stallion, Pt. 5 3:36
07 Demon Sweat 4:10
08 Cover It with Gas and Set It on Fire 2:05
09 Awesome Sound 5:03
10 Cold Blows the Wind 4:39
11 Pollo Asado 3:14
12 Reggaejunkiejew 5:53
13 Tried and True 4:34
14 Mononucleosis 3:19
15 Stay Forever 3:35
16 Where'd the Cheese Go? 8:17


2002 Live at Stubb's, 7/2000

01 Buckingham Green 5:09
02 Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down) 3:40
03 Stallion, Pt. 3 3:50
04 Bananas and Blow 4:31
05 Waving My Dick in the Wind 2:45
06 Mister Richard Smoker 3:03
07 Fat Lenny 5:28
08 Even If You Don't 3:46
09 Voodoo Lady 10:19
10 H.I.V. Song 2:08
11 Marble Tulip Juicy Tree 6:52
12 Back to Basom 5:08
13 Captain Fantasy 3:07
14 Sketches of Winkle 2:39
15 Mister, Would You Please Help My Pony? 3:25
16 Ocean Man 2:42
17 Exectly Where I'm At 4:08
18 Booze Me Up and Get Me High 4:24
19 Stroker Ace 2:35
20 A Tear for Eddie 8:29
21 Big Jilm 5:10
22 Little Birdy 3:36
23 Squelch the Weasel 2:35
24 Sorry Charlie 4:10
25 Wayne's Pet Youngin' 1:35
26 Hot for Teacher 5:44
27 Ice Castles 2:45
28 She Wanted to Leave 2:53
29 Put the Coke on My Dick 3:48
30 Homo Rainbow 3:41
31 L.M.L.Y.P. [Plus Bonus Mpeg Video] 36:39


2001 Live in Toronto Canada

01 Pretty Girl 2:55
02 What Deaner Was Talkin' About 2:13
03 Japanese Cowboy 4:26
04 Pumpin' 4 the Man 2:17
05 Mister Richard Smoker 3:15
06 Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down) 3:34
07 Help Me Scrape the Mucus Off My Brain 2:56
08 Waving My Dick in the Wind 3:06
09 Push th' Little Daisies 2:48
10 Buenas Tardes Amigo 10:37
11 Poop Ship Destroyer 5:58
12 I'm Holding You 6:55
13 Doctor Rock 5:15
14 H.I.V. Song 3:14
15 Piano Man 2:05
16 Fluffy 14:20


2000 White Pepper

01 Exactly Where I'm At 4:31
02 Flutes of Chi 3:30
03 Even If You Don't 3:25
04 Bananas and Blow 3:34
05 Stroker Ace 2:08
06 Ice Castles 2:05
07 Back to Basom 3:46
08 The Grobe 3:32
09 Pandy Fackler 3:57
10 Stay Forever 3:32
11 Falling Out 2:28
12 She's Your Baby 3:00


1997 The Mollusk

01 I'm Dancing in the Show Tonight 1:55
02 The Mollusk 2:36
03 Polka Dot Tail 3:19
04 I'll Be Your Jonny on the Spot 2:00
05 Mutilated Lips 3:48
06 The Blarney Stone 3:14
07 It's Gonna Be (Alright) 3:18
08 The Golden Eel 4:03
09 Cold Blows the Wind 4:27
10 Pink Eye (On My Leg) 3:12
11 Waving My Dick in the Wind 2:11
12 Buckingham Green 3:18
13 Ocean Man 2:07
14 She Wanted to Leave (Reprise) 4:25


1996 12 Golden Country Greats

01 I'm Holding You 4:02
02 Japanese Cowboy 3:01
03 Piss up a Rope 3:33
04 I Don't Wanna Leave You on the Farm 2:44
05 Pretty Girl 2:35
06 Powder Blue 3:14
07 Mister Richard Smoker 2:42
08 Help Me Scrape the Mucus off My Brain 2:45
09 You Were the Fool 4:26
10 Fluffy 3:31


1994 Chocolate and Cheese

01 Take Me Away 3:05
02 Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down) 2:53
03 Freedom of '76 2:52
04 I Can't Put My Finger on It 2:46
05 A Tear for Eddie 4:46
06 Roses Are Free 4:29
07 Baby Bitch 3:01
08 Mister Would You Please Help My Pony? 2:51
09 Drifter in the Dark 2:29
10 Voodoo Lady 3:45
11 Joppa Road 3:01
12 Candi 4:01
13 Buenas Tardes Amigo 7:12
14 H.I.V. Song 1:59
15 What Deaner Was Talkin' About 3:12
16 Don't Shit Where You Eat 2:16


1992 Pure Guava

01 Little Birdy 3:30
02 Tender Situation 3:40
03 Stallion, Pt. 3 3:30
04 Big Jilm 2:10
05 Push Th' Little Daisies 2:48
06 The Goin' Gets Tough from the Getgo 2:08
07 Reggaejunkiejew 4:51
08 I Play It off Legit 3:20
09 Pumpin' 4 the Man 1:30
10 Sarah 2:09
11 Springtheme 3:00
12 Flies on My Dick 3:26
13 I Saw Gener Cryin' in His Sleep 1:48
14 Touch My Tooter 2:23
15 Mourning Glory 5:14
16 Loving U Thru It All 2:28
17 Hey Fat Boy (Asshole) 1:53
18 Don't Get 2 Close (2 My Fantasy) 3:23
19 Poop Ship Destroyer 2:16


1991 The Pod

01 Strapon That Jammy Pac 3:03
02 Doctor Rock 3:10
03 Frank 3:45
04 Sorry Charlie 3:49
05 Stallion, Pt. 1 2:51
06 Pollo Asado 2:44
07 Right to the Ways and the Rules of the World 5:04
08 Captain Fantasy 3:18
09 Demon Sweat 4:11
10 Molly 4:47
11 Can U Taste the Waste? 1:36
12 Don't Sweat It 4:01
13 Awesome Sound 2:21
14 Laura 4:35
15 Boing 1:33
16 Mononucleosis 3:00
17 Oh My Dear (Falling in Love) 1:56
18 Sketches of Winkle 2:43
19 Alone 3:12
20 Moving Away 3:05
21 She Fucks Me 3:57
22 Pork Roll Egg and Cheese 3:00
23 Stallion, Pt. 2 4:36


2001 GodWeenSatan: The Oneness [Anniversary Edition]

01 You Fucked Up 1:37
02 Tick 1:52
03 I'm in the Mood to Move 1:16
04 I Gots a Weasel 1:22
05 Fat Lenny 1:56
06 Cold and Wet 1:23
07 Bumblebee 1:18
08 Bumblebee Part 2 1:23
09 Don't Laugh (I Love You) 2:49
10 Never Squeal 2:26
11 Up on the Hill 1:56
12 Wayne's Pet Youngin' 1:40
13 Nicole 9:20
14 Common Bitch 1:46
15 Camino 2:17
16 Old Queen Cole 1:32
17 Stacey 1:58
18 Nan 2:55
19 Licking the Palm for Guava 1:00
20 Mushroom Festival in Hell 2:41
21 L.M.L.Y.P. 8:48
22 Papa Zit 2:11
23 Hippy Smell 0:19
24 Old Man Thunder 3:30
25 Birthday Boy 4:37
26 Blackjack 3:11
27 Squelch the Weasel 5:17
28 Marble Tulip Juicy Tree 2:39
29 Puffy Cloud 2:16


1990 GodWeenSatan: The Oneness

01 You Fucked Up 1:37
02 Tick 1:53
03 I'm in the Mood to Move 1:16
04 I Gots a Weasel 1:22
05 Fat Lenny 2:07
06 Cold and Wet 1:12
07 Bumblebee 1:19
08 Don't Laugh (I Love You) 2:49
09 Never Squeal 2:25
10 Up on the Hill 1:56
11 Wayne's Pet Youngin' 1:41
12 Nicole 9:20
13 Common Bitch 1:46
14 Camino 2:17
15 Old Queen Cole 1:34
16 Nan 2:55
17 Licking the Palm for Guava 1:07
18 Mushroom Festival In Hell 2:35
19 L.M.L.Y.P. 8:48
20 Papa Zit 1:15
21 Old Man Thunder 0:23
22 Birthday Boy 3:31
23 Blackjack 4:36
24 Squelch the Weasel 3:11
25 Marble Tulip Juicy Tree 5:24
26 Puffy Cloud 2:40



Sometimes I catch myself thinking the same silly thought - "why aren't these guys as big as the Beatles?" Then I catch myself giving myself the same silly answer: "Well, you know, after all, when the Beatles came out to greet the world, they greeted it with 'Well she was just seventeen - you know what I mean'. But when Ween came out to greet it, all these stupid nitwits could offer it was 'You fucked up! You bitch - you really fucked up!'" What other reasons would you need, then?"

It goes without saying that you need to be a little more forgiving and a wee bit more insightful in order to let Ween into your personal world. I mean, it's okay. Ween aren't any more dangerous than the Beatles. Heck, they're less dangerous. That Beatles quote, come to think of it, fairly certainly propagates the pleasures of intimate relationships with underage partners, you know what I mean. Ween, now, they don't do that. They're really nice clean lads, and something tells me neither Mickey Melchiondo nor Aaron Freeman childhood was anywhere near as rowdy as that of some of the Fab Four's. And if you thought that was enough Beatle comparison for one intro, let me tell you I'm just getting started.

Anyway, let's get it proper since this is, after all, the greatest band of the last decade and yet no one outside the US is even aware of their existence. Ween are a couple of musical brothers - and I don't mean "brothers" either in the direct genetic sense or in the Afro-American one. "Spiritual brothers" is more like it. Here they are: Aaron Freeman, a.k.a. Gene Ween, and Mickey Melchiondo, a.k.a. Dean Ween, or just Gener and Deaner for short. The thing that's for certain is that Gener is the main singer and thus the "frontman" for the duo, whereas Deaner is the lead guitar player and the one who doesn't talk nearly as much. The thing that's a bit less for certain is that Gener is the gimmick provider of the band - you know, the lyricist, the stuntman, the extravert - whereas Deaner is its musical backbone - the guitarist, the melodist, the introvert. Maybe it's not quite like that, but it's combinations like these that usually yield the best results, and Ween don't accept anything less than best.

Although the two of them actually teamed up as early as the mid-Eighties, having shared the same class in junior high in New Hope, Pennsylvania, and engaged in quite a few homemade recordings at the time, their first "major" album did not really come out until precisely 1990, and if you ask me, it ain't just a coincidence. Ween are - did I hear someone scoff? - the embodiment of the Nineties. Now before you start waving this off with a "what does he know about the Nineties, he didn't even have his site up before 1998" snigger, let us consider this important question: is there any one band that you could claim to have embodied the Nineties? The way the, er, B*****s embodied the Sixties and, uh, maybe Led Zeppelin embodied the Seventies? And, say, U2 did with the Eighties?

Aha - a tough one. Well, here's my two cents on the matter. By the time the Nineties rolled on, the world had run out of... nah, not melodies, worse than that - emotions. It did not start with the Nineties, of course. Much earlier. But by the Nineties, the emotional crisis was obvious. The tender love song, the aggressive punk clamour, the deep philosophic stutter of the singer-songwriter, the passionate soul baring of the gospel singer, all of these things had become too dangerous. You had to really work your ass off to try and find new ways of expressing all this, and even when you did, you could still be laughed off by the cynics. And we all know how the cynics ruled the day in the Nineties - and still do.

All of which essentially gives you two choices. One is to fuck the cynics and just trudge along with the same old trusty emotions disguised as innovative artistic statements. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, but if you lose, you bite the dust real hard, and even if you win, there's no chances at all that you won't bite it the next day. The other one is not even try to fool anybody and just suck up to the good old cliches - because, after all, one thing good old cliches can still do for you is make you rich and famous, especially if you're subtle enough to be friends with MTV and the major labels.

But there's also a third choice, and that choice is - dispense with emotions altogether. Or, rather, with the usual kind of emotions. Make music that would treat "emotion" as an object of study rather than a direct goal. Music that can be angry, or tender, or funny, or sad, or optimistic, or melancholic, but where every song would be structured as a conscious exploration of that emotional state rather than a direct channeling of that state through your personal experiences. Music that relies - very, very heavily - on the artistic experience of the previous three (or more) decades but not because the music of the past inspires that new music; rather because it is used as "brick material" for that new music.

All of this, in a nutshell, is called "post-modernism", and when it comes to "po-mo" in rock music, Ween are its ultimate and consummate priests. Way, way too often, they are casually dismissed as a "parody band", "novelty rock", "clownish act", etc. The boys themselves always take offense when they're lumped in together with Weird "Al" Yankovic, of course, but to hell with the boys (never trust any artist when he starts speaking of his own work, anyway): I would take offense at that, and for the moment, that's even more serious. Ween are frequently - heck, almost always - funny, that much is true. But first and foremost, let us not forget that a regular "parody band"'s main occupation should always be to parody their contemporaries, and first and furthermost, famous contemporaries. Were Ween a parody band, we would expect them to rip the entrails out of everybody from Kurt Cobain to the Backstreet Boys to Ricky Martin. For all their incredible diversity, though, this never happened. Instead, Gener and Deaner were quite happy with "parodying" just about everything that was lying a bit out of sight, including such 'long-abandoned' genres as 60s psychedelia and 70s art-rock. These days, what would you call a "parodist" who were writing lengthy spoofs on, say, The Iliad instead of, say, John Irving?

Second, for being a pure 'parody' or 'novelty' act, Ween really have overworked themselves. Not only does their music cover just about any pop/rock genre in existence (and if there are a few they have left out, you can tell it's only a matter of time), it is also tremendously professional. In particular, Deaner, over the last decade, has grown to become one of its greatest, if not the greatest, guitar players. He does not have any individual style - he's way above that; his only trademark would be his insane love for special effects and gimmicks (and if there are a few guitar tones left he has left out, you can tell it's only a matter of time). But he's got this knack for combining serious professionalism and sturdy technique with real rock'n'roll excitement. You can tell he's not a true "virtuoso" along the lines of mastodonts like Page (whom he worships) or Satriani (whom he mildly despises), but for every gap in the finger-flashing department he compensates you with chords selected and felt so masterfully that me, no matter how good any select Ween song is, I can hardly wait until the solo comes by. "Novelty"? Not according to what my ear tells me.

It is true that there is no particularly high (or low), let's call it, "ethico-musical" purpose in Ween's work. No matter what they do, it's hard for the listener to believe that Ween actually believe in what they're singing and playing about, from which the listener often draws the expected conclusion: "It's all a joke, oh ha ha ha, very funny, assholes!" It does not help matters much that throughout all of their early career they have accompanied themselves with this silly teenage mythology about the Supreme Being called Boognish and themselves being his select prophets. I mean, yeah, the Boognish is nice for a laugh and all (and I openly admit to having had that laugh as well), but he's much more suitable for high school age when they were still making homerecorded tapes bearing names like Axis: Bold As Boognish and displaying the well-known teenage stubbornness about being obsessed with a meaningless joke to the point where the joke becomes not just meaningless but also unfunny. It's no surprise that the Boognish eventually became sort of a stone around their neck - and that ever since they entered their "grown-up" phase with Chocolate & Cheese, the Boognish no longer appeared on their records, although the concept is still well-embraced by the fanbase.

But not having an "ethical" purpose does not immediately make the music a "joke". Ween are not clowns; they are ardent, fearless, and hard-working explorers, with a great sense of humour to boot. In fact, I almost feel sort of a common bond between their work and mine own. I, too, am fascinated by music's effect on the listener, and trying to offer my two cents on why the particular genres and styles - or, at least, their best representatives - have this kind of magical effect over our (well, my) senses. But I'm doing this by using longwinded phrases and only maybe succeeding once per a couple dozen reviews, if ever. Ween, on the other hand, do that in music's own terms, by taking artistic legacy, deconstructing it, examining the bare parts and reassembling them in such a way as seems to best reflect the essence of the music. Thus, if it's loud guitar rock, they make it very loud guitar rock, overdriving the instruments to the point of absurdity. If it's misogynistic cock-rock (or misogynistic country-rock, for that matter), they make sure the lyrics double and triple the "commonly accepted" norms of obscenity - just to "see what happens", not because they're filthy-mouthed brainless fucks. If it's Latin stuff, they gotta go with a really grotesque Spanish accent; if it's be-bop, the bass gotta overshadow everything else because it is more important than everything else; and if it's pop, the main hook gotta stick in your head the very first time you hear it, because otherwise, what kind of a pop hook is it?

Now all of this looks nice on paper, but none of this would have produced awesome results if it weren't for one more plain simple fact: Gene and Dean Ween are musical geniuses. It does take a bit of gall to proclaim that, and even more gall to hold on to that opinion when you're past thirty (and I soon will be), but currently I'm not about to complain about my gall stocks. With all this never ending, wild, reckless experimentation and genre-jumping going on it would be amazing if even a third part of it would succeed; reality, however, suggests that about 90% of everything Ween ever did can, and will, be enjoyable simply because the brothers really know how to nail a great melody, in fact, displaying a better grip on the essence of the pop hook than just about anybody in the business since the days of Paul McCartney and Ray Davies. In short, Ween are simply blessed with the gift of songwriting, and in another age, they could have supported an entire army of aspiring young artists with cover material. But they're crazy and they put words like "guava" and "weasel" and "turd" in their lyrics, so nah.

And finally, you know their experimentation succeeds when, to your biggest surprise, you discover that yes - the brothers are capable of grabbing that emotional state, disassembling it into little bits, artificially rebuilding it from scratch and putting it back so it actually starts working again. If somebody told me, for instance, that I could get a warm, pleasant, fuzzy feeling, loading me with some much-needed optimism and sunshine, from a song called 'Pork Roll Egg And Cheese'... well you know. But it does! A song like 'Mushroom Festival In Hell', technically, is little more than a spoof on the "hard rock meets psychedelia" subgenre (Hawkwind and the like), but on a basic emotional state it works just as fine as Hawkwind itself (new dimensions of the mind and all kinds of hippie talk like that). An excursion into the sonic depths of prog rock such as 'Buckingham Green' will have you run for cover, trembling in awe, provided you play it real loud - and it's only your mind that will tell you "hey, wait a minute, they're not supposed to believe in this stuff, why are you allowing yourself to be duped that way?", but definitely not your senses. The senses will be fooled, especially if the mind has not yet been overloaded with too much factual knowledge about the Boognish and his tricks.

And then there are all kinds of cool minor details about Ween. How they got signed on a major label (Elektra) and made their first release even goofier and less 'accessible' than the previous two. How, when you thought you already knew all about them, they suddenly turned the cards back on the entire musical underground and, of all places, went to Nashville to fool around traditional country musicians. How they have this continuity strewn over all their albums, with the Boognish and his attributes like "guava" and "weasel" giving way to the concept of "brotherly love" between Gener and Deaner, and how many of the songs have these little links between them to ensure cohesiveness amidst all the diversity. How they show this fantastic knowledge of pop music and pop culture in general and how one's appreciation of whatever they're doing only keeps growing in direct proportion to the number of 'golden oldies' you have become aware of. How their live shows (and yes, they do have a regular band with a rhythm section assembled for the live shows) are so different from studio recordings and how they're not afraid to prolong them with lengthy, twenty-to-thirty minute guitar jams without being afraid of accusations of wankery and self-indulgence.

Most important, maybe, how they constantly find new ways of reinventing themselves and displaying musical growth. As time goes by, their records become more and more "serious-sounding", without, however, losing any musical integrity or the knack for great hooks. Today, it is even possible to make a Ween "best-of" compilation that no neophyte could dismiss as "puerile", drawing heavily from albums such as The Mollusk and White Pepper (I am so far missing their latest album, Quebec, which seems to be in a similar mould). Of course, we sure know better than to trust this "seriousness", but that's what makes the listening process even more exciting - trying to guess whether they're still playing that old deconstruction game or have finally moved on to the 'writing from the heart' level.

And one last word. I normally wouldn't give out this kind of high-class rating to a pack of "deconstructivists" (well, I have been a bit harsh on Zappa and Beefheart, after all, two of Ween's most obvious spiritual gurus, if the word 'guru' is even applicable here). But in Ween's case, expert deconstructivism comes hand in hand with melodic genius, and so far, I have not encountered any other band that would be able to conduct such a happy marriage between the two. Or, to paraphrase that, I have not encountered any other band whose music was so obviously fake in terms of resonance and yet was still able to come out more resonant than most of the surrounding competition. Naturally, this uniqueness deserves a unique reward.

Not that I have any false hopes about this lengthy introduction changing the mind of anybody who's already made up his mind about Ween in a negative way. It goes without saying that my way of looking at it is, well, just one of the possible ways. If you refuse to accept Ween as a pair of musical giants just because they have written songs about pussy licking and pissy dribbling, or because they have not blazed any serious new trails in modern music (which they haven't, but then I'm still not convinced that anyone has), it's your dice, and you may brand them as "novelty-rock" once and for all. Let's just remember that the greatest "novelty-rock" album of all time was actually released a long, long time ago, and was called Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts' Club Band. So maybe "novelty-rock" isn't quite as bad as it sounds, either.