Skip to main content

Cygnals: Ween: All about the high sh*t

From the pages of Cygnals Zine, Issue #9, Spring 1997



---

"It's all about the high sh*t." The first words out of Gene Ween's mouth upon answering the telephone.

I can only assume he was talking to sidekick Dean Ween (Mickey Melchiondo), sharing a downtown Detroit hotel room after spending the night on the tour bus. Gene, known as Aaron Freeman to the police and anyone who needs his real name, is groggy, but fresh from a good healthy shit.

Based on previous interviews with Gener I'd read in other zines, I figured I might be in for a tough time. But little did I know that Gene Ween would be a more challenging interview than any politician or scientist I've ever talked to.

I introduce myself. "Did you just talk to this guy?" asks Gene to Dean. "Yeah, you were in the toilet," he answers. Woo-woo. Gene/Aaron puts down the phone, grabs a cigarette and comes back for the interview.

Warner was kind enough to send me a copy of Ween's current release, 12 Golden Country Greats, an enjoyable mix of Ween wackiness with country hurtin'. A country record from drug-punk-funk-alterna-whatever boys Ween? What must the record company have thought? "They didn't really know until it was finished, until we handed it in." Once finished, they were good about promoting it, I'm told, but I still haven't seen a video from it.



Ween's drug use is legendary, but Gene says that's over. "Not after the big bust in '92, there's no big drug lifestyle anymore. I can't talk about it. Pretty ugly." Yeah. Right.

I made the mistake of bringing up one of my other favorite bands, They Might Be Giants. I'd read Ween doesn't like them. "No, not really. Can't say as I do. A little too smart college boy for me. I was never into smart college boy music."

Aside from an anticipated tour with Marilyn Manson (is he kidding?) And last year's tour with Foo Fighters, Gene poo-poos opening for anyone. "It's something that we've never really done, and it's something that we're not going to start doing. I think we're a little different than that, our whole trip. Forty minutes in front of Beck isn't really where it's at. There's nobody out there that I like enough to do that with. Ninety-nine per cent of opening bands stink. Cuz of these stupid fucking club people who try to find a They Might Be Giants type band. So not only aren't they like They Might Be Giants, they're worse than They Might Be Giants. Which is hard to imagine."

Stupidly, I mention I saw TMBG opening for Hootie (ack!) And the Blowfish at Skydome a week earlier. "That sounds like a nightmare. Goddamn. Why am I even talking to you?" I lose his attention even more. "I got athlete's foot, I think...uhh, yeah?"

Pushing my luck after talking to Ween about Frente, I ask if he's heard of Cub. "Cup?" Cub. "I think 99% of that cute girl shit sucks. Alternative girl-rock. Very popular right now and they all sound the same."

After nearly twenty minutes of trying to pull more than "yeah" or "it's cool" answers from Gene, I wrap up the interview.

---

Follow up 2008:

- The October 23, 1996 show that I interviewed Ween for was later released as Ween's first live album, and a must-have for Ween fans. The release of "Ween: Live in Toronto" marked the launch of Chocodog Records.

Comments

  1. hey buggy,
    I can't remember if I gave you an update on the last ween concert here...it was at the uh...sound academy? The old docks venue. 2/3 of our party found the place a claustrophobic firetrap, full of overly-excited drunk people and, in a word, scary. I thought it was pretty fun, but you know me.
    could it be the carefree and heady days of innocent grooving to "push th' little daisies" are behind us? could be...

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Gordon turns four and has questions

Gordon wanted to know where mommy went.

Not what happened to her body, but where SHE went.

We celebrated his fourth birthday this weekend with three gatherings. One at our house with his little friends. One at nana and grampa's house. One in Stratford with the Simpson clan.


The big party for the kids was a success. I'd never planned such an event. Thank goodness for the Internet, where I found a Martha Stewart article that laid out the basics. And thank goodness for Party City, which had a ton of Transformers party stuff ready to buy. I wasn't feeling well, but managed to pull it off. Thanks to sister Shannon and SIL Amy for being the Designated Adults who helped in wrangling and last-minute logistics. G thought the whole event was kind of loud, but he really enjoyed it. And I feel like a winner for making it happen -- some of the other parents even chimed in that they now know what goes into a kid's party, since they were as clueless as me! Great!

Great time at nana&#…

Hard to believe it's been a year - but it has

One year ago today, we lost Amanda.

Time plays tricks on all of us. We can think "that was so long ago" at the same time as "it feels like yesterday." I run into this all the time with Amanda's death.

Yes, it feels like just yesterday, or last night, or later today, that Amanda collapsed in the kitchen and died after that long, brutal battle with ovarian cancer. But every day has ticked by at a pace like any other, and it's been a whole year of those days, with incremental and sometimes revolutionary change.

As I move about our home, it's hard to fathom that she's been gone a whole year.

Many of the decorative items she carefully arranged throughout the house are in the exact same place as the last time she touched them. She had the vision, not me, so I've been reluctant to disturb her decisions on what looks good and works.

In other places, I'm reminded that it's been at least a year since something's been in place. Like the fully-s…

She went in to have our baby and came out with a cancer diagnosis

It's been two weeks since my wife and I welcomed our son Gordon into the world. It's also been two weeks since we found out Amanda has cancer.

We went into the IWK on Tuesday, April 2nd for a Cesarean section prompted by an ultrasound earlier in the pregnancy that showed the placenta dangerously close to the cervix. Too close and she could bleed to death during delivery. An ultrasound closer to the due date showed the placenta in a slightly safer place, but now blood vessels were blocking the way out. An emergency C-section was in order.

So we went in, three weeks early. The delivery went smoothly. Our baby Gordon was frank breech, pulled out buttocks-first. I went over and cut the cord. I brought our first child back to Amanda to let her see. It was better than I'd expected!

Then the surgeon started talking about finding bumps. Instead of stitching her up, the team was finding trouble inside her.

They had to page the oncologist. I went into shock, sweating and heaving on t…