Ween: The Story of the Classic, Odd duo.

Staff Writer: Hannah Johnson

Ween, a band that maybe you have never heard of. However, I assure you have probably heard of their famous song “Ocean Man”… yeah, I’m talking about those weird guys. Created all the way back in 1984 in New Hope, Pennsylvania, Friends Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo, better known by their stage names “Gene and Dean Ween” have made their fame by their outlandish lyrics as well as complete style change after almost every album. Although they never made total mainstream stardom, they have a cult following that I assure you, stays true and loyal to the duo’s classic music. “At first, I honestly had no idea who that was until you reminded me of some of their songs… they’re great man!”- Joe Smith, Senior at Georgia Tech.

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Dean and Gene Ween in one of the first photoshoots of their career.

 

 

Freeman and Melchiondo met each other back in 1984 while taking a writing class. Freeman had actually said that at first, they hadn’t liked each other since Melchiondo was more of a jock, and he was more of a “trench coat guy”, but they sat next to each other in class and bonded over music. The band’s name diverts from the combination of the words “wuss” and a part on the human male body….let’s just leave it at that. Their earliest music was home recorded and designed, as Melchiondo would say later, was meant to be obnoxious. “I never really cared for any of their younger stuff, to me it just sounded like a ruckus.”- Cameron Funk, music enthusiast.

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Older Ween on stage showing that they can still put on a great show at their age.

 

From the years of 1984 to 1994, Ween’s lineup consisted mostly of Freeman on lead vocals and occasional rhythm guitar, Melchiondo on lead guitar and backing vocals, and a digital audio tape (DAT) machine to provide the pre-recorded backing tracks. The band self-released six cassettes in the late 1980s, including Mrs. Slack (85), The Crucial Squeegie Lip (86), Axis: Bold as Boognish (87), Erica Peterson’s flaming Crib Death (87), The Live Brain wedgie/WAD (88), and Prime 5 (89). By 1988, Ween had become regulars at John and Peter’s in New Hope and City Gardens in Trenton, New Jersey. They opened for acts such as They Might Be Giants, GWAR, Butthole Surfers, and Henry Rollins. “I am obsessed with their music, my dad showed me them when I was younger and ever since, I’ve been hooked!”- Miles White- Freshman at Etowah High school

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The band putting on an absolutely outrageous show to give the audience an experience of a lifetime.

 

Unfortunately, though the band has made their name known as well as released many great albums, they had to disband. On May 29, 2012, Freeman announced to Rolling Stone magazine that he would be “retiring Gene Ween”. A few days later, Ween’s manager, Greg Frey, told fans on Facebook that Freeman had decided to retire his musical relationship with the band. Melchiondo, not being aware of this, posted on Facebook “This is news to me, that is all I can say I guess.” On July 20, Melchiondo addressed the situation with light hearted comments such as: “I can only speak for myself, but as far as I am concerned, if Aaron and I are on this planet, Ween will still be together. We’ve never broke up. The idea of breaking up is laughable. This isn’t something you can quit, this is a life sentence.”

**All photos are from Creative Commons**

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