What I know about Gene and Dean Ween’s life work is “Push the Little Daisies” (Ignore the enlightened commentary on this clip) and the Spike Jonze-directed, Philly-set clip for “Freedom of ‘76”.
These are from Ween’s 2nd and 3rd CDs and they place them in that novelty, jokey ’90s alternative universe with disposable things like Harvey Danger and Dead Eye Dick. I actually watched a live version of “Freedom” and the falsetto singing was pretty good but the guitar playing was below rudimentary. Ween may have had a little more drug humor edge to them since their next album, The Pod, showcases music made after inhaling Scotchguard.
Things get more interesting with The Mollusk.
On “Ocean Man” the stoner lyrics are kinda clever and the treated vocals and island sounds make this a parody you can listen to more than once. Even better is their next record, the Beatles-pop White Pepper (clever title, boys). “Even if You Don’t” actually passes the test as a straight pop song.
Even the excessive guitar solo here works in it’s own way.
I like music with a sense of humor, but I don’t like comedy music.
Ween is the type of band that you need to appreciate on a per-song basis. Any given Ween album will veer wildly from brilliant to infantile to dull.
Huh… I suppose that means that a third of their material is 5 star. I think that’s a fair assumption. The other two-thirds would probably scare most people off.
I also enjoy the ham-fisted soloing of the lead guitarist. It’s a parody, but most of their stuff is. Is a parody what you would consider comedy musik??? Perhaps that’s the issue. Somebody not like parodies aroun’ here???
They’ve got that comedy music thing about them that can be less-than-satisfying or head-scratching for those seeking any kind of feelings out of a record, but when they hit it they hit it hard. I like The Mollusk because they seem to let themselves get carried away by the sounds more often than the giggles. I bet you wouldn’t be asking this question if you were, say, a Zappa fan. I bet I’d be able to give a really clear, confident answer if I were.
I’ve always been amazed at how ready they were for the then-modern age of MTV, the branding and all that. They’ve turned out lots of great album covers, shown the ability to act in videos, and worked with cool musicians. In terms of the local scene I remember them being good guys – very supportive, enthusiastic, and friendly. Whatever it is they’ve been doing and however it is they’ve managed to do so for so long are impressive feats in my book.
Yeah, the whole goofball rock thing is a bit wierd.
That said, I was talked into seeing the band a few years ago and I must say … very impressive. They can easily switch genres from prog-rock to straight-on country (see “12 Golden Country Greats,” featuring my fave “Piss Up A Rope”) and they never play it safe. Whatever they do play, they play well.
It was a strong three-hour show and I was sold. As Mod mentioned, you have to give props to a band that has lasted this long, put out some cool records, and has a rabid following.
I generally like the music that I’ve heard from them but not the jokey lyrics. So I guess that makes them more enjoyable to me than other joke/parody bands like Zappa or the Bare Naked Ladies
I never even considered Zappa while checking out the Ween stuff. I see the connection but Zappa and his bands were so damn skilled that the toilet and locker-room humor always seemed beside the point.
I read the “comedy in music” post here (by one of the Dead Milkmen, right?) and couldn’t work it in to my thoughts. I guess it’s hard enough to share taste in music with a large group of fans, even harder to share taste in comedy in addition to music.
Parodies are not the only kind of comedy music, but I can’t imagine wanting to hear a parody more than once, sometimes not even once.
Great, I was hoping that with all the local music types participating here that we would get some personal stories about Gene and Dean.
The ready-for-MTV comment brings up a clip I watched in preparing this post. The kind of forced quirkiness here is too much for the low key, unplugged performance. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSRPLNqApfQ
You may be referring to this old piece, by Dead Milkmen drummer Dean Clean:
That day we explored a few perspectives on humor in rock. Rodney Anonymous also contributed a piece, if memory serves. I should have them all tagged. I’ll do so later today, if I get the chance.
“Gene” and “Dean” are great guys and I do a have at least one favorite personal story that probably won’t get posted in detail here. Lets just just say it involves Dallas TX, Black Sambuca, The Fleshtones, pennies, and disco music. If we have a RTH Holiday get-together this year (and I hope we do!) I will tell you the whole thing in detail if you sit next to me…
This is the Rodney Article: https://www.rocktownhall.com/blogs/index.php/survivor-rodney-anonymous-on-humor-and-m/