By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
By Chaz Kangas
By Allison Babka
By Bob McMahon
By Allison Babka
By Tef Poe
By Mabel Suen
Of course, allowing bootlegs and playing Bonaroo have brought a new type of fan to Ween shows -- the dreaded (or dredded) hippie. "Yeah, we sure are [attracting hippies], huh?" Melchiondo says. "It's cool. If they dig it, they dig it. We openly kind of mock that scene. I don't really give a shit, though."
To be fair, though, part of the appeal of a Ween show is the monumental jams: The band has been known to stretch its epic Prince tribute "L.M.L.Y.P. (Let Me Lick Your Pussy)" out to twenty or 30 minutes.
"We definitely jam," Melchiondo admits. "We come from a jam mentality. We don't have rehearsals. We jam for five hours -- probably not unlike fucking Phish or moe. or anybody like that. Except with us, that's not where it's at: With Ween, we write songs. We don't just jam on our two-minute, three-minute songs. We have a few songs that are a little more groove-oriented that we stretch out onstage. But we don't abuse that right. I think some of these bands will jam on fucking anything for three hours. You've got to have peaks and valleys and dynamics for it to be good. You can't just play for hours and hours and hours. I guess there's a crowd for that, and they want to drop acid and do the hippie dance. And that's cool, and they know where to get it, which is not at a Ween show."
Indeed, it would be a gross injustice to label Ween a jam band. The group's setlists bounce from the pro-rock weirdness of "Buckingham Green" to absolute barnburners such as the appropriately named "Dr. Rock." Live, as in the studio, Ween defies pigeonholing.
"We definitely stretch out, and we can hold our own," Melchiondo says. "We're a good band for those kids to latch on to, because they can actually hear some good songwriting for a change -- and hear a singer who's really good, and see me smash my guitar, which is what I'd rather do than see some dude wank on his."
Now securing distribution for their eighth studio album, quebec, which Melchiondo describes as "psychedelic, a bong record," Ween isn't planning on quitting anytime soon. "I don't see why Ween would quit," say Melchiondo. "We've never had a really gross careerist work ethic. We'll go a couple of years without a record. We defiantly pace ourselves. We're just going at our own pace. We always said we were going to make twenty or 30 records. We've been in Ween for twenty years next year, and we're both 32 years old. We have room -- another ten years before we're embarrassing ourselves onstage."
So, the only thing left seems to be a rock opera, right?
"I'd be into doing something really gross, like Rick Wakeman's Journey to the Center of the Earth," Melchiondo says. "We got an e-mail a year or so ago from some dude who wanted to adapt The Molluskto an ice show. It required too much energy on our part, but I'm sure Ween will get into some really stupid shit like that someday."