Ween now seems like a permanent fixture on the pop-cultural landscape, but when the band first hit MTV in the early '90s, their longevity wasn't so secure. Nearly two decades on, though, Aaron "Gene Ween" Freeman and Mickey "Dean Ween" Melchiondo preside over one of the most devoted cult fan bases in American music. So how exactly did Ween manage to transcend joke-band oblivion?
One answer is that, in the years following their MTV breakthrough, Ween gradually polished their output, turning their staunchly primitive musical sketches into hi-fi paintings. Chocolate and Cheese, released in 1994, marked Freeman and Melchiondo's first crucial steps in this direction. Based on new, in-depth interviews with both members of Ween, as well as producer Andrew Weiss and associates ranging from Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) to Spike Jonze, this book explores the song-by-song creation of Chocolate and Cheese and how the album served as a bridge between Ween's original two-guys-and-a-4-track incarnation and the rich, virtuosic rock & roll force they would later become.
About the Author
Hank Shteamer is a writer and musician living in Brooklyn. He covers music for Time Out New York, The Wire and various other outlets, including his personal blog, Dark Forces Swing Blind Punches. He also plays in the band STATS.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgements Introduction: "These guys got no future"Ween beat the odds Before Chocolate and Cheese, part I: "We both loved to hear ourselves on tape": Ween's humble originsBefore Chocolate and Cheese, part II: Subsidized scribbles: Pure Guava and the underdog mystiqueAfter Chocolate and Cheese: "We can pull off our fantasies"Ween comes into their own Chocolate and Cheese, part I: The making of... Chocolate and Cheese, part II: The songsChocolate and Cheese, part III: The artworkOutro: "The hardest thing to get"Ween's autonomy