A world without Ween? We can only hope that some other band will step forward to write more songs about weasels, all the while attempting to reach across the genre aisle to unite fans of jam bands and sea chanteys. Ween is done, says principal Aaron "Gene Ween" Freeman, who, on his recently released solo effort "Marvelous Clouds," has apparently moved on to soft rock crooning.
Yet no breakup is complete with the airing of some public drama. "This is news to me," wrote Freeman's partner-in-Ween Mickey "Dean Ween" Melchiondo on Facebook.
So is Ween kaput?
Freeman was pretty direct in an interview with Rolling Stone, telling the mag that his alter ego of Gene Ween is retired. "For me it's a closed book," he said of the band, which is just a few years shy of its 30th anniversary. "In life sometimes, in the universe, you have to close some doors to have others open."
That, despite Melchiondo's online plea of ignorance, doesn't seem to leave much room for interpretation, at least for now. There's been no additional statement from either camp and no updates to Ween's official website or Facebook page.
Yet beloved cult acts rarely disappear for good these days, and events such as the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Outside Lands have given such artists a forever home. Ween (est. 1984) has continued to be a draw, even selling out the Wiltern in 2011 on a tour that had its share of on-stage catastrophies.
The band, which used a jokey, smart-aleck exterior to mask plenty of catchy, complex music and thought-provoking psychedelia, has had its share of near breakups.
"I liken it to more of a marriage between two people than a band," Freeman told The Times last year. "And with that comes its ups and downs and its times of intimacy and distance and miscommunication. But as long as we're still walking on the earth, Ween will still be there."
And if not today, we should reiterate that a 30th anniversary is but a couple of years away.
-- Todd Martens
Photo: Aaron "Gene Ween" Freeman. Credit: Shore Fire Media