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05-29-12, 03:47 PM

Aaron Freeman Closes the Book on Ween

By Darren Levin
May 29, 2012 4:10 PM ET

For most of his life he's been Gene Ween, the nimble-voiced frontman of one of rock's great genre-hoppers but Aaron Freeman is finally ready to put his alter-ego to bed. "It's time to move on," Freeman told Rolling Stone from his home in New Jersey. "I'm retiring Gene Ween."

So does that mean the end for Ween, the band that Freeman formed with high school friend Mickey Melchiondo (a.k.a. Dean Ween) in New Hope, Pennsylvania, in the mid-Eighties?

"Pretty much, yeah," says Freeman. "It's been a long time, 25 years. It was a good run."

Freeman, who released his solo debut Marvelous Clouds earlier this month, says there's no animosity towards his bandmates or Melchiondo, who he met in the eighth grade. He says the pair are still on speaking terms, even though he's been contemplating the decision for the past eight years.

"For me it's a closed book. In life sometimes, in the universe, you have to close some doors to have others open," says Freeman. "There's no, 'Goddamn that such and such!' For me, I'd like to think it's a door I can close finally."

Freeman and Melchiondo released a slew of home-recorded tapes in the Eighties before they tasted unlikely MTV success in 1992 with "Push th' Little Daisies," from their major-label debut Pure Guava. After that novelty single, Ween went on to release albums that reflected their intense love of music, from metal to MOR and all points in between. On 1996's Golden Country Greats, they brought in Nashville session players for an album of country originals, while saxophonist David Sanborn guested on "Your Party," from Ween's most recent album, 2007's La Cucaracha.

But question marks over Ween's future were raised following an onstage meltdown by Freeman at a show in Vancouver last year. The singer spent several weeks in an Arizona rehab facility battling substance abuse issues. Back at home and in good spirits, he says that his solo debut helped him get back on track. "It's a nice recovery record, definitely," he says.

Like most of Ween's oeuvre, Marvelous Clouds is another unexpected detour: a covers album of tunes by the reclusive Sixties songwriter Rod McKuen. In his heyday, McKuen was penning songs for the likes of Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash and Perry Como, but he's become somewhat of an obscure figure since he retired from the stage in the early-Eighties.

"I was struck by the simplicity and power of songs," says Freeman, who came to McKuen through Golden Country Greats producer Ben Vaughn. "Anybody that can accomplish that kind of thing is great."

Freeman recently spent an afternoon with the 79-year-old singer in his Beverly Hills home. "He's got this incredible studio downstairs in his house it hasn't been touched since 1973. He's got a room full of master tapes He's got probably thousands of songs that haven't seen the light of day."

So is another volume of McKuen covers on the cards?

"I could make five more Rod McKuen records, but that could get a little weird," jokes Freeman, who plans on releasing an album of original material next.

"It's important to know that this isn't a side project. I'm forging a new thing for myself. So that's all. There's no plans for any records or touring for Ween from my end."

05-29-12, 03:56 PM
weird! this thread title is exactly what I scream after ejaculating.

05-29-12, 05:43 PM
So crazy, I just filled a few holes in my Ween collection. Been a big fan since Chocolate & Cheese and had heard rumblings of a new record coming. Didn't really care for La Cucharacha.

05-29-12, 08:19 PM
Seems this was a surprise to Mickey. I'm guessing we get a retraction.


05-30-12, 08:53 AM
Been super bummed since I found out, Ween was one of my top 5 bands.

Buenas Tardes Amigos

06-06-12, 01:42 PM
Didn't really care for La Cucharacha.

I was disappointed by that album as well, although "Your Party" still makes me laugh.

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06-06-12, 04:07 PM
That song is my favorite off the album. David Sanborn sax solo!

11-17-15, 09:12 AM

Ween Announce Reunion, Plan 2016 Concerts (http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/ween-announce-reunion-plan-2016-concerts-20151116)

The Boognish rises again: Almost four years after Ween split up, Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo, a.k.a. Gene and Dean Ween, have announced plans to reunite for a pair of concerts. The Chocolate & Cheese duo will come together President's Day Weekend, February 12th and 13th, at Broomfield, Colorado's 1st Bank Center. "I can't wait to get on that stage and hear how happy this makes people," Freeman said in a statement.

For the concerts, Ween's longtime touring members drummer Claude Coleman, Jr., keyboardist Glenn McClelland and bassist Dave Dreiwitz will rejoin the duo. "Ween is an extension of who we are. It's not a persona that we put on to go onstage," Melchiondo said in a statement. Ween promise to perform "new stuff that nobody has ever heard live before" while adding that the reunion shows are "going to be fucking mind-blowing." Tickets for the gigs go on sale November 20th; check out Ween's official site for more information.

Ween last performed together on December 31st, 2011 in Denver. In May 2012, Freeman talked to Rolling Stone about his decision to split from Ween and Melchiondo, his recording partner for over three decades. "It's time to move on. I'm retiring Gene Ween," Freeman said. "For me it's a closed book. In life sometimes, in the universe, you have to close some doors to have others open. There's no, 'Goddamn that such and such!' For me, I'd like to think it's a door I can close finally." The following month, Ween formally announced they were calling it quits.

In the ensuing years, Freeman pursued his own solo career under his own name, not Gene Ween while Melchiondo hit the road with the Dean Ween Group. However, in September, Freeman began performing as Gene Ween again, giving fans hope that a reconciliation between the pair was in the works.

It's unclear whether Ween's reunion will be limited to the Colorado shows or if a full-scale tour is planned. Ween's last studio LP La Cucaracha was released in 2007.

11-17-15, 09:18 AM
I'll try to check them out if they do a full tour.

11-17-15, 10:17 AM
I've heard Bonnaroo and a tour are coming. All hail the mighty Boognish.

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