July 1, 2008

Ween: Hobbled but not heaving, the duo surges

When you see Mickey Melchiondo Tuesday night, applaud him for standing.

Melchiondo, aka Dean Ween, broke his heel earlier this year after the band’s headlining slot at All Tomorrow’s Parties in southern England.

“We were staying at this hotel right off the festival site,” he said. “After our set was over, we went to leave and (organizers) had closed the gate behind the stage that had led right to the hotel.”

Not one to be caged, Melchiondo scaled the 13-foot-high fence, landing right on his heel on the other side. That he was wearing uncomfortable boots guaranteed a painful stay in the hospital, and Melchiondo spent the remainder of their European tour sitting down, his foot elevated in a cast.

He’s happy to report that the cast is off, he’s wearing shoes and made it through a two-hour rehearsal with mild twinges of pain here and there. “I can take nice, long showers.”

The pride of New Hope, Pa., Ween visits Coyote’s at City Block Tuesday for the North American leg of the band’s tour.
The pride of New Hope, Pa., Ween visits Coyote’s at City Block Tuesday for the North American leg of the band’s tour.

Other parts of Melchiondo’s world are broken yet beautiful. For one, Fender remade his 1962 Dakota Red Stratocaster — dents, scratches and all. He remembers where every dent came from. “I know my guitar like I know my wife’s body, maybe even better,” he said. “I used to use that thing as a tomahawk, throw it across the stage and drag it by the cable and the strings and the neck. It’s taken an incredible amount of abuse.

“The only thing that it’s missing is sweat and dirt, and there was no way they were gonna be able to (replicate) that,” he said. “Maybe hire some fat dudes to sweat all over it.”

A longtime angler, Melchiondo started posting fishing reports on Ween’s website a couple years ago. The site netted all sorts of responses from fishing fanatics, and he now has his own show, called “Brownietroop,” where he aims to catch every species of fish in the world.

“We went fishing through New Zealand and Australia on this tour, and now we have invitations that go pretty much through the end of year,” he said. “I just gotta drag my cameraman around.” 

Ween’s current North American tour is a victim of coincidental nomenclature. The Women Entertainment and Empowerment Network — you guessed it, WEEN — has launched a tour featuring rappers MC Lyte and Li’l Mama.

Even odder is the fact that Sylvia Rhone, the head of the Elektra Entertainment Group, put the tour together. Elektra was Ween’s home for years, until they started releasing records on their own Chocodog label.

“I don’t know what the hell she was thinking,” Melchiondo said. “In that context, it’s a really stupid name, I think.”  

Contact the writer at

mherron@leoweekly.com


An Evening with Ween

Tuesday, July 8

Coyote’s at City Block

133 W. Jefferson St.

www.cityblocklouisville.com

$25; 7 p.m.

All ages