With a group so prolifically productive that Ween, even the most discerning fans risk missing out on some rare gems. Although the group, led by Mickey “Dean Ween” Melchiondo and Aaron “Gene Ween” Freeman– have only officially released nine albums since 1990, the band has hundreds of bootlegs, demos and live recordings floating around the internet and rocking in CD changers. Like a cosmic foil for tape swap fans Grateful death and Phishing, Ween has its own archive treasure.
Ween’s ever-expanding hardware vault received another addition on Sunday with newly discovered footage from a 1989 concert in New Jersey. Uploaded by Ween YouTube’s exhaustive documentary filmmaker The Stallion Mang, the videos capture Gene and Dean performing at Stereo and TV from Pranzatelli (which is still in business) in Bound Brook, NJ on January 2, 1989.
Pranzatelli’s show finds Ween almost two years from its first release, in the 1990s DieuWeenSatan: The Unity, and always in a primitive state. The classic setup sees Deaner shredding on a Strat (presumably barefoot) while Gene takes care of the leading duties in what can only be described as a repurposed bar mitzvah blazer. Drummer Claude Coleman Jr. is still five years away from joining the group, so the percussion is handled by a drum machine. Dean hands the guitar over to Gene for “Don’t Laugh (I Love You)”, taking on the bass duties for the song. Gene also dons an acoustic for “Big Baboons”, “Nan” and the encore “Red As Satan”.
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Everything about hand-held audience video recording screams DIY, as the mounted camera flashlight shines directly into Dean and Gene’s faces. The 11-song, 34-minute set includes a number of tracks that will appear on GodWeenSatan, including “Licking The Palm For Guava”, “Tick”, “Don’t Laugh (I Love You)”, “El Camino”, and an unfinished “Nan”. “Stacey” would appear on the 25th anniversary edition of the album, released in 2001. Ween also offers his Prince-inspired “LMLYP” (also present on Unity) and an unfinished “Welcome To The Jungle” by Guns N ‘Roses.
For a hearing recording made in 1989, the audio and video quality is surprisingly high. As for the quality of the interpretation itself, it is the abrasive edges of the group that give all its charm to this archival concert. The group embraces the lowest of lo-fi, as the distortion and false screams exude power from the star who landed a recording deal at Ween around this time. All in all, Pranzatalli’s stereo and TV show exists more as a historical document highlighting the group’s progress than as a required listening. The concert is only the eighth show archived on Brown base.
Watch Ween perform on Pranzatalli’s Stereo and TV in Bound Brook, NJ on January 2, 1989 via the player below.
Ween -Pranzatelli’s Stereo and TV – Bound Brook, NJ – 1/2/89
[Video: The Stallion Mang]
Setlist: Ween | Stereo and TV from Pranzatelli | Bound Brook, NJ | 1/2/89
Ensemble: Opus 51 Fugue Trilogy in A (Take Me to the Tree)> Lick the guava palm, Stacey, Don’t Laugh (I Love You), Tick, LMLYP, El Camino, Big Baboons *, Nan (unfinished) , Welcome to the jungle (unfinished)
Again: Red like Satan *
– Opus 51 is only parts A (Yurtle Swimming) and B (The Tree)
– Dean on bass, Gene on Dean’s guitar for Don’t Laugh
– El Camino was the last song on the DAT – the rest of the show is without a backing track
– Gene in acoustics for El Camino and Nan, acoustic solo for Big Baboons