Monday, February 25, 2008

Ween Rocks

Ween, live in concertA few weeks back Vera Valmore and I went to see Ween. First real rock concert I’d been to in a good while. Am thinking the last one had to have been Todd Rundgren (about 4-5 yrs. back), although that was a fairly laid back show. (Hell, he had the ukulele out for “Bang on the Drums.”)

Have long been a Ween fan, though never had had a chance to see ’em live. They were supporting their latest, La Cucaracha -- not the greatest Ween album, but fun nonetheless. The band rocked out for three solid hours. Went with some others who had seen Ween several times, and they declared it the best show they’d seen.

Ween is hard to describe, really. They are a pop/rock act, technically, though each of their albums tend to run through several different styles, with tracks often sounding like a parody of a given genre or group. Thus any given album tends to come off as some weird-ass mix tape compiling, say, the Beatles, the Doors, Curtis Mayfield, Hank Williams, Motörhead, Marty Robbins, Jimi Hendrix, Pink Floyd, Steely Dan, Queen, Prince, Jimmy Buffett, Led Zeppelin, 10cc, David Bowie, and/or someone Dr. Demento might regularly play.

But it works. In the end the albums always tend to hang together, forming surprisingly coherent “narratives” (of sorts). And in Zappa-like fashion, they’ll invariably try at least once per disc to sabotage the whole kaboodle with some sort of unsavory scatalogical reference that’ll make the disc all but impossible to recommend to yr more uptight colleagues.

Shane 'Shaniac' SchlegerHappen to be killing some time railing the Sunday Million on Stars yesterday and was reminded that erstwhile-blogger and poker pro Shane “Shaniac” Schleger was a Ween fan, too. How do I know? ’Cos he’s got the Ween logo -- a.k.a., the “Boognish” -- as his avatar (see pic).

Can’t remember when I’d heard Schleger was a Ween fan, but when I did I was instantly predisposed toward liking the guy. Yr average Ween fan -- according to my take, anyhow -- probably has some smarts about him or her, isn’t satisfied with predictability, and definitely possesses a sense of humor (be it dark and/or juvenile). Good qualities, all.

Of course, as I say, that’s just my take. Others might categorize all Ween fans as unrepentant crazies.

Yes, learning a person’s musical tastes does tend to give some idea of his or her personality. I remember long ago getting to the end of Phil Hellmuth’s Play Poker Like the Pros where, on the last page, he says how if we happen to see any WSOP videos from 1988-2000, we’ll see him with “headphones on, probably listening to Pearl Jam, Hootie and the Blowfish, Alanis Morissette, Snoop Doggy Dogg, the Rolling Stones, or some group of the 1980s.”

I think Hellmuth might’ve been trying to sound cool there with his sign-off. Let’s just say it didn’t quite land with this reader . . . .

Still, I always enjoy hearing about folks’ fave groups/music. Ever since I started the blog, I’ve been listing what I’m “currently spinning” down there on the lower right-hand column. Recently I added that widget from the Poker Players Social Network where you can actually tune into a few tracks from the week’s selection. And if you click on the “Hard-Boiled Poker Record Shop” you can see all of the records I’ve ever listed down there. (Closing in on one hundred titles.)

Now, theoretically, once you get to the Record Shop you might click through that page to Amazon and buy something, which would throw a couple of pennies my way. But I know almost nobody actually buys music that way these days, so it ain’t like I’ve got a true money-making scheme in the works here.

No, the Record Shop is mainly just for fun. (Am planning before too long to try to set up something similar with the “HBP Bookstore” as well.) Dunno what all those records I’ve listed might say about me, exactly. Probably depends on yr tastes whether or not they add up to anything meaningful.

Take a peek, though, and let me know if you like any of them titles, too. And if you have anything to recommend.

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Blogger TripJax said...

Ween is one of my top 5 bands of all time. Chocolate & Cheese changed the way I looked at music at the time and really taught me something about looking beyond radio and mainstream.

These days, I just can't seem to remove White Pepper from my rotation.

I got a chance to see them play at Ziggy's in Winston-Salem, NC many years ago. It's a pretty small place and it made for a very intimate show. They were getting hammered on Tequila and they put on one of the greatest concerts I've ever seen. To this day it is one that sticks out in my memory.

Funny story about the show. My car died on the highway on the way back to Greensboro and a buddy and I were picked up by a police officer (thankfully we didn't drink at the concert). On the way home the cop - a chubby dude probably in his late 50's - asked us what we were doing in Winston. We told him we were at a concert. He asked who we saw and we both looked at each other and lightly chuckled before answering, as we knew he wouldn't know who we were talking about.

After I said Ween, the cop said, "Oh yeah, I know those guys." We both looked at each other again and chuckled again, 'cause we didn't believe him. That is until he said, "My son plays that album they have...the one with the Boogey Oogey Oogey Oogey lyrics (Voodoo Lady song from Chocolate & Cheese).

We were amazed that this random cop probably at or near 60 years old was singing a Ween song to us while we were in the back of squad car.

Good stuff.

Thanks for giving me a trip down memory lane. Now I gotta go buy La Cucaracha.

2/25/2008 1:11 PM  
Blogger TripJax said...

As a follow-up to my long ass comment earlier, not sure if you were reading me back then, but check out this post and be sure to check out the You Tube videos I linked to...


2/25/2008 1:21 PM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Haha, "Voodoo Lady" was a highlight, for sure. As was "Buckingham Green" -- thought the top of my head was going to come off towards the end of that one.

As the least "brown" of the discs, White Pepper is definitely the one to recommend to the non-initiated. C&C is a stunner, tho'. That's really the one I had most in mind with that "weird-ass compilation" comment.

Gonna go check out them vids now.

2/25/2008 5:49 PM  
Blogger 23skidoo said...

Cheers! from the unrepentant crazy faction of Ween fans!

2/26/2008 2:23 PM  

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