Twenty summers ago, one of the most out-there, fucking weird as hell albums in the history of music was unleashed upon the world. Ween’s “The Mollusk” is nothing short of a musical mind-fuck. The 14 track record explores more territory than any album we can name. In honor of 20 years of sharing the planet with such an incredible piece of art, we’re busting out the Ween tattoos.
Ween formed in 1984 when Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo met during junior high. The two bonded over a love of music and started writing and recording together, having christened themselves Ween. With true commitment to the bit, they adopted the names Gene Ween and Dean Ween. The duo self-released about half a dozen tapes before graduating high school. In 1990, they were signed to Twin/Tone Record and released “GodWeenSatan,” a collection of 26 re-recorded songs from their early days.
They followed up with a string of totally out-there releases – “The Pod,” “Pure Guava,” “Chocolate and Cheese,” and “12 Country Greats.” The two then secluded themselves in a rented house at the Jersey shore to create their masterpiece, “The Mollusk.” If you’ve ever heard the record, you cannot deny that it is one of the most ambitious and unique collections of music ever assembled. Though critically panned upon its release, “The Mollusk” has come to be regarded as the high point in the band’s catalog and one of the best records of the ‘90s.
I once had the pleasure of seeing Ween, back in 2003 when they were touring to support the album “Quebec.” They played for over three hours, and never once was I bored. This is an amazing feat, considering my ADHD-riddled brain. I spent the show standing next to a man who had not missed a Ween show in the US in over eight years. He was furiously scribbling the setlist in a notebook filled with nothing but Ween setlists. After the gig, I went backstage and met Ween. They were all incredibly nice people, who despite just playing their asses off for three hours, were happy to talk to their fans.
While I don’t bust out the Ween records very often these days, I have nothing but respect for the band. They have constantly been one of the most experimental and innovative acts in rock music for nearly three decades. They’ve cultivated an obsessive fan-base, some of whom sport some pretty sick Ween tattoos. So, pop on “The Mollusk” and take a gander at these amazing fan tributes.
If these Ween tattoos have left you hungry for all things Ween, we highly recommend you check out this oral history of The Mollusk, straight from the mouth of Dean Ween.