Release Date: Oct 21, 2016
Record label: ATO
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Lo-Fi, Comedy Rock
Far from running away from the persona of Dean Ween -- the stage name adopted when he was a teenager -- guitarist/singer Mickey Melchiondo runs straight into it, christening his first-post Ween project the Dean Ween Group and naming their debut record The Deaner Album. Like Freeman, the 2014 debut album by his partner Aaron Freeman -- the duo were separated when Melchiondo wrote and recorded the material for this 2016 album but reunited by the time it was released -- The Deaner Album illustrates precisely what Melchiondo brought to Ween. .
What The Deaner Album highlights, in a way that probably even Ween fans who haven’t seen the band live before won’t realise, is what an extraordinary guitarist Dean Ween is. If you’ve seen him live you’ll undoubtedly have seen his eight minute virtuoso performances; hair flailing, arms and hips gyrating with his face looking like he needs the toilet soooo bad. But that doesn’t translate easily to record - until now.
Following Ween's acrimonious split in 2012, Mickey “Dean Ween” Melchiondo's brash solo debut, The Deaner Album, possesses the swagger of an artist in full command of his craft, even on madcap songs that advocate for reckless destruction or jubilantly profess an infantile fondness for ice cream and bubblegum. While it may not boast the fantastic oddities of Ween's most gonzo tangents, the album teems with adrenaline and flippant aggression, jabbing a finger in the face of anyone who rankles Melchiondo while also allowing room for a little self-deprecation. Melchiondo cultivates unique and virtuosic songs from lowbrow songwriting fodder on The Deaner Album, with the occasional screwball novelty thrown in to lighten the tone when it borders on apoplectic.
When Ween went on hiatus in 2012, founding members Aaron Freeman and Mickey Melchiondo pursued solo projects, with Melchiondo (aka Dean Ween) forming The Dean Ween Group in 2014. His debut solo release, The Deaner Album is unsurprisingly rather eclectic. Released as a teaser single, Mercedez Benz works up the kind of funk-based lather that suggests if Deaner were throwing a hot tub party, guests of honour (on the sound system at least) would be Prince, Parliament and Johnny Guitar Watson.
Ween famously broke up in 2012 after Aaron Freeman told Rolling Stone—but not his bandmate Mickey Melchiondo—that he needed time to convalesce after a drug-related breakdown. This marked the first time since 1984 that the two childhood friends would ostensibly retire their alter egos, Gene and Dean Ween, for their civilian names. While Freeman made it to the other side of that dark period with a baptismally purgative album, Melchiondo remained the same technically gifted clown in all his endeavors.