Friday, November 15, 2013

01:38 pm


Aaron Freeman
Aaron Freeman, formerly of Ween
Aaron Freeman, formerly of Ween

In May 2012 it was announced that Ween would be breaking up for good. Anyone who’s been following the progress of the band can plainly see that the breakup was mostly the doing of Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween), whereas Mickey Melchiondo (Dean Ween) seemed perfectly content with the status quo, that is, the intact and occasionally inactive duo they’ve been since the mid-1980s. (For his part, Melchiondo has been spending his time fishing on the South Jersey shore—in fact, you can pay to spend a few hours in his company reeling in a few flounder.)
It became apparent that Freeman has been battling substance abuse for a good long while: he had a few “problematic concerts” in the last years of Ween and had showed considerable weight gain. He’s since successfully completed a rehab regimen and is looking trim these days. For him, the sad dissolution of one of the most fertile groups of recent years was necessary to his own well-being: “All that matters to me is that I’m getting sober. Becoming an out of control drug addict and alcoholic is my own fault and I take responsibility for it. I HAD to leave the Ween organization to stay sober.”
Since the breakup of Ween, Freeman has stopped doing solo performances under the name Gene Ween and has started using his own name as a performer. Last year he released Fabulous Clouds, a touching album of covers of songs by Rod McKuen.

Gener's Gone
Gener’s Gone: The Final Demo Recordings of Gene Ween (2009-2011)

Today Freeman quietly dropped an unexpected message to his fans, via email: what is most likely the final nail in the coffin of the persona of Gene Ween. On website, for a suggested price of $6, you can download Gener’s Gone: The Final Demo Recordings of Gene Ween (2009-2011), which has six tracks. If you are a Ween fan or generally wish Freeman well, I highly recommend laying out the six bucks.
The last song of the set of songs is called “Gener’s Gone.” For anyone who’s been following the progress of Ween and Freeman over the last few years, the lyrics just could not be more gut-wrenching:
“Gener’s Gone”
Gener’s gone
Let’s hold a candle up for Gener
He loved you all just like his children
And it broke my heart to say goodbye
Where have you gone?
Some say you took off with the Argus
Prancing lightly with the Stallion
No man should ever be so free
If everyone had a hit, there’d be a poll to count up the styles in culture
If I could sing like the old man, he’da slapped my back and ground me for a week
But the kids in City Hall strut along, their beauties by their side
I see them and love them with tears of age falling from my eyes
Gener’s gone
Could be there be hope for redemption?
Maybe he’s locked up in detention
A detention of time

Fly Gener
Fly Gener fly
If everyone had a place
A place to go with other like-minded people
A simple place
Where Betty throws the ball to Jimmy
The new youth pushes limits of destiny and fate
I look to them with love and forgiveness
I forgive them
Gener’s gone
Let’s hold a candle up for Gener
He loved you all just like his children
It broke my heart to say goodbye

I’m a huge Ween fan, so this new material, along with all it implies—it’s hitting me hard. In my opinion, Ween richly deserve the descriptor “criminally underrated”—their jocular approach to songcraft and their ability to mimic pretty much any form of popular music has won them a devoted following of obsessives but has (IMO) also meant that the pointy-headed critics have tended to forget them in favor of depressing acts like Radiohead (you know it’s true). I deviate from most Ween fans in that I consider Ween’s last four or five albums to be possibly their strongest material. Most Ween fans favor The Pod or Chocolate and Cheese, both of which date from the early 1990s—I love the early stuff too, but I find myself constantly returning to their later work. Some of my very favorite Ween tracks include “Woman and Man,” “Light Me Up,”“Your Party,” and “Transitions,” all of which were released in 2005 or later. The epic “Woman and Man” in particular pretty much melts my brain every time I hear it.
On the Bandcamp page, there is a terse note that will tear to pieces the heart of any truly “brown” fan of the Boognish: “After 20+ years of near-fatal drug & alcohol abuse (thankfully culminating with intensive but successful rehab), AARON FREEMAN (aka Gene Ween) was left in a dire financial situation. All proceeds will go directly to Aaron, as he continues down the path toward creative freedom and personal health.”
For those who want Freeman to release more music in the future, the info section ends with these words: ” On that note, we have received a two word personal statement from Aaron: “stay tuned.”
Posted by Martin Schneider

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