One of the joys of listening to early Ween tapes such as God Ween Satan and The Pod was the self-flattering illusion that hey, I could do this if only I were holed up on a Pennsylvania horse farm with my best friend, two pounds of pot, three cans of Scotch Guard and a Tascam 4-track. Dean and Gene Ween (not their real names ... duh ...) riffled through their record collections like an automatic card shuffler and incorporated every influence that stuck to their sticky fingers in a frighteningly eclectic hodgepodge of secondhand rock and roll history. Ween were stoners on an extended goof, and the only thing that could possibly approach the fun of making this stuff had to be the fun of listening to it. When the "band" came through Houston, Dean and Gene plugged in their DAT tracks and drum machines, slapped on those silly grins and proved that you can not only rock Texas without a fiddle, you can do it without a rhythm section. (This time, Ween plays with a band).
Of course the days of The Pod are long over, and when the major labels waltzed around the country signing everybody with a pen, Ween got their fingers in the pie along with the rest of the crowd. The second offspring of the pairing of Ween and Elektra is titled Chocolate and Cheese, and it's distinct in the Ween catalog for three reasons.
One: it's got a cover aimed at the teenage boy market in a big way.
Two: at least half the time, standard gloss production and the lack of a punch line make the songs come off as really, you know, earnest, like they weren't joking. Not bad, but it takes some getting used to.
And three: the world's most gratuitously tasteless song -- a little ditty called "Spinal Meningitis (Got Me Down)," in which the Weeners mimic (mock?) a stricken little girl, singing... Oh hell. I can't even bear to repeat it. If your stomach for black humor is as strong as your taste for stoner yuks, check it out for yourself.
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Ween plays at 8 p.m., Sunday, November 20 at the Urban Art Bar. Tickets cost $10. Call 526-8588 for info.
Tab Benoit at the Fabulous Satellite Lounge, Thursday, November 17
The Bobs at Fitzgerald's, Friday, November 18
Godflesh at the Tower Theatre, Friday, November 18
Junior Brown at the Mucky Duck, Saturday, November 19
The Goats at the Urban Art Bar, Tuesday, November 22