Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ween Go Country at 328 Performance Hall [Golden Nuggets]

Posted By on Wed, Sep 3, 2014 at 4:33 PM

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With the release of their fifth record — 1996's tongue-and-cheek twanger, 12 Golden Country Greats — genre-bending-and-transcending absurdest adventurers Ween didn’t do themselves any favors in dispelling notions that they were a joke band. But Ween wasn’t a joke band, and the 12 10 songs on the band’s only single-style-focused album actually were just plain fucking great.

Songs like the indubitably infectious “Piss Up a Rope,” the Chariots of Fire theme-aping “Japanese Cowboy” and the would-have-made-Hank-Williams-proud “Help Me Scrape the Mucus Off My Brain,” to name a few. Deaner and Gener cut them at a time when Garth Brooks ruled the world and both country and Western music couldn’t be a bigger punch line in the alt-rock universe.

The duo made their twangy chestnuts all the more authentic by coming to Nashville and tapping Music Row session vets such as Bobby Ogdin, Buddy Spicher, Charlie McCoy and The Jordanaires to play on the record, later recruiting some of those players for their 1996 touring band, The Shit Creek Boys. In addition to Ogdin, the touring company featured steel guitar slinger Stu Basore, regular guitar slinger Danny Parks, fiddler Hank Singer and Matt Kohut on bass.

Unfortunately, tragically even, Ween tossed in the towel in 2012. But footage of the band touring its under-appreciated country record with The Shit Creek Boys, in Nashville no less, remains. Check some of it out after the jump.

Here’s Ween and the Shit Creek Boys busting out the woozy, Stones-y saloon sing-along “Booze Me Up and Get Me High” (a song that features a “Hotel California”-worthy harmonized guitar solo) and a hokey, honky-tonky “Piss Up a Rope” at Nashville’s long-gone 328 Performance Hall in 1996.

And from the same show, here’s that exaggerated, countrified Chariots of Fire tribute, along with a steel-guitar-boasting barroom take on “What Deaner Was Talking About” — hands down one of the band’s best pop songs.

Now check out the band reuniting with Shit Creek vets Ogdin and Parks at a 2000 328 gig. A major highlight of the four-song mini set: A Neil Young and Crazy Horse-style jam on the lonely cowboy’s marble-mouthed lament over the loss of a four-legged best friend, “Fluffy.” (You can actually watch that 2000 gig in its entirety here.)

Ogdin, along with Basore, again jammed with Ween at the band’s 2011 (and sadly, final) Nashville show, at War Memorial Auditorium. (Ogdin also joined the band at their sweltering City Hall gig in the summer of 2008, but unfortunately that footage ain’t all that great.)

Now, if that’s not enough Ween for you Weeners to geek out on, revisit our 2011 Q&A with a brutally candid Dean Ween. “It’s like being sentenced to death being in this band,” he said. And yet, the songs were (more often than not) so full of life.

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