Ween was always one of the more curious major-label signings of the early-'90s alternative rock explosion. After all, the cult favorite Pennsylvania duo preferred to dabble in every genre imaginable (Ween was always one of the more curious major-label signings of the early-'90s alternative rock explosion. After all, the cult favorite Pennsylvania duo preferred to dabble in every genre imaginable (they even made a full-fledged country album in 1996) than attempt to court the favor of radio.
But somehow, Ween remained on Elektra Records for more than a decade before joining Sanctuary for the release of 2003's "Quebec." The group is now partnered with Rounder for the release this week of "La Cucaracha." "At this stage, we want to make records and let somebody else try and sell them," guitarist Mickey Melchiondo says. "We didn't have any real specific needs, other than, get the record out in as many stores as you can, and we'll go out and tour hard behind it."
Highlights of "La Cucaracha" include the back-porch country jam "Learnin to Love," the gruff, Melchiondo-sung "My Own Bare Hands," the nearly 11-minute rocker "Woman and Man" and "Spirit Walker," a prog-rock homage with Ween's trademark disorienting vocal effects and noises. But the band is most proud of "Your Party," which boasts a guest turn from saxophonist David Sanborn.
"The demo kind of sounded like the Red Hot Chili Peppers or something," Melchiondo says. "But then we decided to go the opposite way -- instead of making it nasty, we thought, 'Let's make it smooth.' And when I think of smooth, I think of David Sanborn."