(this piece was published by Planet Jackson Hole)
…Also Ben Folds, Moon Hooch, Teton Serenade, Sneaky Pete, Chanman Roots Band, Wyatt Lowe and beyond
The mass of music offerings for this Halloween weekend is unprecedented. This is off-season?!
The Deaner, Dean Ween, Michael “Mickey” Melchiondo, Jr.—he’s all the same beast of a guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and yes, a fishing guide. I first heard his international cult band Ween in 1992 on a mix tape, the same tape that introduced me to Phish. In 1984, Deaner co-founded Ween as a middle school student with Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) in New Hope, Pennsylvania. This weekend, he’ll bring his Dean Ween Group, which includes the touring members of Ween except Gene. The super double-bill pairs them with The Meat Puppets courtesy of KHOL, Jackson’s community radio station.
Seeing Ween three times in the late ‘90s was as mind warping as listening to The Pod (1991) or Pure Guava (1992), two of their nine strikingly non-mainstream studio albums that are like nothing I’ve heard before or since. Deaner’s fresh release Oct. 21, The Deaner Album, brings his love of classic guitar rock to fourteen tunes including four instrumentals, and sound waves that echo cracked country and the quirky mix of soul, funk, metal and punk that has defined his career.
“After Ween [took a four-year hiatus in 2012], I put my guitar down for almost a year,” Deaner says in a press release (he hasn’t given a proper interview in years according to his publicist). “I’ll never do that again. I’m so into practicing and writing and being good at my craft right now. I’m back in playoff shape. I write and play and record all day, every day, and I’m going to keep it there for the rest of my life.”
At times, The Deaner Album plays out, like a Ween discography bookend with splashes of digital backing drum tracks, the same way Ween performed as a duo for over a decade. And, of course, there’s some ridiculously hilarious subject matter (“Exercise Man,” “Bundle of Joy”) and other surprises like “SchwartzePete”—a tight instrumental and loving tribute to Les Paul, originally written long ago for a TV pilot with Deaner playing all of the instruments. Moreover, it’s a trippy set of accessible guitar-inspired anthems. The biggest change for Deaner was moving into his own studio, converted from an old