No, WEEN Did Not Play An Overly “Brown” Setlist at LOCKN’ Just To Piss Hippies Off
I can’t believe I’m even writing this article because I was just going to ignore it myself, but Mickey wrote some words on the subject and I felt they should be shared.
Here’s what basically happened. After night one of LOCKN’ a lot of people on various forums including the Ween Appreciation Society were debating why some small groups of people apparently walked away from the WEEN show.
This being an overnight festival, presumably rumors starting swirling around camp sites both there and online that WEEN intentionally played a show with their extra “brown” tunes (WEEN’s word for their deeper tracks that aren’t necessarily as clean) just to piss off the jamband loving hippies.
I mean that sounds kind of rock n’ roll, I guess? But you knew it was bullshit if you know anything about the band. Before many a show Mickey has posted setlist shots for the fans and he’s talked about his setlist process and how much it means to him openly on the WAS forum.
He takes that shit seriously.
Anyway like I said I figured it would just die, but then Live for Live Music had to go and also make a big deal out of it by saying, “it became clear that Ween intentionally played a set of deep, random cuts on Thursday evening as a nod to their most hardcore fans, and as a big middle-finger of sorts towards their new potential-hippie-fans.”
I mean that’s just not true. To be fair, they gave WEEN an award for their performances and they write very favorably about WEEN on the site, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.
After that the chatter picked back up and then Mickey decided to respond, just now.
And I dig his response so much, I’m sharing it here:
From Mickey Melchiondo (Dean Ween) (Note: we’ve added hard returns to make it a little easier to read, but haven’t edited it in any other way):
“I can’t believe that I’m actually responding to the bait laid out here for me, but you can copy and paste this anywhere you like.
1st of all, you have no idea about the inner workings of ween as a business/band/organization and how much thought and time and love goes into the setlist every night (my job). We treat EVERY show the same way, as if it’s the most important gig of our lives. Doesn’t matter the size of the crowd, or who’s playing on the same bill. Imagine traveling 2000 miles to intentionally play a set designed to piss people off and have them not enjoy the music….? i mean really? do u think we would do that? What a great feeling that would be leaving a gig… No, we want to make new fans every night and we do.
I would never write a setlist designed to antagonize the crowd, and alternately, i’d never write a setlist to pander to a certain demographic, like “we’ll play all the jammy songs so the phish fans will dig it.” we want to leave the venue knowing that we played our asses off and made people forget about their problems and smile for 90 minutes if that’s what is allotted. there it is—it’s more fun to imagine that we did “poopship” to try and clear the room for some people, i realize that, sometimes fiction is more fun than honesty so we don’t do anything to squash the rumors.
lastly, we have a very tight set of guidelines to protect aaron’s sobriety, completely dry backstage, we don’t even want people that are fucked up to be around us backstage before or after a show. i am about to turn 46—playing 5 or 6 shows in 6 days is harder on my body than it was even ten years ago, I am constantly exhausted, when I’m not on the road i am in the studio or playing a gig, recording, rehearsing—if i look tired, or wiped out, it’s because I am.
we have about 200 songs we’re playing this year and clams are bound to happen here or there.
These rumors are vicious and can start more rumors.
the whole idea that people can make their voices heard after watching a live show from their couch really pisses me off too btw. come enjoy the live music experience, meet some new like minded fans. I’ve been toying w the idea of leaving Facebook for awhile now, because more than it makes me happy, it evokes feelings similar to how i feel right now after browsing thru these posts.”
To me this whole thing is just kind of silly, but to Mickey I think it feels a lot more personal and hurtful. It’s hard doing anything for a crowd because of the rumors and judgements that get passed around without any investigating done. Did anyone think to ask Mickey if he did it intentionally? Nah, they just showed up on the Ween Appreciation Society page and started bitching.
I hope you don’t leave Facebook Mickey, I truly appreciate the band photos, history, and information you share there. But I think I’d understand it if you did. Bunch of savages in this town.
Update, here’s a screenshot of the post if you’d prefer to read/see that: