ACL Fest Interviews
Ween6:30pm, Sunday, Capital Metro stage
With their multifaceted predilection for the odd and profane, Ween does well in Austin. A 1992 SXSW appearance helped cinch their Elektra deal, and a memorable July 2000 stand at Stubb's was immortalized with last year's Web-only 3-CD live set.
"You make an asterisk in your head for places like Austin," says Mickey Melchiondo, aka Dean Ween. "You want extra rest to give it your best when you're there."
Now they're playing the ACL Fest alongside R.E.M. Could Melchiondo and his partner Aaron Freeman (aka Gene Ween) have imagined that when they met at a New Hope, Pa., middle school circa 1984?
"It's easy to romanticize it now and say, 'Yeah, we were living our dream,' but it wasn't really like that," relates Melchiondo. "We got signed to Twin/Tone to put out the first record right after high school. I think we would've continued doing it anyway, though. We weren't going to college, that's for sure."
Ween's latest, Quebec (Sanctuary), is an ambitious affair, but Melchiondo is still striving for quintessence.
"We haven't realized yet what I want on a CD," he admits. "We've been real guarded about the way we do things over the years to make sure it's never phony. We've never pandered to our crowd or our record company and sucked the corporate dick or anything.
"We've pretty much stood our course, for better or worse. We might be doing a lot better if we hadn't, but no bomb has ever gone off in our world that would lead us astray from where we started."