Ween, the genre-crossing group hailing from New Hope, Penn., is known to have a substantial cult following. And perhaps nowhere is that more prevalent than here in Bend, where Ween's 2009 appearance at the Les Schwab Ampitheater saw thousands of Bend fans rocking out to Ween's catchy, experimental rock sounds, tongue-in-cheek lyrics and sometimes ridiculous antics.
Formed in 1984 by Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) and Mickey Melchiondo (Dean Ween), then 14-year-olds trying to survive 8th grade, Ween gained popularity in the early '90s during the alternative rock explosion, signing with Elektra and releasing their most popular record to date, Pure Guava. The group has since released an unbelievable 17 albums in their 27-year existence, the latest, At the Cat's Cradle, 1992, is a re-recording of a live set in - you guessed it - 1992.
While Ween never had quite as much commercial success as contemporaries like Green Day, Pearl Jam or the Butthole Surfers, the group gained notoriety through another 90's classic - Beavis and Butthead - where the shivering cartoon duo declared, "These guys have no future."
If having "no future" means becoming outdoor music festival mainstays, then Ween is living in their mother's basement. The group has capitalized on their unique brand of stoner rock, playing monster festivals including Lollapalooza, High Sierra Fest, and Moe.Down. They've also been featured in such classic movies as Dude, Where's My Car? and Road Trip.
If their last Bend appearance was any indication, Ween will put on a raucous show for the ages, playing hits such as "Push Th' Little Daisies," "Chocolate and Cheese," a tribute to the late, great John Candy, and "Roses are Free," which Phish routinely covers at their own shows. Ween's version is a little cruder, a little drunker, and little bit more debaucherous, which is really what we all loved about this band, anyway. Ween may still be leaving fans wondering, "Are these guys really serious?" But that won't stop thousands from storming Les Schwab for what might be the biggest sleeper hit of LSA's summer lineup.