Gene Ween Melts Down in Vancouver

When drugs and getting fucked up are part of a band’s legend, it feels hypocritical to take said band to task for getting too wasted to play at a level anyone would consider adequate. Yet, Aaron Freeman – aka Gene Ween – of Ween’s performances of late have moved well beyond “hey, it’s Ween, of course they get loaded before each show” to just plain scary and worrisome. Ween rarely tours these days and hasn’t released a new album in nearly four years. Considering Gener’s melt down last night in Vancouver, the lack of output should come as no surprise.

[Photo by Rebecca Blissett]

One of the first signs of trouble came last month in Carrboro, NC, where Freeman was so out of it during a solo gig at Cat’s Cradle that he had trouble finishing any of the songs he played during the first hour of the gig before he finally pulled himself together towards the end of the show.  Last night’s Ween show at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver featured more of the same as detailed in Mike Usinger’s review for Straight.com

As his bandmates nailed every stop-and-start note, Freeman stood there like a drunk simpleton who couldn’t, despite his best efforts, figure out how to keep time on a tambourine.

Things didn’t get any better when he stepped up to the mike. Early numbers like “Mister Richard Smoker” and “Transdermal Celebration” were advance warning that Freeman would be spending the night singing in a voice that was a weird, high-camp cross between Ethel Merman and the Heat Miser from A Year Without Santa Claus.

Things went from bad to beyond-weird quickly. To the visible dismay of Melchiondo, Freeman totally blew the lyrics right after the epic guitar solo in “Buckingham Green”. And he decided it was easier to sit on the stage than to stand for “Mutilated Lips”.

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Gener’s antics got so bad, the rest of the band gave up and left Freeman alone on stage. You can watch some of the videos from last night to see just how bad it was. We love Ween around these parts and while we appreciate the group didn’t get to where they are by being “professionals” on a nightly basis – and certainly Ween would be no fun if there wasn’t a sense that a shitshow can break out at any moment – things are getting so bad that the band’s future and Gener’s health are clearly at stake. Ween returns to the stage tonight at the Paramount Theater in Seattle.

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17 thoughts on “Gene Ween Melts Down in Vancouver

  1. p2g Reply

    sad. heroin is a hell of a drug.

    “and certainly Ween would be no fun if there wasn’t a sense that a shitshow can break out at any moment”

    eh… they’ve all been “clean” for some time now. This recent slip is not, imo, representative of any collective behavior in since Gener got of junk… last time. certainly, there is a history of long stretches of shows that they nail one after the other, even if things break down periodicaly.

    “high-camp cross between Ethel Merman and the Heat Miser from A Year Without Santa Claus”

    sick Heat Miser reference!

  2. Stones Reply

    Wow – that sucked – Kind of makes me not feel so bad for missing the FOX show tomorrow nite. Gener, get it together brah!

  3. Jon Schroeder Reply

    That’s rock and roll. Live with it. That was the brownest shit I’ve seen on stage. Gener will get better, he was a fuckin’ scholar on his solo acoustic tour.

  4. Poppa Zit Reply

    Jon Schroeder
    Agreed , Rock n Roll Baby. And this is in no way the norm for Ween, I would be astonished if they ever played a show this bad again.
    Maintain Your Faith in the Boognish &
    BLAME CANADA !!!!

  5. Reverend Justito Reply

    Hitting both the Oakland and Los Angeles shows this week. Looking forward to a brown time indeed.

  6. Nick Reply

    Heroin is pretty easy to find in Vancouver. think this had anything to do with it? Clearly Gene needs to go back to rehab before he dies I just hope that the rest of the band can convince him to do so.

  7. joe Reply

    pray for gener….he looks like he needs help real bad.

  8. Harry Hood Reply

    If you are close to the stage SCREAM for ROSES ARE FREE all night!!! The band loves that!

  9. cruddler Reply

    first off wooks, any statements of Aaron being on heroin or anything else for that matter is conjecture. Nobody knows what was wrong, except ween and Gener.
    It was certainly a sad display and I hope if Aaron needs help, he seeks it out. But he was never a “smack” addict in the past, or if he was/is, it was never made common knowledge.

    Leave Gener alone!

  10. megan Reply

    Hope the show tonight in PDX is just as exciting… :) I’ll let you know!

  11. Bandit Reply

    Coke on my dick!

  12. alex Reply

    Worried? Never. That song was awesome. Boognish!!!

  13. Buzzard Reply

    He probably had a solid dose of acid or mushrooms. This sounds great. I guess none of you have seen Butthole Surfers live back in the day.

  14. Dweebers Reply

    Someone ought to help him now. He’s going down and I don’t know if he’ll be okay.

  15. bubchambers Reply

    Go Ween Go! Gene will bounce back, may never be touring with Ween again if the band continues and I sure hope they do. They have been an inspiration to millions of people and like Gene said, “Sometimes, its time to close the door, and open another.” That is so true but I along with many will miss the original WEEN!!! Deaner, help Gene and I know you are but keep on Rockin!

  16. bubchambers Reply

    Go Ween Go! Gene will bounce back, may never be touring with Ween again if the band continues and I sure hope they do. They have been an inspiration to millions of people and like Gene said, “Sometimes, its time to close the door, and open another.” That is so true but I along with many will miss the original WEEN!!! Deaner, help Gene and I know you are but keep on Rockin!

  17. mark Reply

    i love ween. i have all of their music. honestly though, i never really thought their live shows were as epic as everyone else seemed to. throw in a completely tore down gener and epic cannot even be argued. people that “don’t get it” look at this kind of stuff and use at as fuel to keep on not getting it.

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