today is the 20th -!!!!!- anniversary of ween’s out of nowhere country album 12 golden country greats. if that means anything to you then you know there’s not much to say -though i’ll try- other than it was an incredibly cool and seminal moment in the band’s history.
a risk similar to the grateful dead’s workingman’s dead and american beauty albums and yes i’ll say it radiohead’s kid a in that it was a total 180 in songwriting, live shows, and even studio albums that caught everyone by surprise.
ween was less than two years removed from adding claude, glenn and dave to the touring and then full time band, so to go to nashville with pure ween songs and have longtime session professionals sort out the instrumentation and play it on record was another huge step for two guys who up til then had been used to taking the stage with each other, a guitar, and a drum machine.
and i’m always amazed at the age of musicians when they have important moments like this in their career. dean and gene were 26 years old when this album came out. when i was 26 i was barely off my family cell phone plan and making money through what you would charitably call nefarious jobs.
dean and gene were on their fifth album and making music with men twice their age who had played with country legends in their own right. think of the balls it took to walk into a studio with these songs, telling guys that played with elvis and willie nelson to hold that solo until right after deaner sings “on your knees you big booty bitch start suckin’.” and then went out on a full tour with them! just one more example of how and why ween is on their own level.
“so long jerry” and “i’ve got no darkside” are the two songs left off 12 gcc for whatever reason or fable you want to believe, but they’re both excellent (the former having been written about jerry garcia) and deserve your attention. this just reinforces the old saying that ween’s b-sides are better than 99% of what most other bands officially release.
i’ve also included a link just below to a fan-made mix of the same fall 1996 tour that live in toronto canada was recorded on (i always thought it was hilarious and very ween to specify the “canada” part, like people would confuse which toronto they had played in).
excuse any and all incoherence in this post, it’s late i’m drunk and didn’t even know it was the anniversary til just now so here goes nothing.
mazel tov and long live ween.