YouTube user obsceneween, who has a few dozen stellar Ween-related videos in his digital armoire, recently upped two versions of the old skool track "Never Squeal on the Pusher" on the same day in January, one by Dean Ween, which he tagged as Dean Ween and Blues Brother Band, that features some insane playing by former band member Glenn McClelland on keys and frequent guest Reverend B-ILL on guitar (it clocks in at over 12 minutes and is truly rocking), and another by Gene Ween, which he tagged with the above screencap. Clearly, there is some meaning behind this.

After the 2012 divorce of the cult rock group Ween, most fans were implored––or so it seemed––to 'pick a side' (or perhaps said act is/was a symbol for 'keeping the conversation going'): Were you #TeamGener or #TeamDeaner? Could you be both?

The Yin and Yang is often referenced when people write or talk about Ween. Gene (Aaron Freeman) was the soft/sensitive side, while brother Dean (Mickey Melchiondo Jr.) embodied a hard/brutish persona. The latter sang beautifully while the former could shred on guitar. Along with the three other core members––Claude Coleman Jr. (drums), Dave Dreiwitz (bass) and the aforementioned McClelland––they were one of the best live bands of all-time, and I personally saw them ~20 times before the breakup.

In numerous articles and interviews, the reasons behind the split have been explored. The main explanation centers around Aaron's need to get and stay sober, something he felt would be impossible as a member of the national touring act Ween. But there was plenty of other drama surrounding the demise of the band and the immediate aftermath, including some pretty nutty stuff that played out on the band's fan forum (more on the WeenDotNet Forum later), not to mention some good ole glaring aesthetic/artistic differences which had been bubbling up for at least a few years.

In 2009, Ween covered Billy Joel's "Honesty" a few times, usually as an encore or late in the set. If it felt like a goof it was because (as you can see from the video above) Dean didn't play guitar and was just sort of lurking on stage unamused during the song. But Fat Gener clearly had an affinity for the music of BJ and this has never been more evident than in the right here and now, as Brooklyn Bowl just announced "Gene Ween Does Billy Joel" night in late May. Pretty cool, right?

Earlier this week, we saw what looked to be the beginning of the end for one of the internet's weirdest clubs, the Ween Forum. [Note: Things are still in a state of flux as I write this.]

The WeenDotNet Forum used to be known as the plain old Ween Forum and was so closely tied to the identity of the band that it was directly linked to via the homepage of ween.com for many years. But around the time of the breakup (or perhaps slightly earlier), some person or persons in the official Ween camp asked the Forum to provide some distance between WEEN the musical group/brand and THE FORUM because it was just too nasty/uncouth/racist/demented for a class act like Ween to be associated with. So, for the last handful of years, the very pages where the band principals spilt their dirty laundry have been known as the WeenDotNet Forum [WDNF], named after the founder's fan site, ween.net. Semantics, really.

That was until a few days ago. Enter: The Clown Penis Forum Era. [Note: Unlike the old Forum, you now need a Yuku message board account to even read it.] The details are still murky, but apparently a portion of the ne'er-do-well user base of the WDNF got into a spat with some Ween Facebook Group, going so far as to (allegedly) photoshop tears of cum on a picture of the FB Group's founder/moderator person (a Latino gang member from Cleveland?) and possibly ruin an event he was plaining with a Ween cover band (again: ?)––it's very confusing! As but a mere (serial) lurker on the WDNF and a non-FB user, I watched and continue to watch this drama seep out in a jagged piecemeal, attempting to place it all together via Forum threads and links and googling. It's been weird and uneasy. The gist seems to be that the Ween organization (read: Mickey) is hellbent on shutting down the WDNF or at least forcing them to fully disassociate once and for all because they are a bunch of bitter, racist, homophobic fuckups goddamit.

The WDNF was a kind of personal internet institution––it truly formed my appreciation for and understanding of the www (the good, the bad and THE UGLY^). I've posted a handful of times and lurked consistently^––getting to know the strangers who post there in this weird, detached, semi-creepy way––but I've never consistently tried to engage after I had a classic nube meltdown in ~2000-2001. My username was, I believe, BloodyTamponsAteMyDog, and I couldn't take the initiation hazing. (I'm sure my feeble posts have been lost to the sands of time.) Even though I was never an active user, the Forum will forever mean something to me, perhaps in a more meaningful way than the music of the band it purportedly existed to honor.

So it's bittersweet that this happened on the same week the Gene Ween/Billy Joel show was announced. But maybe the Clown Penis Forum is here to stay, and maybe all the lurkers can emerge now and we can all discuss how it was never really about the band anyway. (No. That was a bad joke.)

Bottom line: As a formerly unbiased, older fan (I'm 33), it's hard to look at all this and not come out on one side or the other.

if you're true / the whole wide world will laugh with you

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