MAGNET Feedback With Dean Ween

MAGNET asked me to give my opinion on, like, 20 songs that they mailed to me. You see, I’m promoting my new record, Rock2, under the name the Dean Ween Group, which means once again, I have to do press to help convince you to buy it. I’ve been playing music for 34 years now, and I hate doing “press.” Although it could be a lot worse: I could be blowing dudes inside a bathroom stall at the Trenton bus station like the people at MAGNET—and your mom-mom—for meth money. But then I come to find out that I have to interview myself! Write all of this shit down in an email and send it over to the admittedly nice people at MAGNET. They gave Ween a lot of great reviews over the years—they even put us on the cover once and named one of our albums the best of the year. This was back in 1958, though: the good years, jobs, peacetime conditions, baby boomers, Ween making our 14th record, etc. So I did this for that reason only. The questions—or song choices—were all loaded, too. They picked all music that I publicly either hate or adore. If this is a means to an end, if it helps me sell 1,200 records and get 90 Vevo views … well, here goes. —Deaner

The Beatles “Helter Skelter”
​This song totally rocks, obviously. When you add the Manson factor, it’s kinda the most punk-rock song ever because it made dumb people on acid kill other people. I don’t condone that or anything by any means, but it means it’s at least important enough to listen to. This song and Altamont pretty much caused the end of flower power. At least that’s what it says on the internet.

David Bowie “Moonage Daydream”
Obviously, MAGNET picked these songs for me specifically. Cuz I have so much to say about this one, and I’ve played it live, like, 5,000 times. And it’s always the last song in the set. “I’m a mama-papa coming for you, I’m the space invader” or some shit. “I’ll be a rock ’n’ rollin’ bitch for you”? One of my favorite songs—ever! I’m being set up here, I can tell. Also, “Rock ’N’ Roll Suicide”—just wanted to mention that one, too.

Black Flag “TV Party”
I grew up with this track, both the EP and the album Damaged. Despite what anyone says, though, I consider the real Black Flag ​when Rollins was on the mic on the albums after this; this is the early Flag with Rollins. This song is fun but also kinda silly compared to what came starting with My War. The shit with the earlier singers is all awesome, too, but it wasn’t the high art of what Rollins and Ginn made together later. Whatever time we’ve dedicated to our craft, it doesn’t even add up to one percent of what Henry Rollins gave to his. My War? Slip It In? Loose Nut? 350 gigs a year every year? I allow no one to diss that dude. When he did work, you got destroyed. I heard Michael Jackson once say that there was no separating him from his art—and I know that was true with Rollins in the Flag years. You got 110 percent of the man, and that’s about the highest compliment I can give to anyone. I saw Black Flag 103,000 times and have tried to live up to their work ethic ever since. And Mike Watt’s, too.

Butthole Surfers “Sweat Loaf”
The greatest lead track ever. A classic. But not even the best song on the greatest record they ever made. Try “Graveyard” or “22 Going On 23,” and then we can talk. “I’m 22 … going on … 23” …. yet she sounds like she’s 85 years old. The most upsetting record ever made. Easily their best. It’s not even open for discussion, and I’m getting hip to what MAGNET is trying to get out of me now. One of the rare occasions when I don’t even think of a cover song as being a cover song, too. I’ll use that word again that best describes this album: “upsetting.”

Funkadelic, “One Nation Under A Groove”
​Yeah, this record is just OK??!!?? Not like the main record I grew up learning to play guitar to or anything? Whoever sent these stupid questions should come over and be forced to watch me half-assuredly play along with these entire albums note for note, poorly. I just about drove my mom out of the house playing along with this record and Hardcore Jollies. Two of the greatest guitar records ever—and funky as it gets. I’m really pissed off that anyone can get this music now on iTunes or YouTube so easily because in the mid-’80s, I had to have my older friends with cars drive me around the fucking tri-state area to find these records. Yeah, again, one of my faves. What a hit job this article is.

Grateful Dead, “Dark Star” (Live/Dead version)
​The very greatest Grateful Dead record ever recorded—the very definition of what was great about the Dead. At their best, the Dead were punk rock! Not just punk-ass bitches high on coke and tea-tree oil. ​This is a desert-island disc for me. ​I’m tempted to say more right now, but the jam scene pays my bills …

Jimi Hendrix, “Purple Haze”
​Yeah, it’s just OK. You asses. The most psychedelic riff of all time. C’mon, guys? Really? How do I feel about “Purple Haze”? Do I have to answer that, really? Think about it: What are the most psychedelic guitar riffs ever made? This is—and always will be—number one. It has to be.

Billy Joel, “You May Be Right”
Billy Joel is one of the few people that, given the opportunity, I would fuck him up. With a brick. In the head. I would smash his hands with a ball-peen hammer so he could never play “Piano Man” again. To understand my hatred of this, I need to explain, because my hatred for “BJ” is unlike anyone or anything else. It just grew, like a tumor. His music … I was mostly indifferent to it at first when I was young (like when I was two years old), then I started really hating it, and then the more I heard what the guy had to say about himself it turned into pure black loathing with me. Then not only was his music that personally offensive to me, it became inescapable. And this was 56 years ago, so imagine how I feel now. Also, ​I fish a lot, at the Jersey Shore. I also live down there a good part of the year. Fuckin’ assholes from Staten Island and Queens, Mets fans (we call them Bennies) come down and sing “Piano Man” at beach-bar karaoke. “And the waitress is practicing politics … you’ve got us feeling all right” …. oh la di di da di di da!​ We have Bruce, the Boss, and he pops up all the time around the Jersey Shore, at his old haunts, and he belongs to us. Well, for the obnoxious and rude Long Islanders and people in the Hamptons—you can have this piece-of-shit guy all to yourselves, as long as you keep him and his broken-ass ball-peened hands up there. I’m praying now Elton John is retiring that this motherfucker calls it quits, too. Ugh.

Pink Floyd, “Echoes”
Yeah, like, wow. I’ll bite. This is obviously my fave concert recording of all time. I have a band called Echoes that just does this one song. I was just in the colosseum in Pompeii last March with these tripping Canadian kids there for the same reason as me. Me and a douchebag ​tourist ​from Toronto (who lent me his guitar) played and sang the entire thing, and then I drove back to Rome. ​I technically performed “Echoes” live at Pompeii. ​

Queens Of The Stone Age, “No One Knows”
Best rock ’n’ roll single since “Back In Black.” The one true rock ’n’ roll band left out there. Watching these guys make this record​ and being a small part of it is a great, great source of pride for me. Yes, I played on this motherfucking record (thanks)—not this track, but three or four others. ​Again, ​I’m so very proud of it, too.​ The best song on the record (which is filled with all great songs). ​The songs that Mark Lanegan sings on this album are some of my favorite rock songs ever recorded.

Sonic Youth, “Superstar”
I ​play a version of this song where I try to make it sound like “Maggot Brain.” But in all fairness, they did it way before me—and did it well.​ I think I even remember seeing them do a video for it. The original Delaney & Bonnie version sounds nothing like either of our versions, so I guess this must be a really great song?​ The Carpenters own it, though, any way you slice it.

Matt Sweeney And Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, “I Gave You”
Who the hell is Matt Sweeney? No one knows that guy. And how did he and Prince end up jamming?​

Van Halen, “Spanish Fly”
This is a very strange choice of a song to send me, because it’s completely atypical of any other Van Halen song in their entire catalog. It’s only a minute long if I’m remembering correctly, and it’s a flamenco/metal/acoustic instrumental. Sorta like sending “Revolution #9” as a Beatles track? I just don’t get it, but every single song from the first album through 1984 has a special place in my heart, as they were my favorite band in the world up until Diamond Dave was out. Except for “Jump” (which I still don’t understand; it’s so dumb, from the title on down) and some of the goofier stuff on Diver Down (which was mostly covers and clocks in at something like 20 minutes anyway). The song “Intruder” makes up for that album, though not even the same track or the same album you sent me for review. Hey MAGNET? Remember the last piece you did on me? Because this is it.