Nobody likes watching two people who once loved each other grow apart, and when it's a relationship like Dean and Gene Ween's, the leaders of the New Hope, Pa. pan-genre band Ween, sometimes your first thought is to blame yourself: What could I as a fan have done to keep this from happening?
Yes, it's true -- Ween are no more. Gene Ween announced to Rolling Stone that the band was effectively over, citing a desire to grow up and move on from that stage in his life, telling the magazine, "For me it's a closed book. In life sometimes, in the universe, you have to close some doors to have others open."
Though the band had not released a record since 2007's La Cucaracha, they had maintained an active touring schedule, with Gene Ween occasionally taking the time to perform solo shows.
However, not all was well with Gene, as last year he suffered an onstage meltdown while performing with the band at a festival, one that was revealed to be brought on by substance abuse issues. Gene is clean now, and is set to release a solo album consisting of covers by quirky, enigmatic songwriter Rod McKuen.
At their best, Ween embodied a melting-pot aesthetic that was eerily similar to New York City. Their albums were amalgamations of aesthetics far and wide.
Their seminal work The Mollusk was a nautical-themed record that would swing from Steely Dan-inflected AOR to Black Sabbath sludge metal, and their best songs were always tongue-in-cheek takes on aesthetics that ping-ponged between goofy pastiche and loving homage.
Though they were from Pennsylvania, they felt New York: diverse, fun and soulful all at the same time.
While there will be no more new Ween material, we'll always have their 11 studio albums to cherish fondly, and Gene Ween's debut album to look forward to.