Ween has been a darling of the alt-rock scene for some 20 years. During that time, the band’s core duo have made about a dozen albums and toured the world.

So you’d think music is their full-time job.

It’s not.

“I fish full-time, probably 200 days a year,” said Mickey Melchiondo, also known for group purposes as Dean Ween. “I’m a fishing guide, and I have a charter boat. It’s always been a love of mine and a dream to do this.”

It makes sense that a member of a band known for its goofiness and offbeat sense of humor would have more interests besides music. And it also means that Melchiondo will feel right at home when Ween plays a show Friday night just a few feet from the saltwater of Casco Bay, on the Maine State Pier in Portland.

Ween is the headliner for the first night of the third annual Pier Revue, a waterfront concert series to benefit Preble Street, a Portland social service agency. On Saturday, the Pier Revue continues with a show by Thievery Corporation, a Washington D.C.-based DJ and production duo which puts on a live show with a 15-member band.


Both bands are scheduled to play at least two-and-a-half hours. The promoters are trying for a “party” atmosphere, with food and beverages (including beer for those of legal age) for sale. In the past two years, the Pier Revue shows have included Wilco, moe., Ryan Montbleau, and Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band.

The Pier Revue’s promoter, Massachusetts-based Great Northeast Productions, tries to include a social service component to its shows, and began working with Preble Street on its Portland shows about 10 years ago.

“In this economic climate, we feel it is essential that people recognize the critical role Preble Street plays in the lives of so many people affected in the Greater Portland community,” said Adam Lewis, of Great Northeast Productions.

For Melchiondo and fellow Ween founder Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween), this will not their first trip to Maine. Not only have they played Maine several times — including the State Theatre in Portland — they wrote their album “White Pepper” in Maine about a decade ago.

“We rented a house in Rockland, it was on this little island in the middle of a harbor, and you had to get there on a causeway,” said Melchiondo. “That’s how we always write records: We go someplace, always near the coast. We basically packed a van and set up a studio there for about three weeks. It was a very productive trip.”

Melchiondo and Freeman have been making music together since 1984, when they were 14 and growing up in New Hope, Pa. It’s a tourist town on the Delaware River about 40 minutes from Philadelphia, with a lively music scene.


“It’s a sort of bizarre, eclectic town, and we couldn’t have met in any other town,” said Melchiondo, who still lives in New Hope. “The high school has no traditional set of jocks or cheerleaders. Everybody just does their own thing.”

From that sort of beginning, Melchiondo, Freeman and other Ween members developed a “personality” in their music that critics often see as goofy. For instance, Ween did an album called “12 Golden Country Greats” which indeed had a classic country instrumentation and sound, but also had song titles like “Help Me Scrape the Mucus Off My Brain.”

“It’s not a conscious thing with us. It’s just our personality,” said Melchiondo.

Melchiondo says Ween is touring less these days, and he’s fishing more. Instead of going on the road for a month or more at time, the band tours for a day or two a week, then might be home for a week or two.

This way, Melchiondo says, he feels like he’s “constantly ready” to play live shows.

And he’s got time to fish.


Staff Writer Ray Routhier can be contacted at 791-6454 or at: [email protected]


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