FROM WEEN HAS INFUSED DESERT ROCKERS NICK OLIVERI AND DAVID “HOSS” WRIGHT INTO MOISTBOYZ !
Appearing live at Pappy & Harriet’s February 27th!
By Robin Linn
When it comes to multi-instrumentalist Michael Melchiando (Mickey Moist), the word “fused” comes up again and again. His 28 year tenure with cult rock band Ween proved him to be one of the more inventive musicians and songwriters of his time. Ween was founded in New Hope, PA with his friend since the eighth grade, Aaron Freeman. The band is famous for blending punk, metal, country, Americana with outrageously humorous lyrics. Even the name, WEEN is a fusing of two words, wuss and penis. When it comes to lyrics, they are both fearless and hilarious with songs like “Puffy Cloud”, “Common Bitch”, and “You Fucked Up”. The band was built on the strengths of Freeman and Melchiando also known as Gene and Dean Ween. Both musicians are imaginative, brave, and boldly go where others do not dare. This is a tradition and an attitude that is very much present in Moistboyz and the reason I have quickly become a fan. For me as a listener and a fan of the heavy stuff, MB is a step up offering a raw and rowdy electric approach to the blended styles that have become signature for Mickey Melchiando.
Ween was founded in 1984 and remained a staple in the experimental realms of rock, folk, Americana for 28 years. When Ween broke up in 2012 it was a story that Rolling Stone Magazine broke. The way Melchiando found out that his band mate of decades and his best friend since childhood was “retiring Gene Ween” and disbanding the group was when a Facebook friend shared the article online. It is still a bit of a touchy subject for Melchiando and one can certainly imagine that finding out in such an impersonal way might cause some deep wounds. In a Mixdn.com interview written shortly after the Rolling Stone feature appeared, Mickey shares that Aaron had undergone lots of personal changes including a stay at a rehab facility, and the breakup of this longstanding project. Ween has hundreds of thousands of fans and a cult following that has been devoted to the music and the live shows. Those fans can rest assured that Moistboyz picks up the slack where Ween left off. And if that isn’t enough, The Dean Ween Group is working on a brand new record presently which will be supported by a tour sometime later this year. Though the music goes to a far heavier place than Ween dared to go, MB embraces the same experimental approach. The most recent record, Moistboyz V, is an eclectic collection of in your face music with a clearly defined hard rock approach. Though Mickey provides all instrumentation on the record, he has chosen what I believe is the perfect rhythm section in desert badboy, bassist Nick Oliveri (QOTSA, Mondo Generator, The Dwarves, Bl’ast) and drummer David “Hoss” Wright. Moistboyz features the stream of consciousness lyrics provided by vocalist Guy Heller. Heller is a stunning hard rock frontman. Tatted down and shirtless, he belts out song after song with conviction and a distinctly punk rock approach. Together with Mickey they have adopted a straight forward and powerful electrified sound for the new compositions that make up MB V. Heller (Dickie Moist) and Melchiando (Mickey Moist) take listeners on a fantastic journey with overdriven punk and metal infused rock, though it is not uncommon for them to pull a country number or a folk song out of the hat. Because they blend it with the same hard rock approach it becomes a truly unique sound. One thing you want in today’s world of ten thousand bands is a sound that distinguishes you from all the rest. Moistboyz has managed this perfectly! Visually they are an absolute blast. I can only imagine what the live show will be like when they are joined by Oliveri and Wright. On February 27th….you will get a chance when they appear at Pappy & Harriet’s.
INTERVIEW with Michael Melchiando (Mickey Moist)(aka Dean Ween)
RL: After the breakup of Ween, have you focused all of your musical attention on MB?
MM: I have multiple projects going at the moment, but the Moistboyz touring is the most immediate and has me the most excited because we have a new album to back it up. I intend to finish my solo record by “The Dean Ween Group” sometime this year and get it out and do a lot more touring behind that project. At one point I was working on both albums at once and I decided to shelve my record for the time being and just focus on one thing through completion. Also, I filmed a pilot episode for a fishing show with Les Claypool that’s being shopped around to production companies and networks so we’ll see what happens with that as well.
RL: On MB V, do you play all the instruments?
MM: For the most part, yes. I did have some friends stop by the studio and play. Their contributions are listed on the credits of the CD.
RL: How did you begin working with Guy Heller?
MM: I’ve known Guy since the mid ‘80s, he was dating an ex-girlfriend of mine. A few years later his band False Front and Ween were playing a lot of shows together and we were both recording for Shimmy Disc Records. Also, after Ween moved out of the Pod, Aaron moved into a farmhouse with Guy and some other dude’s and I spent a lot of time hanging out recording and jamming there with those guys. That’s when Guy and I became much closer and eventually the Moistboyz formed out of that, hanging out at the farmhouse with Guy every night.
RL: How did you hook up with our desert rocker boys, Nick Oliveri and David “Hoss” Wright?
MM: Originally Ween and Kyuss did a lot of touring together in 1994 but Scott Reeder was playing bass in Kyuss at that time. It was after Kyuss dissolved and QOTSA formed that I met Nick. We did a couple of legendary tours together in the summer of 1999 and became buddies for life. The two bands just get along together so well. I always thought that Nick would be the ultimate player in the Moistboyz and then Guy and Nick met and hit it off big time and so it was sealed. Hoss I met through Nick touring with Mondo Generator and I would consider him a brother for life now as well. The desert produces a lot of my favorite characters and musicians I’ve come across in life.
RL: MB V is a very eclectic record featuring many different styles ranging from Americana to country, punk to metal. Do you and Guy write together at the same time? Or, do you create the music first and then have him go to town?
MM: Yes we write together at the same time. I’ll bounce riff ideas off of Guy (we’re always alone at this stage) and when we find something we like I’ll start building an instrumental track. It’s a very good system that we have refined after years of making records and recording together. We have so many outtakes that have never seen the light of day. It’s amazing because they’re good too. We just always hit a groove it seems and we have a very healthy songwriting process that never ceases to amaze me actually. He’s such a prolific lyricist, I’m lucky if I can write 5 or 6 meaningful songs lyrically per year. Guy just seems to have a well of lyrical inspiration that never runs dry. Sometimes he has too many lyrics for a song and we’ll actually have to go through the song and keep only our favorite verses.
RL: You and Moistboyz are playing in the high desert at Pappy & Harriet’s on February 27th. Will this be your first high desert experience?
MM: No I’ve spent a lot of time there. Moistboyz 3 was recorded and written in 29 Palms as a matter of fact. Add in all the Queens, Desert Sessions stuff and I’ve spent a ton of time there. I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s through this that I’ve become great friends with Chris Goss as well.
“My favorite Kyuss tour of all time was with Ween in ‘95 – craziest gigs of all time! The Vegas stop will never be topped!” -Scott Reeder/Kyuss-
For tickets and details on the MB show at P&H visit: pappyandharriets.com/events
Here is where to purchase your copy of Moistboyz V. www.moistboyz.com. Their website has lots of great ways to get to know them as a band. By the time you are done touring it…I’m betting you become as much a fan as I am. Great way to get yourself in the mood for the upcoming show!