Ween puts down the fishing poles for a three-night New Year’s Fillmore stint

:: Ween ::
:: Fillmore Auditorium ::
:: December 29-31 ::

By Hap Fry

Mickey Melchiondo may as well be a walking dichotomy, because on a mid-November day, the Ween founder and lead guitarist (aka Dean Ween) comes nothing close to resembling the rock star that he is.

For starters, Melchiondo had just stepped out of his son’s Cub Scout meeting in Pennsylvania, to take a phone interview with The Marquee. If that weren’t enough, Melchiondo jump-started his day by getting up at 4 a.m. to take a group fishing in New Jersey on his boat The Archangel, from which he guides.

Several years ago, Melchiondo, who lives on the Delaware River in New Hope, Pa., — an adorable, artsy community right on the banks of the river that separates Pennsylvania and New Jersey — took his hobby of fishing to new heights when he started the guide service. Having spent years “down the shore” with his father fishing and being on the Delaware, fishing has been a part of the guitarist’s life as long as music has been.

The 4 a.m. start time for the charter service is much closer to his bedtime when he’s on the road fulfilling the necessary requirements of his “night job.”

“It’s usually not until 7 a.m.,” a laughing Melchiondo said of his touring bedtime. “You know, I just juggle the two. I just do it. I think years of being in Ween has really made me a master at functioning at my peak while going sleepless for days at a time. I’d prefer to get a night’s rest.”

But that’s not always the case for Melchiondo, who has been a charter captain and licensed guide the past few years and an avid fisherman since he was 10.

“We just played Halloween in New York City wherever that was a couple of weeks ago, and I was chartering the next day and the day before,” he said. “I’m used to having to jump back and forth between the two things. But as I get older, it becomes a little more difficult. But I’m still really good at it. I’m good until about day-three – that’s when the wheels come off.”

Melchiondo won’t have to worry about double dipping between the two later this month when Ween kicks off its highly anticipated three-night run at the Fillmore on Dec. 29.

When it comes to ringing in the New Year, Melchiondo believes Colorado is as good a place as any to do it. “Our Halloween show last year (in Broomfield) was one of the most memorable gigs we ever did,” Melchiondo said. “The people there just love it.

“We have a real nice balanced level of popularity in every city except in a few places where it’s batshit, and Denver is one of them. To do something like three nights at the Fillmore is something really special. So, it’s something we gotta do.”

What the group hasn’t done in a while is put out a studio album. La Cucaracha was the last one the group released, and it came out in 2007. If Melchiondo had his druthers, the group would be in the studio sooner rather than later working on new material, but he also said he’d like to see the group, which he co-founded with Aaron Freeman (aka Gene Ween) play more than 25-30 shows a year, even though that might not happen.

“I think we have plans to do about the same amount of shows next year as we did this year, which was something like 25 or 30,” Melchiondo said. “For what it’s worth, I’m not going to make excuses. You know, I wish we were making a new record. I wish we were doing like a proper tour, but I think we’re playing better than we ever have because I think we’re really, really looking forward to the shows when they pop up. But we definitely are picking and choosing our spots. It’s a lot of outdoor venues, a lot festivals and a lot of New Year’s and Halloween type of stuff. I don’t know what it is; maybe we’re just getting old or something.”

That said, however, Melchiondo wants everyone to know that his “daytime job” isn’t getting in the way of his “nighttime gig.” “It has nothing to do with fishing taking priority over music in my life,” Melchiondo said. “I don’t want to give people that impression at all because it’s nothing at all like that. I have plenty of room in my life for both things and more.” And this New Year’s Eve the only charter Melchiondo will be guiding are the crowds at the Fillmore Auditorium.


:: Ween ::

:: Fillmore Auditorium ::

:: December 29-31 ::


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