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(Credit: David Oliver)

Music

Dean Ween picked his favourite album of all time

Also known as Deaner, Miggy, Captain Mickey, Mickey Moist, and Dean Ween, Mickey Melchiando is the lead guitarist of the gloriously batshit alt-rock duo Ween. Having been a Stratocaster player since his dad bought him his first Squier Strat when he was a teenager, Melchiando has never looked back. Since that halcyon day, he’s inspired many and will continue to do so for as long as Ween albums are available to purchase or stream. 

Known for shredding on his cherry red Fender Stratocaster, Melchiando is one of the most unique and influential musicians out there. Not many, if any, musicians can claim to have inspired both the hazy Americana of Kurt Vile and the insane underwater antics of a sentient sponge called SpongeBob. 

Over their long and celebrated career, Ween have established an eclectic back catalogue that’s seen them experiment with country, prog, psychedelia, metal and R&B, to name but a few. In addition to their refusal to be placed in the straightjacket of genre, Ween are also famous for their notable sense of humour, and many of their best-loved tracks are imbued with a surreal form of stoner humour that has managed to endear them to both sober and non-sober listeners.

Much of this is down to Dean Ween, who is undoubtedly the band’s driving force, forging his mind-bending songs out in his shack in the backwaters of New Hope, Pennsylvania.

Given that his artistry is such a complex mesh of influences, it has long been a pressing question on the minds of fans as to what is Dean Ween’s favourite album of all time. Luckily for us, he disclosed what his favourite record is, and it may come as something of a surprise. During a 2016 interview with 1Artist1Album, he made the big reveal.

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Deaner’s choice was Sly & The Family Stone’s 1971 album, There’s a Riot Goin’ On. An incredible record, and one of the most eminent in the band’s back catalogue, famously, the recording was dominated by frontman Sly Stone, during a period of elevated drug use and internal tension. It saw the band move away from the psychedelic soul of their earlier music, and explore darker themes, with a more profound sound. The rhythms were more dynamic, metallic sounding drum machines were used, and overdubbing was used heavily. 

Notably, There’s a Riot Goin’ On is a rather pessimistic opus that dives into Stone’s disillusionment with fame and the death of the countercultural dream of the ‘60s. It was written amidst an incredibly paranoid socio-backdrop when America was experiencing unprecedented turmoil as the hopes of the 1950s and ‘60s faded away into the stagnant mess that gave us The Watergate Scandal.

Regardless of the darkness that informed the record, it’s still one of the most swaggering albums ever released. Dean Ween called it the “funkiest thing ever” and added that the album’s lead single, ‘Family Affair’ is the “weirdest, coolest sounding song ever made”.

It just makes sense. Whether it be Pure Guava, The Mollusk or Quebec, the form of trippy funk that Sly & The Family Stone established with There’s a Riot Goin’ On clearly influenced many of Ween’s best moments, giving the band that edge that we love them so dearly for.

Listen to There’s a Riot Goin’ On below.