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Music

The Ween song that pays tribute to Parliament-Funkadelic

@TylerGolsen

The massive scope of influence that Parliament-Funkadelic has had on the wider world on music isn’t always given its proper due. Suffice to say, legendary acts like Prince, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and even Dr. Dre wouldn’t have ascended to the heights that they did without a strong helping hand from George Clinton and his psychedelic funk odysseys.

But one of the odder connections to the ‘Give Up the Funk’ legends comes by way of Pennsylvania experimental rock duo Ween. Dean and Gene Ween have famously eclectic tastes, culling elements of everyone from Frank Zappa to the Purple One himself. But guitarist Dean Ween cited Funkadelic guitarist Eddie Hazel as one of his prime influences, right alongside another surprising guitar god.

“Everything that I play is a variation on either ‘Maggot Brain’ [by Funkadelic] or ‘Blue Sky’ [by the Allman Brothers Band],” Deaner told Matt Sweeney during his episode of the Noisey series Guitar Moves back in 2013. Ween, real name Mickey Melchiando, proceeded to do his best Eddie Hazel impression with a series of fiery pentatonic licks on his signature hot rod red Fender Stratocaster. 

To any devoted Ween fan, Melchiando’s love of Hazel shouldn’t come as any surprise. That’s because Ween directly paid tribute to the great guitarist on their fourth album, 1994’s Chocolate and Cheese. Slotted in between the unsettling crunch of ‘I Can’t Put My Finger On It’ and the trippy airiness of ‘Roses Are Free’ sits the instrumental ‘A Tear for Eddie’, which Melchiando wrote in honour of Hazel and his influential playing style.

Hazel had died two years prior to Chocolate and Cheese’s release, but Melchiando was so affected by his playing that he felt the need to pay tribute. ‘A Tear for Eddie’ is one of the most skilful excursions in the entire Ween canon, weaving in intricate guitar lines over a chord progression reminiscent of both ‘Maggot Brain’ and Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Albatross’.

Even though they accrued a reputation for sophomoric humour and bizarre anti-commercial music, ‘A Tear for Eddie’ is the rare Ween song that plays it completely straight. It’s a beautiful instrumental, and a stirring tribute to a six-string legend.

Check out ‘A Tear for Eddie’ down below.