Dean Ween, more humanly known as Mickey Melchiondo Jr., and one half of Ween, recently sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss his relationship with Prince. Heartbroken by the passing of the Purple One, he explains, “He was my John Lennon.”
When asked about any personal instances with Prince, Deaner went on to tell a chuckling story about a time he and Gene Ween went to Paisley Park Studios. Read the full excerpt below:
I have a Prince anecdote that’s pretty good. Aaron and I got signed to Twin/Tone Records for our first record, “GodWeenSatan.” In 1989 they flew us out to Minneapolis to play a showcase at the Uptown Bar. Soul Asylum was on the label as well, and they were making a record at Paisley Park. The Ween guys from Twin/Tone took us out to Paisley. We came in and they gave us this little personal tour. We came down to Studio A, which was Prince’s personal studio, and that’s what we really wanted to see. That studio wasn’t for hire. Aaron and I snuck in, and I’m looking at all the guitars. His blond Telecaster was there, which is the one he used in Purple Rain.
Suddenly Aaron goes, “Dude!” I look over and he’s hovering over a music stand in the middle of the room with a microphone. Aaron grabbed a page of lyrics and goes, “Look at this!” In obvious Prince handwriting, there was a drawing of an eyeball for the letter “I” that said “Wanna suck you off.” I ran over to look at it, and the next thing I know we’re horse-collared by two security guards. They fucking threw us out in the snow. That day I learned you don’t grab Prince’s lyrics off the mic stand. We were 18 years old and got thrown out of Paisley Park. We had no idea where to go. As far as I know, Soul Asylum got thrown out too [laughs]. We were at the height of our Prince fanaticism at that time. If Aaron hadn’t picked up those lyrics, I would have picked up a guitar and gotten us thrown out.
Dean and Gene Ween had been Prince fans since the very beginning. “As young kids in Ween, it was attainable to imitate Prince. When we got better, we could actually make ourselves sound like Prince a little bit,” explains Dean. He continues, “I always loved his sense of humor. Prince was laughing his ass off when he changed his name to an unpronounceable symbol and made all the newspapers in the world go and get his typeset. That’s genius. He wrote ‘Slave’ on his face. That’s classic. He won every time. Everybody had his back.”
He adds some truth to the reality surrounding Prince’s unfortunate death, explaining: “It’s so horrible every time I see speculation on his life now, or rumors about how he died. As a Prince lover, no one’s supposed to go there. Nobody is supposed to be in his bedroom in Paisley Park. No one is supposed to be talking about his personal affairs. It’s an awful thing. I’m very heartbroken. He was my John Lennon. I was really young when Lennon died, but Prince is someone whose records I bought the day they came out.”
When asked if Dean could say one thing to Prince, he responded eloquently:
Thank you. I think there’s people in the world that if you hang out with them, they’re not gonna let you down. I know if I met Willie Nelson we’d have a beer and smoke a joint. I’ve gotten to do that with George Clinton [laughs]. Then there’s other guys you just don’t want to be around, who have a reputation as being standoffish. I love to ball and can shoot hoops. That whole Dave Chappelle basketball thing, I knew that Prince could ball way before that sketch. I’ve read old interviews and knew that he was a state-champ point guard. I’d just like to ball, hang out and listen to music with him. Or jam with him.
He just seemed like one of those dudes that if you actually got close enough to hang with him, I’m sure he was the greatest guy in the world. By all accounts he was cool as hell. He just wanted his privacy and that’s not a crime. That doesn’t make you freaky. Michael Jackson was freaky. Prince was really strange but just wanted his privacy. Michael Jackson was on some other level. Prince wanted to make music and do it on his own terms. He accomplished that times a million. Nobody can match his output. I actually hope they don’t release those vault tapes, because only Prince could be trusted with those. He was a great editor.
Read the full interview here.
On Sunday, April 30, Prince, and the many incredible artists that we lost in 2016, will be honored in New Orleans during Jazz Fest for a “Funk 2016: A Tribute To Musicians We Lost” tribute concert at the Howlin’ Wolf. Prince, David Bowie, George Michael, Maurice White, Phife Dawg, and more will all be honored with musical collaborations from Michelangelo Carubba, Shira Elias, Sammi Garett, Craig Brodhead, and the entire horn section from Turkuaz, along with Joey Porter, Garrett Sayers, and Lyle Divinsky of The Motet, D.J. Williams of Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Danny Mayer of the Eric Krasno Band, Steveland Swatkins of Allen Stone’s band, Khris Royal and Maurice “Mobetta” Brown.
The Revivalists side project RumpleSTEELskin will open the night, while Brooklyn’s own The London Souls will perform a special super-late-night performance in The Den immediately following the Fu*k 2016 tribute set. Make no mistake, this is sure to be one of the biggest throwdowns during Jazz Fest!
Tickets for this special late-night performance are on sale NOW at this link!