At the height of the music video era, largely the late 1990s with the advent of MTV’s Total Request Live (TRL), it was customary, if not expected of a musician to release a music video to go along with a new single. Throughout the decade, virtually everyone, from Nirvana (“Smells Like Teen Spirit”) and Radiohead (“No Surprises,” “Fake Plastic Trees,” “Karma Police) to the Beastie Boys (“Sabotage” “Intergalactic,” “Body Movin'”) and Phish (“Down With Disease”) dabbled with the music video at one point or another. By the end of the decade, music video budgets had skyrocketed, resembling something closer to the budget of a small film. At the same time, a talented crop of young directors got their chance to get noticed.
One music video collaboration brought together the stylings of cult rockers Ween with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the co-creators of the animated series South Park. Ween and Stone/Parker already had a standing friendship, Ween having contributed to an episode of South Park during the series’ second season and all of them having interviewed one another for a feature in the May/June 2000 edition of Mean magazine.
After working with director Spike Jonze on the video for “Spirit of ’76,” which MTV said wasn’t “flashy” enough for the viewers of TRL, Ween linked up with Parker and Stone for “Even If You Don’t” from their 2000 album, White Pepper. Says Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) in a September 2000 interview, “We definitely feel they’re kindred spirits. We get along with them very well.” Take a watch below as Freeman and Michael “Mickey” Melchiondo, Jr. (Dean Ween) talk briefly about their relationship with Stone and Parker (starts at 7:17 mark):
The video directed by Stone and Parker shows Gene and Dean Ween taking their girlfriends out to a club for a special surprise date. After blindfolding their dates and then running up on stage to reveal a song they’ve written especially for them, the girls become a anxious, leaving the table to let their eyes wander around the rest of the room. Though the girls can be seen to be flirting with other guys, Gene and Dean keep belting it out, smiles and all. Watch the music video for “Even If You Don’t” below: