Last Monday, November 26th, 2018, Stephen Hillenburg—the animator, cartoonist, and marine biologist who created beloved children’s cartoon SpongeBob Squarepants—passed away at the age of 57 due to complications from his battle with ALS.
For nearly 20 years, SpongeBob Squarepants has been making superfans out of successive generations of children. What began as a Nickelodeon series has since spawned several massively successful merchandise lines, theme park rides, video games, a pair of feature films (with a third on its way), and even a critically acclaimed Broadway musical featuring original music by David Bowie, Brian Eno, T.I., The Flamin Lips, Steven Tyler and Joe Perry, John Legend, and many more.
However, while SpongeBob has gone on to rope in an astounding roster of musical talent for its various iterations throughout the years, one band, in particular, served an integral role in the conception and creation of the show: Ween.
As Mickey Melchiondo (a.k.a. Dean Ween) remembers in a Facebook post marking Hillenburg’s passing,
I got a call a long time ago from a marine biologist that said he wanted to start a cartoon inspired by Ween’s album The Mollusk. His name was Steve Hillenburg and his idea was to create a Bugs Bunny type cartoon on the bottom of the ocean floor. Ween had been on tour for a long year and we ended up recording and writing the song in one night at Greg Frey‘s studio. It was to teach kids how too tie their shoes and we wrote it really fast and mailed it back on X-mas eve and for once they said “don’t change anything about its, it’s perfect.” It remains one of our proudest legacies and we went on to do a lot of work together with SpongeBob, and the show went on to be the best cartoon of 2 generations. So this is for you Steve. The show wasn’t even on the air at the time mind you.
In addition to drawing inspiration from The Mollusk and commissioning “Loop De Loop” for the show, Hillenburg and the SpongeBob team featured The Mollusk track “Ocean Man” in the closing credits of The SpongeBob Squarepants Movie (2004).
You can watch the instructional shoe-tying tune in question below:
SpongeBob [Ween] – “Loop De Loop”
You can listen to The Mollusk, the Ween album that helped inspire Spongebob Squarepants, in full below:
Ween – The Mollusk (1997) – Full Album
Also of note, in the wake of Hillenburg’s passing this weekend, nearly 600,000 people (and counting) have signed a petition to request a performance of the David Glen Eisley-penned SpongeBob favorite “Sweet Victory”—performed in a stadium rock show setting in the show—at the upcoming Super Bowl LIII Halftime Show on Sunday, February 3rd, 2019. It’s definitely a reach, but we can’t deny the fact that it would be a perfect song for the occasion. Listen to “Sweet Victory” from the original show below:
SpongeBob Squarepants [David Glen Eisley] – “Sweet Victory”
On Saturday, December 15th and Sunday, December 16th, Ween will close out their 2018 touring schedule with a pair of performances at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, NY. In the spirit of the holiday season, the band will also host a toy drive at the show benefitting a local non-profit. For more information about Ween’s toy drive at The Capitol Theatre, head here.