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Published: 2016/12/15

Dean Ween: Les Claypool "Got My Heart Beating Again" During Ween Hiatus

In the midst of his tour and new album with The Dean Ween Group, along with the much-touted Ween reunion tour, Mickey Melchiondo, a.k.a. Dean Ween, has been making the rounds with interviews, and in a recent chat with Culture Creator (via Diffuser), Deaner opened up about his depression after he and Ween partner Aaron “Gene Ween” Freeman parted ways creatively for the hiatus that officially ended earlier this year and how his friend Les Claypool helped pull him out of the depths and get him back into music.

“It was a really unique period in my life,” Melchiondo says of the hiatus. “My band was broken up. My identity as it had always been was gone. All I had known in my life was Ween since I was thirteen years old, and all of a sudden it wasn’t there.” He calls the experience a “spiritual crisis” in which he didn’t even know how to discuss Ween (“Present tense? The past tense? I didn’t think it was over, I refused to grasp the fact that it was over.”) and during which he went through a “severe bout of depression” that “almost killed” him and affected his relationships and even gained him some debt.

To the rescue, however, was Claypool, with whom Melchiondo has a long history, dating back to when Ween and Primus used to play together in the ’90s (the two even almost had a fishing show together). “He is a great, great, friend to me,” Melchiondo says. “Different than me, but a great, great friend. A really all-the-way down-the-line motherfucker. When things go down, you find out who your friends are. I felt like a pariah, in a way. He would not let it stand.” He also notes that Claypool gave him the same advice the bassist took himself during Primus’ hiatus, when he worked to make music with several side projects.

“He got my heart beating again, basically,” Melchiondo says of Claypool’s intervention. “And I owe him forever for that. Because he was really the only one. I mean, maybe not the only one, but the first one for sure.”

Melchiondo also says that his musical future is bright, though. “I feel like my best music is in front of me,” he says. “Anyone might tell you that, but I believe it, I see it. Ween live – we just played the Capitol Theater – it’s the best we’ve ever been.”

Read the full interview here, and read our recent feature on Dean Ween in which he discusses the new album and his creative renaissance. Watch Claypool sit in with The Dean Ween Group below.

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