As you take a journey through the discography of New Hope, PA avant-garde alternative band Ween, chances are you’ll hear something that might be a little too familiar. Any given song can seem to wear its influence on the sleeve. You might find yourself asking “Is this Thin Lizzy?” or “Isn’t this just two Prince songs smashed together?” This is due, in part, to the fact that Ween can’t help but pick on the things they love. It’s part parody, part love letter to their inspirations. That is why, when scrolling through images of Ween’s concert posters, we also find some images that we can identify with our pop culture lexicon.
Did You See Me?
This poster here by Jermaine Rogers (hear more from Jermaine on Concert Poster Talk) is a direct lift from the album artwork for Jimi Hendrix’s Are You Experienced? Ween, themselves no strangers to the psychedelic experience and the music there associated, fit perfectly with such a parody. The attention to detail that is payed by Rogers in his imitation of the album cover shows what I love the most about Ween’s magpie-like approach to music. They take what they love (or hate) from the artists they look up to (or in some cases can’t stand) and create something instantly identifiable yet still leaves the viewer with many serious questions. Perhaps the biggest one: what is that thing where Jimi Hendrix should be?
Praise Be to Boognish
That thing, in accordance with the official Ween mythology, is Boognish. To some, Boognish is a god. To other, a demon. According to the sacred text of “Up on Th’ Hill,” Boognish came wielding the scepters of wealth and power and commanded Ween to become a band. Most importantly, Boognish looks cool. It’s an iconic logo that sets Ween apart. It also gives them the opportunity to quickly co-opt any image for their own purposes. Slap a Boog on it and suddenly it’s Ween.
This poster from Emek, for example, is a play on the classic poster FD-26. Not much changed in terms of the general design. The Boognish has simply been inserted into the image. This isn’t a lazy way out, however. Emek has included so much detail into the classic design in order to retool it for Ween’s use. Such touches, like the alteration of the Family Dog logo and the addition of eyeballs in the roses, takes the classic design and dements it. Not to mention the slight irony that a parody of a Family Dog poster was used for a show at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
Ween takes what they want from pop culture and turn it into a bad-trip style that no other artist could replicate. They go beyond parody or imitation. They create something new, yet familiar. Comforting, yet dangerous. As you scroll through the TONS of Ween posters, you can very easily see this attitude reflected in their art. I like to say Ween is a band that has something for everybody, so get looking. You might find your new favorite poster.