Last year, I interviewed Claude Coleman Jr. for the first time. Back then, there were no plans–that the public knew of, anyway–for Ween to reunite. But reunite they did, much to the delight of a huge number of people who can’t get enough of the band’s clever, off-the-wall songs. I caught up with Claude again a few weeks ago, to get his take on the reunion and find out where he’s been since we last spoke. It was a good conversation, set against the backdrop of a noisy bar and tempered by the balm of good whiskey, and the result is here, if you’d like to take a look. I think it was a pretty neat interview. I hope you enjoy it too.
A few weeks ago, I packed up my husbands mobile recording apparatus and headed over to Claude Coleman, Jr.’s place to catch up with him about all the things going on in his musical world these days. Since the tragic demise of Ween in 2012, Claude has stayed busy, moving to Asheville from his home state of New Jersey, making albums with his band Amandla, and recording drums for more bands than I can even try to remember.
In the interview, Claude shares funny stories about some of Ween’s songs, including one that involves Aaron Freeman (Gene Ween) being locked in a trunk while his vocals were being recorded. He talks about his new life in North Carolina and the music he’s making here, and takes us on a trip from the very beginning of his time in Ween to his future with his latest project, Amandla.
It was a fun interview, often meandering all over the place before circling back around to the near-forgotten questions. Claude Coleman is clearly a man who appreciates his success, and holds his fans and fellow musicians in high regard. Underneath the humor and the occasional glimpses of melancholy, there’s a constant thread of gratitude for the life he’s been able to live, and that made the interview that much more impressive to me.
In case you missed it, I’m working on my second book, another collection of words. This is going to be the first piece in the collection; there’s a story behind it, but I’m not telling it here. If I decide to tell, I’ll put it in the book. This was originally written in early November, 2010.
Leonard Cohen Never Made Me Smile Before
Or, Ween Might Just Be the Death of My Soul
and indecipherable grin
laid out your magic hands
offered something like a sacrifice
something like a gift
you are a tragedy
waiting to happen
you are every single thing
i’ve walked away from
you are the monsters in my bed
you are the ghosts inside my closet
you are the shadows, bright and vicious teeth
waiting by the door
you are the night
you are imagination
you are terror, secrets, rage-
none of these.
you are the soundtrack
singing me to sleep
you are the space and time between
that lets me breathe
you are the long, slow walk
between then and now
you are breath and taste and waiting