Day 033: If Only I Had Tried It Sooner
A wise professor once said, “I’m always coming to fucking crossroads. But I’m prepared. I brought my nocs. No biggie.” While we can’t always be like him and bring our binoculars with us, we try our best to go down the right path. Sometimes, a decision is made and the alternative doesn’t cross us again for years and years. Whether it be a friend you could’ve met sooner or a sandwich you totally shouldn’t have been afraid of. I find that it occurs to me a lot, so I’m going to dedicate a whole series to stuff I should have tried sooner.
The first subject is the band, Ween. More specifically, their “Chocolate & Cheese” album.
I was just slightly too young to catch them on MTV. I started watching in late 95/early 96, right about the time that they had given up on trying to get mainstream exposure. I definitely caught a couple of their videos on Beavis & Butthead, but it went in one ear and out the other. They weren’t even on the radio and I was listening to the hippest Alternative Rock station in Mid-Michigan! To me, they were just some faceless band that probably wasn’t good enough for my attention. In fact, I got the name mixed up with Winger an awful lot.
But holy hell would it have been up my alley. At the ripe age of 10, Zach and I were already balls deep in Joke Rock. We relished in the lyrics of The Offspring, Weird Al, Bloodhound Gang, and yes, ICP [This is a fact that Zach wears with pride, while I only admit it when I want to freak out some New Yorkers that never met a Juggalo before]. Our favorite kind of music was whatever had the most jokes and even more swear words. If only we had discovered Chocolate & Cheese sooner, we could have been sharing headphones, giggling to “The HIV Song”. We could’ve turned down “Baby Bitch” every time we’d hear a parent approaching the hallway. We could have annoyed the piss out of my sister by playing “Candy” on repeat. The world could’ve been our oyster, but instead we listened to Zach’s scratched Green Jelly CD.
As the years passed, the album crossed my path in many ways. In middle school, my IGN profile listed my interests as “Chocolate, Cheese, Chocolate and Cheese”. Some rando sent me a picture of the album and I quickly clicked off of it, worried that my mom might think it was porno. Years later, I drunkenly professed my love of both chocolate and cheese to some strangers at a party and they went off talking about how great that album was. I had no idea what they were talking about, so I wandered into a corner somewhere.
It wasn’t until I was the ripe age of 22. I sat in the afternoon din of a smoke-filled living room. A friend decided to put on “Buenas Tardes Amigo”. It’s an innocuous western ballad that only gets more ridiculous as it drags on. Spanning over 7 minutes, the song’s story moves at a back-breakingly slow pace. After a couple of minutes, I started cackling uncontrollably. Who in the hell is this and why haven’t I heard this sooner? It was, of course, “Chocolate & Cheese” and my friend mercifully played the album from the beginning. I was instantly hooked. In a weeks time, I had bought the vinyl and started exploring the rest of their catalouge. Ween was unlike any band I had ever heard before. They traverse between every genre under the sun with ease. Their musical talent is only matched by their childishness. They quickly became my favorite band and they still hold that title to this day.
I’ve spent most of the past decade kicking myself for not discovering them sooner. They could have helped dispel my Limp Bizkit phase. They could have provided me with optimism, comfort and laughter when I needed it most. I certainly tried my best to make up for lost time. In the past 4 years, I’ve seen them live 4 times. I determined long ago that if they were ever playing in a stones throw distance, I would be there. There were quite a few crossroads in my life that would have led me to Ween sooner. If only I had brought my nocs, I would have had a happier adolescence.