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The Dean Ween Group is the first project Mickey Melchiondo launched during the four years Ween was inactive in the 2010s. Melchiondo adopted the name Dean Ween when he was a teenager in New Hope, Pennsylvania. He and friend Aaron Freeman — who called himself Gene Ween — formed Ween when they were just 14 years old, never imagining that they’d be saddled with those monikers for the rest of their lives. Ween, a post-punk prank infatuated with Prince, turned into a cult phenomenon in the ’90s, gathering momentum as the band jumped from independents to the majors, earning a reputation as a killer live band along the way. Melchiondo started to moonlight in the ’90s, mainly with the hardcore band Moistboyz but also appearing on records by Yoko Ono, Ben Vaughn, Pigface and Queens of the Stone Age. Ween kept going until 2012, when Freeman left the band. After a few years, Melchiondo regrouped with the Dean Ween Band, who released their first album in the fall of 2016, several months after he reunited with Freeman for several concerts.