Gene Ween

Gene Ween

Gene Ween performing with Ween at The Edmonton Events Centre in Edmonton, Alberta on November 17, 2007.
Background information
Birth name Aaron Freeman
Also known as Gene Ween, Gener, Papa
Born (1970-03-17) March 17, 1970
Genres Alternative rock, experimental rock, psychedelic rock
Instruments Vocals, guitar, mandolin, percussion
Associated acts Ween
Gene Ween Band
Notable instruments
Gibson Les Paul

Gene Ween (born March 17, 1970) is the stage name of Aaron Freeman, an American musician and a founding member of the experimental alternative rock group Ween.[1] Freeman, along with childhood friend Dean Ween (Mickey Melchiondo), started the group in the mid-1980s. Freeman announced his departure from Ween in 2012, shortly after releasing Marvelous Clouds, his first solo album. After leaving Ween, he stopped using the name Gene Ween and performed under his birth name Aaron Freeman. In 2014 he formed a new five-piece band called "Freeman."

However, in 2015, Aaron brought back the Gene Ween name for his "Gene Ween Does Billy Joel" concerts, saying it was a positive thing:

"At the end of the day, people know Gene Ween. It’s not anything I should be ashamed of," Freeman said before adding, "I was really having an identity crisis and that happens – just what you said – so it’s important to separate those things. You get lost in who you are. As I grow and get more confident in who I am and my sobriety it’s like, 'Oh yeah, Gene Ween.' It’s a positive thing and it represents the work I did since I was 16."[2]


Main article: Ween

Freeman and Melchiondo met in an eighth grade typing class in 1984, in New Hope, Bucks County, Pennsylvania, where they both grew up. Both of them talked about bands they liked and playing their own music. Soon, they hung out and began jamming, recording most of what they put together. Ween's music slowly progressed from a bedroom-style recording project, eventually signing to a major record label and transforming into a full live band.

In May 2012, Freeman suddenly announced his departure from Ween,[3] as an attempt to rehabilitate himself after years of drug and alcohol abuse, which peaked during Ween's 2011 tour.

Even before his departure from Ween, Freeman had maintained a solo career. He has performed solo concerts with artists such as Jon Anderson of Yes. Around 2008, Freeman launched the Gene Ween Band,[4] where he plays alongside Ween bassist Dave Dreiwitz, and with guitarist Scott Metzger and drummer Joe Russo. In 2012, he released Marvelous Clouds, his first solo album under the name Aaron Freeman. The album consisted entirely of cover versions of Rod McKuen songs.[5]

In 2014, Freeman formed a new full band called Freeman and released an eponymous album of original material with them in August of that year. He continues to tour with Freeman, as well as perform acoustic shows accompanied by Freeman bassist Joe Young.

In 2015, Freeman announced he would be fronting a Billy Joel tribute band that would feature, among others Paul Green and Dan Hickey. Two shows under the banner "Gene Ween Does Billy Joel" are scheduled for Woodstock and Brooklyn.[6]

On May 22, 2015, Freeman joined Umphrey's McGee onstage at the Summer Camp Music Festival under the name 'Godboner' for a set of Ween covers. Freeman was billed as 'Gene Ween' for this appearance.

Personal life

Aaron Freeman lives in Woodstock, New York with his wife Leah Ben-Ari and their son, born in 2005. He has a daughter from a previous relationship.

Freeman has acknowledged a history of drug use,[1][7] but does not often divulge specifics. He speaks openly and in detail about his personal life, and time spent in Ween on Marc Maron's W.T.F. podcast (episode 309).[8]

Selected discography

With Ween
With Freeman
With Z-Rock Hawaii
Solo work


  1. 1 2 "Gene Ween". Retrieved 20 January 2010.
  3. "Aaron Freeman Closes the Book on Ween". 2012-05-29. Retrieved 2012-06-01.
  4. "Gene Ween is OK | Prefix". 2008-12-26. Retrieved 2014-07-22.
  5. "Listening Booth: Gene Ween's Solo Début". The New Yorker. 2012-05-01. Retrieved 2014-07-22.
  6. Freeman, Aaron. "Gene Ween Does Billy Joel". FREEMAN the band. Retrieved 2015-03-03.
  7. Keller, Jason. "Q&A: Gene Ween of Ween | NOW Magazine". Retrieved 2014-07-22.
  8. "WTF with Marc Maron Podcast". Retrieved 2016-03-04.
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