Last night at The Jazzhaus, five local bands staged a tribute show to the quirky cult band Ween. The gathering proved a reminder of how the Internet can bolster a band's legacy - even when corporate America might wish otherwise.
For those unfamiliar with Ween, the act is the brainchild of Pennsylvania duo Dean and Gene Ween, whose brotherhood is an artistic one rather than a genetic one (think Ramones). Their ongoing musical experiment has cultivated an irreverent demeanor that mixes frat-boy naughtiness with demented satire over the course of a 14-album run.
In 2002, Ween was hired by a major ad agency working for Pizza Hut. The mission was to record a hip new jingle for the fast-food juggernaut's latest product, a pizza known as "The Insider," which had all the cheese baked inside the crust. (Incidentally, this was in no way a product tie-in to Russell Crowe's whistle-blowing drama of the same name.)
Ween submitted a half-dozen prospective musical mixes, and when one was finally approved by Pizza Hut, the band went about crafting the lyrics and melody.
The result was the hilariously catchy "Where'd the Cheese Go?"
The funky ditty featured an inquisitive lead vocal asking that very question while a chorus answered "I don't know."
Pizza Hut was apparently not so amused by the flippant track.
In a 2003 interview with The Onion, Gene Ween revealed, "So the ad agency got fired, and then consequently we got fired. ... The Pizza Hut people opted to use the (announcer) dude with the zoom-in camera on the pizza saying 'Stuffed cheese pizza!'"
After the song was rejected, the band retooled the lyrics and released it on the 2003 album "All Request Live." The track's new title? "Where'd the Mother (Expletive) Cheese Go?"
While the Insider is but a distant memory in the annals of goofy fast-food products, Ween's presumably forgotten track has found new life on the Internet. Had the savory jingle been given its due, it might have become as big a hit as, "I want my baby back, baby back, baby back."