In case you don’t own a subscription to People, Jesse Eisenberg is the guy nominated for an Oscar for his role as Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. Just like most red-blooded college kids who wander the streets in their bathrobe, it turns out Eisenberg really loves Ween. He’s said this previously, but in a new interview at SPIN he goes much further, offering his “How I discovered Ween” story as well as a track-by-track analysis of the duo’s 1994 album Chocolate & Cheese. He also explains what he enjoys so much about the group in general. Haunting The Chapel pal Hank Shteamer (and well-informed author of the upcoming 33 1/3 book on Chocolate & Cheese) conducted the interview and gently corrected Eisenberg when necessary. Here’s the crux:
I never really liked comedy songs, and Ween has a great way of never making specific jokes — you can’t really tell where the joke is lying. But beyond that, musically they were just fantastic. And since then, I have gotten every album that they’ve made. It’s the only band whose albums I buy. I’m not into music — the only music I like is musical theater, but I have every Ween album.
Do you have a sense of what it is you’re responding to in Ween that you’re not finding elsewhere?
They don’t appease the audience. Also, when you write a musical, all the songs have to have something a little different, because you have to hear them in one night, in one experience, so you try to change it up. You have a song that’s like a rag song; you have a song that’s a little more jazzy; you try to do some different time signatures in songs. But most albums don’t do that. Well, I don’t really know — I don’t know enough about music, but it seems to me like Ween basically does that to the extreme. They have songs that come from so many different genres and they’re only held together by their personality, because the songs don’t reflect each other musically; they don’t reflect each other in theme or lyric, and it doesn’t even sound like the same instruments or vocalists, even though they are. And yet, they’re held together by something else, by some kind of broader spirit or something: a feeling.