Dean Ween Shares Amazing Story Of Using Santana’s Gear
Deaner had been keeping the story of using Carlos Santana’s guitar and gear to himself for over a decade, yet finally felt it was time to share the incredible tale. Check out what the guitarist wrote:
I think enough time has passed where I can finally tell my favorite Ween story of all-time. The businesses and the people involved have long since closed their doors and moved on for good and hopefully the people involved (and Carlos himself, if it comes to that) will have a good sense of humor about this story.
In 2003 Ween released our album Quebec on Sanctuary Records. We worked on the album for two years in our beach house in Holgate, NJ, a rented house in the Pocono Mountains of PA, the garage behind Aaron’s house in Pt. Pleasant, PA, my upstairs guest room, and finally Andrew Weiss’s living room in NJ. We also worked at Water Music in Hoboken, NJ and Graphic Sound Studios in Ringoes, NJ. It was not a great period in our personal lives, Aaron was going through a divorce and I was partying way too hard myself — it was some dark shit. The record is one of my favorites, but it is a depressing album lyrically. It was not an easy record to make either, as evidenced by the amount of places we worked, trying to find the right environment. There are demos available online that I posted where you can hear the process at work, we racked up our normal batch of like 6 dozen songs or more before whittling it down to what was finally released, 15 tunes.
I am a huge fan of Carlos Santana. He is one of my favorite guitarists of all-time. He is playing better these days than ever before in my opinion. His music is more radio friendly, for sure, but as a guitarist he has aged like a fine wine. Only Neil Young, Prince, and a small handful of others can make that claim as they become members of the AARP.
We were working in Andrew’s living room on the song “Transdermal Celebration,” our drummer Claude Coleman had just gotten into a horrific car crash and left us without a drummer for the recording and ensuing tour. Eventually it worked itself out where the record took so long to complete that Claude made enough of a recovery to do the world tour with us supporting Quebec. In the meantime though, even though Claude had played on some of the demos, drumming on the album was left up to me, Josh Freese, and Sim Cain.
“Transdermal Celebration” had been recorded three times by this point, with a drum machine, with Claude playing drums, and the final take on the album which features Josh Freese. It was the eventual single from the album. So, we’re in the middle of this session and I get a phone call from my roadie (nameless) who also worked for a backline company (nameless) that supplied amps, drums, lights, etc. to bands touring in the Northeast. My roadie told me that Carlos Santana’s equipment (including his guitars) had arrived via a trucking company that night at their depot. Carlos was recording an appearance on “Good Morning America” the next morning and his equipment was to be delivered to the set in NYC in a few hours.
What needed to be done was immediately clear to me, I had an opportunity to play the solo on “Transdermal Celebration” through Carlos Santana’s amplifier and guitar. I had one shot at it, it meant taking a hard disk recorder to a storage space where all of Carlos’ stuff was sitting in transit. I arrived at 2 a.m. We (very carefully) unpacked his equipment and set up his stage gear and in one take I recorded the guitar solo for “Transdermal Celebration” (the one that appears on the album, playing through Carlos Santana’s guitar, pedalboard and amplifier. The whole thing took 10 minutes and we were terrified we were going to get caught. A lot of people would have lost their jobs. We got the fuck outta there really fast after that. So the solo on “Transdermal Celebration” was played through all of Santana’s shit in what resembled an early morning bank heist or something…
Of course a story like this requires visual proof, so here it is. Don’t tell anyone about these please.
-Dean Ween 6/14
Sorry Deaner, we just had to share. Take a listen to the version of “Transdermal Celebration” in question: