Captain Dean Ween-Mickey’s Guide Service (8-5-)
By Ed Condran
Michael Melchiondo has a number of aliases. Friends call him Mickey and he’s perhaps best known as Dean Ween, the guitarist of quirky New Hope based alt-rockers Ween or ‘The Deaner.’
The charismatic Melchiondo has a new tag, skipper. Melchiondo earned his captain’s license three years ago and leads fishing excursions out of Neptune as Mickey’s Guide Service.
“It’s something I love so much,” Melchiondo said while calling from Lavallette, NJ. “I’ve been fishing my whole life. I went to Mariner school (in 2008). I’ve never been happier. When I’m not there, I think about it. I can’t wait to get back out on the water. I’ve been fishing my whole life. My old housemate became a fishing guide and I followed.”
Melchiondo loves fishing as much as making music and he has no problem balancing both.
“I think I would lose my mind if I couldn’t’ do both,” Melchiondo said. “I love fishing during spring and the fall. That’s prime time for me. But I’ve never told our manager that I couldn’t tour because of fishing. It’s a balancing act. Touring is difficult. Performing is amazing. When you’re on the road, you miss your family, you don’t get enough sleep and you eat poorly. But I love everything else about music and I love everything about fishing.”
Melchiondo operates out of Neptune due to proximity and the waters.
“It’s an easy drive down 195,” Melchiondo said. “ It takes me an hour. It’s a breeze for me and the fishing is really good. Our bread and butter are stripers, lots of blue fish, fluke and sea bass. We take what the ocean gives us and there’s plenty in that area.”
Those who go out on Melchiondo’s charters range from serious Ween fans to serious fishermen.
“I have a lot of fans who are into Ween,” Melchiondo said. “There’s also a lot of people who are just into fishing. It’s been a nice balance.”
Melchiondo has no problem dealing with Ween obsessives, who board his boat. “I’m good at handling that,” Melchiondo said. “It helps that we’re very approachable. Our band phone number is on our website. I’ve had some Ween fans want to do things like take photos of my boots. You have those unusual requests from big fans that are super shy and don’t say anything until we come back to shore and they ask if I’ll sign their hat. The great thing about going fishing is that the ocean is very disarming. I also have a first mate, Randy Matlack, who helps deal with everyone. But there’s no barrier between me and those who comes out to fish. It’s just a good time.
Ween, which plays about 35 dates a year, is due to work on a new album. “We’re not close right now (to making a new album),” Melchiondo said. “Maybe we’ll start on something this winter. We’ll get it going again. We’ve been at Ween for 27 years. But (taking out charters ) is still relatively new for me.”
The only other rocker Melchionodo knows, who is also a captain and is constantly fishing is Primus leader Les Claypool. “Les just sent me a photo yesterday,” Melchiondo said. “I don’t know anyone but him who is into this like I am from the music community. He’s probably out on his boat right now as we speak. I wish I was.”
Contact Mickey Melchiondo for a fishing charter by going to Mickey’s Guide Service or by calling 215-693-4215