Dee Calhoun Announces New Novella Jesus, Devil, Deed Due Aug. 9

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 27th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

dee calhoun

It’s always awesome to see an artist hit a real creative stride, and though Dee Calhoun‘s main band, Iron Man, aren’t doing much at the moment, the vocalist known for his Halfordian shriek is hardly letting that slow him down. 2015 saw the issue of his first book project in a collection of short stories, and on Aug. 9, he’ll follow that up with a new novella titled Jesus, Devil, Deed. This is taking place even as Calhoun also prepares for the Argonauta Records release of his second solo album, Go to the Devil, which is landing on a quick turnaround from his 2016 just-because-it’s-unplugged-don’t-mean-it-ain’t-metal debut, Rotgut (review here).

So yeah, nothing about this not to like, as far as I’m concerned. Creativity flourishes, abounds and whatnot. Info about the book follows, as posted by the author himself:

dee calhoun jesus devil deed

Argonauta Recording Artist Dee Calhoun (aka “Screaming Mad Dee”), the voice of doom metal legends IRON MAN, has announced the release of his novella JESUS, DEVIL, DEED.

This novella marks Dee’s second venture into fiction writing; his first book, a collection of short stories called TALES OF THE SCREAMING AND MAD, was released in late 2015.

JESUS, DEVIL, DEED is the story of a broken man who petitions Christ for the return of his once devoted soul, so that he may sell it to Satan. The story is an expansion of the tale told in Dee’s song “Jesus, the Devil, the Deed,” which will appear on his upcoming album GO TO THE DEVIL, due later this year from Argonauta Records.

“It’s a story of desperation, exasperation, and of where one should ultimately place one’s faith and dependence,” Dee said. “It began as a song, and the song only tells a very condensed, basic version of the story. It’s almost like a twisted, modern version of the Crossroads myth, and it was great fun to flesh the tale out to see how the events fully unfolded.”

JESUS, DEVIL, DEED continues what has been a very productive year creatively for the singer/songwriter from Frederick, MD. In addition to this novella and GO TO THE DEVIL, Dee has also narrated Bruce Moore’s upcoming Christian Metal documentary METAL MISSIONARIES (due September 1st), and is fronting new Maryland-based heavy rockers THEE IRON HAND.

JESUS, DEVIL, DEED will be available on Wednesday August 9, 2017 via Amazon.com, CreateSpace eStore, and other online retailers. Dee will also have copies available at his live shows.

News regarding this and other things Dee-related can be found on his website, www.screamingmaddee.com.

https://www.facebook.com/screamingmaddee/
http://www.screamingmaddee.com

Dee Calhoun, Jesus, Devil, Deed teaser video

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Friday Full-Length: Iron Man, The Passage

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Iron Man, The Passage (1994)

Originally issued on Halloween 1994 by venerable and long-defunct purveyor Hellhound Records — see also: The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Count Raven, Wretched, Blood Farmers, Unorthodox and Revelation; woof — the second full-length from Iron Man, The Passage (reissue review here), should rightly be considered among the defining documents of Maryland doom. It is a record so direct in conveying its influence from and love for Black Sabbath, so unabashed in its worship, that it serves as a near constant reminder that guitarist “Iron” Alfred Morris III started the band back in 1988 specifically to pay homage to the metallic overlords. Formed roughly concurrent to the winding down of Morris‘ prior outfit, Force — whose lone long-player was issued in 1991 and whose discography was compiled onto a single limited release earlier this year by Blood and Iron Records (want) — Iron Man made their debut just one year before The Passage showed up, offering an early mission statement in 1993’s Black Night (discussed here; reissue review here).

Morris‘ guitar tone and ultra-Iommic riffing style, even at that most formative stage of the band, was the defining element of the group. That remains the case today, but a key difference between Black Night and The Passage was a swap in frontmen, and where Black Night was vocalized by Rob Levey, who would later found and curate the Stoner Hands of Doom series of festivals, the 11-track/43-minute The Passage brought in Dan Michalak as singer, and introduced a different style to the context of Iron Man‘s Sabbath worship. One doesn’t have to go far to hear it — and by that I mean it’s evident on the first riff of opener “The Fury,” which draws directly from “Neon Knights,” the corresponding launch-cut of Sabbath‘s 1980 LP, Heaven and Hell (discussed here), which was the beginning of the band’s era fronted by Ronnie James Dio. That’s a considerable shout for Iron Man to make, and would’ve been even in 1994 — Sabbath having reunited with Dio for the triumphant Dehumanizer, which seems to be referenced on The Passage in the foreboding synth of the titular interlude that precedes “Iron Warrior,” in 1992 before working once again with Tony Martin to issue Cross Purposes earlier in ’94 — but Michalak‘s lyrical patterning brazenly follows suit from Morris‘ set rhythm. We hear “Ride out,” references to “the night,” “fire,” hidden knowledge, and other Dio-style themes. Throughout the rest of The Passage, the play seems to be intended to fluidly move between the Ozzy and Dio eras. In the second half of “Unjust Reform,” a sudden stop brings a no less full-on take off from “Snowblind,” while the bit of finger and grander unfolding of “Waiting for Tomorrow” recall some of the more epic Dio-fronted tracks ahead of “Tony Stark” — get it? they didn’t call it “Iron Man” — shooting into the void and evil minds plotting destruction in closer “End of the World,” which caps with canned crowd noise to answer that at the beginning of “The Fury.”

These are just a few of The Passage‘s more Sabbathian moments, but they’re by no means the only ones, and even in the general perspective of judgment from which the social commentary of “Unjust Reform” and the later “Waiting for Tomorrow,” “Time for Indecision” and “Freedom Fighters” stems — notions of man’s inhumanity to man, and so on — Iron Man are willfully adopting the methods of their forebears. Yet, The Passage is more than derivation. At a time when their chief inspiration was crisp and overproduced with a huge echoing snare like so many of their era, Iron Man took a grittier approach, and their identity was cast as much in the raw thrust of “Iron Warrior” — a highlight performance there from drummer Gary Isom, whose CV includes stints in Pentagram, co-founding Spirit Caravan and a current position as guitarist in Weed is Weed, among many others — as in the cover art with a lighting effect that seems to show Morris in flames as he plays guitar. I’ll gladly argue that image stands among the most righteous in American doom, every bit worthy of the gray-on-black logo of Saint Vitus‘ self-titled debut or the line-drawing that would adorn Pentagram‘s Relentless album in iconic terms, but the point is that for Iron Man, even the artwork shows what it’s all about. Yes, it’s a full band, with Michalak responsible for conveying the lyrics, Isom pounding away behind the chug of “Time for Indecision,” and bassist Larry Brown (also ex-Force) in the Geezer Butler role anchoring the low end, but it’s Morris‘ project through and through, and he leads the way accordingly.

The guitarist remains among the most pivotal figures in American doom. Though Hellhound Records is long gone, Shadow Kingdom Records has stepped up to reissue many of Iron Man‘s earlier works (it’s their version of The Passage in the Bandcamp player above) and Iron Man released I Have Returned (review here) through the label in 2009 before swapping out singer Joe Donnelly for “Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun and signing to Rise Above for 2013’s South of the Earth (review here), which remains their latest offering. They got to the UK, playing internationally for the first time to support that album, and continue to perform local shows in Maryland with the lineup of MorrisCalhoun, bassist Louis Strachan and drummer Jason “Mot” Waldmann, but don’t really tour, and a series of health concerns seem to have sidelined larger activity. I’m not 100 percent sure what the situation is there, but obviously one wishes Morris and the rest of the band nothing but the best and a full return to stage and/or studio productivity soon. As anyone who dug into South of the Earth could tell you, Iron Man still have plenty more to say, and in a world that’s finally caught up to their ethic of Sabbathian homage, they’ve never been more relevant than they are now.

As always, I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading and for listening.

Next week is the Quarterly Review. I’ve been working on setting up the back end for the last few days, and this weekend, as I also travel to the NY/NJ area to see a Yankee game (tonight) and family (tomorrow), I’ll be starting the actual process of digging into the 50 records that will be covered between next Monday and Friday. It’s already been a lot of work but I immediately regret not doing a sixth day this time around and maybe even a seventh. As I’ve been so busy the last couple months concerning myself with things like losing my job and the impending Pecan due in October, there’s a buildup of album folders on my desktop and mail piled high on my actual desk of records that want covering.

I wish I could get to everything. Sincerely.

But I’ll do the best I can and because I’m a flop at scheduling, there’s already other stuff slated for the days early in the week of the 17th where the otherwise extra Quarterly Review days would go. Fair enough, and at least it’s good. I’ve also got a bunch of premieres and whathaveyou slated for this week coming, so here are my notes as they stand now, subject to change without notice:

Mon.: Quarterly Review day 1; Fungus Hill video premiere.
Tue.: Quarterly Review day 2; Demon Eye track premiere/album review.
Wed.: Quarterly Review day 3; Salem’s Bend video premiere.
Thu.: Quarterly Review day 4; Arduini/Balich Six Dumb Questions
Fri.: Quarterly Review day 5.

If I can, I might just give myself a break on that last day and not slate anything else, roll with whatever news I’ll inevitably be behind on by then and the Friday Full-Length post, but we’ll see what comes in. I’m already about two weeks later on the Quarterly Review than I’d prefer to be, but whatever. Nobody cares except me. I have to keep reminding myself of that. Constantly. Nobody knows the arbitrary schedules I try to keep, and even if they knew, it wouldn’t matter. No one cares.

There’s a sad kind of freedom in that.

Speaking of sad freedom, if you’re in the US, I hope you had an enjoyable and safe July 4 celebration and that nobody got their hand blown off, etc. The Patient Mrs., the Little Dog Dio, the impending Pecan and I have been at the beach all week — the plus side of not having a job is being able to get up here and see sunrises like this one yesterday — and though I’m out of clean laundry and will be day-twoing it in these socks, it’s been an utter pleasure. We’ll be here until early Monday morning and then back home to Massachusetts, where no doubt copious errands will need to be run.

Whatever you’re up to this weekend, I hope it’s a great and also safe time. I’ll be writing in the passenger seat along the I-95 corridor if you need me, so yeah, that should be interesting. Thanks for reading and please check out the forum and the radio stream.

The Obelisk Forum

The Obelisk Radio

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Thee Iron Hand Post New Demo & Announce First Live Show

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 3rd, 2017 by JJ Koczan

thee iron hand

When Thee Iron Hand made their existence public back in May with the unveiling of the track ‘Lungful of Blood,’ the Maryland doom four-piece threatened that they’d make their way to the stage for the first time this summer. Well, it’s hot and humid as shit in Frederick, so it must be summer, and we now know where and when the live debut from the supergroup with members of Iron Man, Ironboss and The Hidden Hand (you can see the lineup below) will take place. Thee Iron Hand hit the stage next Friday, July 14, at the Shamrock Inn in Baltimore, in the considerable company of Weed is Weed and Mangog.

weed is weed mangog thee iron handOne could hardly think of more appropriate compatriots for Thee Iron Hand to play their first show, particularly if the running theme of the night is “pedigree.” Weed is Weed, of course, is fronted by Maryland doom godfather Dave Sherman, of Earthride and Spirit Caravan infamy, and Mangog features in its lineup former Iron Man drummer Mike Rix and Beelzefuzz/ex-Revelation bassist Bert Hall, Jr., so indeed, on the level of dudes-in-bands-who-were/are-also-in-other-bands, it makes an awful lot of sense. And I’ve no doubt it’ll be a damn good time, front to back across the entirety of evening. Also, it’s free. So there’s that too.

To mark the occasion, Thee Iron Hand have posted a second rehearsal demo clip, this one featuring a minute of a track given the uncomfortable-sounding title “Pissing Chrome.” You can once again hear Thee Iron Hand straddling the line between heavy rock and metal here, and I’m increasingly interested to find out where they’ll ultimately fall on that scale when they hit the studio for a first outing of one sort or another. Presumably we’ve got a little ways to go before they get there, but when I hear more in that regard, I’ll let you know.

For now, enjoy:

Thee Iron Hand, “Pissing Chrome” rehearsal outtake

“The track is about perseverance, not letting obstacles interfere, and reveling in the joy of accomplishment.” — Dee Calhoun

(lyrics: Calhoun; music: Crocco, Falkinburg, Kennedy) c. 2017

Thee Iron Hand is:
Screaming Mad Dee (Iron Man) – voice
Matt Crocco (Lifetime Shitlist, Ironboss) – guitar
Bruce Falkinburg (The Obsessed, The Hidden Hand) – bass
Patrick Kennedy (Ironboss) – drums

Thee Iron Hand on Thee Facebooks

Thee Iron Hand on YouTube

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Maryland Doom Fest 2017 Adds Second Venue & Expands Lineup

Posted in Whathaveyou on June 7th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Exciting news from Frederick as Maryland Doom Fest 2017 announces expansion into a second venue. Guido’s Speakeasy is about half a block down the street from Cafe 611 and a cool, tiny, back-room kind of place that’s a cool spot to catch bands. Last year, Akris and King Buffalo (among others) played while the fest was going on, and this year, MDDF seems just as content to fold the Guido’s doings for the night into its own busy schedule. Makes sense to me. The headliner for the show is an otherwise decent band with a shitty name who have a new record out, and the bottom of the lineup is perfect with Bailjack and Thousand Vision Mist both acts featuring recognizable veterans of the local scene. Good stuff all around. Except for that headliner’s name.

The fest is just a couple weeks away. I regret to inform that I won’t be attending or covering this year, as had been my intent. One’s grandmother only turns 102 once, and frankly, given the shape ol’ girl is in, I don’t dare miss it. Nonetheless I’d like to say out loud what an absolute fucking honor it’s been to be among the presenters for this year’s Maryland Doom Fest and how thrilling it is to see this fest emerge as a major presence in the epicenter of MD doom that is Frederick. It’s actually just what that spot needed in name and execution. Couldn’t be more perfect. I hope it all goes off without a hitch, and a personal thanks to JB Matson, Mark Cruikshank, and all involved for putting my logo on the poster. Again, it’s an honor.

Here’s the lineup and info for that side-show, and one more time, the schedule for the fest proper, just because it’s awesome:

maryland-doom-fest-2017-poster

The Maryland Doom Fest and Leftover Pizza Productions Presents

Saturday, June 24
Guido’s Speakeasy
543 N Market St, Frederick, Maryland 21701

[Five White Dudes in a Band Called] Black Pussy: 10:30- 11:30
Black Dominia: 9:30-10:15
Brother Ox: 8:30-9:15
Thousand Vision Mist: 7:45-8:15
Bailjack: 7-7:30

MARYLAND DOOM FEST 2017 LINEUP:

**PRE FEST PARTY THURS JUNE 22
• Valkyrie 1055 – 1155
• Beastmaker 1000 – 1045
• Borracho 915 – 950
• Weed Is Weed 830 – 905
• Sweet Heat 745 – 820
• Spillage 700 -735

FRIDAY JUNE 23
• Captain Beyond 1210 – 130
• Lo Pan 1110 – 1200
• Apostle of Solitude 1020 – 1100
• Faith In Jane 930 – 1010
• Beelzefuzz 840 – 920
• Wretch 750 – 830
• Demon Eye 705 –740
• Brimstone Coven 620 – 655
• Black Manta 535 – 610
• Sierra 445 – 525

SATURDAY JUNE 24
• The Skull 1215 – 130
• Bang 1110 – 1205
• Wo Fat 1020 – 1100
• Earthride 930 – 1010
• The Watchers 840 – 920
• Hollow Leg 755 – 830
• Serpents of Secrecy 710 – 745
• King Bison 625 – 700
• Heavy Temple 540 – 615
• The Well 455 – 530
• Witches of God 410 – 445
• Black Tar Prophet 325 – 400
• Conclave 235 – 315

SUNDAY JUNE 25
• [Headliner] 1140 – 1245
• The Atomic Bitchwax 1045 -1130
• Freedom Hawk 955 – 1035
• Lightning Born 905 – 945
• Lifetime Shitlist 815 – 855
• Akris 730 – 805
• Burn Thee Insects 645 – 720
• Thonian Horde 600 – 635
• Cavern 515 – 550
• Old Blood 430 – 505
• Horehound 345 – 420

https://www.facebook.com/events/254328948376115/
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-maryland-doom-fest-2017-weekend-passes-tickets-30207219607
https://www.facebook.com/MdDoomFest/
https://www.facebook.com/events/1794418777500202/

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Dee Calhoun Posts Cover Art, Info and Teaser for Go to the Devil

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

dee calhoun

Go to the Devil, the second second solo album from Iron Man vocalist Dee Calhoun, is set to release later this year via Argonauta Records. The record was first announced here in the early hours of 2017, but more info has started to surface about the answer to last year’s Rotgut (review here) debut outing, including the cover art and a teaser clip that features multiple tracks which would seem to find the acousti-metal style of Calhoun‘s prior outing, informed by country and folk blues as it was, well intact. Of course, the power of his voice goes without saying at this point, or at least it should for anyone who’s heard his work with Iron Man or who caught wind of the first outing.

Of further note is bringing Iron Man bassist Louis Strachan into the studio as he’s become a regular accompaniment for Calhoun on stage, and I should probably also mention that it’s only been days since Calhoun‘s new project, Thee Iron Hand, was announced, which brings him together with members of The Hidden HandIronboss and Lifetime Shitlist. More info on that is here. The current status of Iron Man seems to be somewhat up in the air.

Argonauta sent this down the PR wire:

dee-calhoun-go-to-the-devil

DEE CALHOUN reveals new album teaser and cover artwork

“Screaming Mad” Dee Calhoun, the voice of doom legends Iron Man, is nearing completion of his sophomore solo release, entitled Go to the Devil. The album, which will be released via Argonauta Records later this year, is the follow-up to Dee’s 2016 solo release Rotgut.

Dee will be joined on this album by Iron Man bandmate Louis Strachan on bass. Dee will handle vocal, acoustic guitar, and percussion duties.

Go to the Devil, like Rotgut before it, is being recorded in Dee’s home studio The Dustbuster. Mastering will be handled by Doug Benson at Commodore Recording Studio in Thurmont MD.

The track listing for Go to the Devil is as follows:

Common Enemy
Bedevil Me
Born (One-Horse Town)
The Final Stand of the Fallen
Go to the Devil
Me Myself and I
The Lotus Field is Barren
Jesus, the Devil, the Deed
The Ballad of the Dixon Bridge
Your Face
Dry Heaves & Needles

The album’s cover is by Dee Calhoun, based upon his own concept.

www.screamingmaddee.com
https://www.facebook.com/screamingmaddee/
www.argonautarecords.com

Dee Calhoun, Go to the Devil album teaser

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Thee Iron Hand: New Band with Members of Iron Man & The Hidden Hand to Debut this Summer

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 17th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Let’s face it: It’s hard to speculate what a band might become based on their lineup and a minute-long snippet of a rehearsal room recording. They haven’t even played a live show, so I’m not going to try to guess at the range of what Thee Iron Hand might shoot for as they set to writing songs with an intent toward making a stage debut this summer ahead, presumably — or perhaps coinciding with — a first studio venture.

That said, I do think it’s fair to be excited at the prospect of what a new band with members of Iron Man, Ironboss and The Hidden Hand might be able to accomplish together, and so as one sees Bruce Falkinburg (ex-The Hidden Hand, ex-The Obsessed) teaming up with Ironboss guitarist Matt Crocco and drummer Patrick Kennedy and the three-piece bringing Iron Man frontman Dee Calhoun on board to be the voice of the band, yeah, that’s some fodder for speculation right there. All the more so with that minute of rehearsal jam to go on, which you can hear below in a piece of a song called “Lungful of Blood.”

I guess the upshot here is there’s much more to come, so stay tuned. I’d be a little bit surprised if these guys didn’t wind up on the bill one way or another for Maryland Doom Fest next month, provided they’re ready even to do a short set, but beyond that, I’ll post more when I have more. In the meantime, I chased down Calhoun for some more info on how Thee Iron Hand came together and you can see what he had to say under the lineup info, which follows here:

thee iron hand

Thee Iron Hand – Lungful of Blood

Members/former members of legendary acts The Obsessed, Iron Man, Ironboss, and The Hidden Hand have joined to form Thee Iron Hand. The lineup is:

Screaming Mad Dee (Iron Man) – voice
Matt Crocco (Lifetime Shitlist, Ironboss) – guitar
Bruce Falkinburg (The Obsessed, The Hidden Hand) – bass
Patrick Kennedy (Ironboss) – drums

Dee Calhoun on Thee Iron Hand:

“Matt was putting feelers out for a singer for this project that he, Bruce, and Patrick had going on. He approached me regarding it, and once it became clear that Iron Man was going to be out of commission for a while, I jumped at it. They pretty much already had songs written and arranged, all I needed to do was write lyrics and melodies. The styles are meshing very, very well. The vibe is a little different that a lot of what I’ve done before, but I welcome that and think people are really going to dig it.”

The quartet will be hitting the live stage beginning in Summer 2017.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrzOQMWnSXZxNWkaH_cFScA

Thee Iron Hand, “Lungful of Blood” rehearsal outtake

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The Obsessed Interview with Scott “Wino” Weinrich: Declaring the Sacred

Posted in Features on April 19th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

the obsessed Photo-Susie-Costantino

Of all the events that might’ve taken place in doom this decade, I don’t know if The Obsessed putting out a record was the least likely, but it had to be somewhere on the list. And the road that brought the legendary Maryland-doom-agenda-setters to the point of releasing their Relapse Records debut, Sacred (review here), is suitably winding. Never mind the fact that it’s been 23 years since the last time the unit founded and fronted by Scott “Wino” Weinrich (Saint VitusSpirit CaravanThe Hidden HandPremonition 13Shrinebuilder, etc.) offered up what most probably figured was their final studio outing, 1994’s The Church Within — it’s been half a decade since this reunion got underway, beginning with a set in the Netherlands at Roadburn 2012 (review here).

In the years since, The Obsessed has receded and come to the fore again. Weinrich was still fronting Saint Vitus at the time in support of that band’s reunion offering, Lillie: F-65 (review here), and though that tenure would end unceremoniously following a well-publicized drug arrest in Norway late in 2014, it was the three-piece Spirit Caravan that he went back to first, reunited with bassist Dave Sherman, also of Earthride and Weed is Weed and eventually bringing on board Brian Costantino in place of original drummer Gary IsomSpirit Caravan toured and threatened a new record, but before they could get there, they announced early last year that Spirit Caravan was now The Obsessed and they’d be continuing under the moniker Wino first put to use in 1980.

Fair enough. More tumult followed after this three-piece hit the studio with Frank “The Punisher” Marchand to track what they’d come to call Sacred, with Wino and Sherman parting ways and The Obsessed reforming for a short time as a double-guitar four-piece featuring former The Hidden Hand bassist/vocalist Bruce Falkinburg before once more paring back to a trio of WeinrichCostantino and bassist Reid Raley, also of Arkansas post-sludgers RwakeThe Obsessed had done gigs all along with Raley in the lineup, including Maryland Deathfest, but in bringing him on board full-time, the band seems to have settled the issue as much as these things are ever settled, and though the chaos surrounding Sacred is palpable, the album itself is treated fitting to its title.

That is to say, while the process by which it came about and its aftermath have been anything but, the actual record and the songs that comprise Sacred are fluid, unconfused, progressive, and most of all — heavy. Fast or slow, light or dark, they bear the hallmarks of Weinrich‘s songwriting style, and whether they’re playing toward bluesy convention or bridging the how-is-this-still-so-wide-when-we-know-all-doomers-are-grown-up-punks gap of doom and punk, The Obsessed circa 2017 are living up to and pushing forward one of the genre’s most storied and influential legacies. Whatever the future might hold for the band, Sacred pays for its unlikeliness in the sheer quality of its craft and execution, and when this year is over, there’s no question it will stand as a landmark for even more than the simple fact that it exists — though that’s not to take away from that either, because the fact that it exists remains pretty fucking impressive.

The Obsessed are on tour now in the US with Karma to BurnFatso Jetson and Lo-Pan. Dates are posted here.

I had the first slot of a press day to speak with Weinrich about making the album… and a terrible connection. There was a lot lost of our conversation to the digital ether of crackles, pops, fadeouts. We got disconnected twice. Still, I did my best to recover what I could of the interview and it turned out to be plenty.

You’ll find the results below, with my thanks for reading.

THE OBSESSED PHOTO SUSIE COSTANTINO

The Obsessed Interview with Scott “Wino” Weinrich

Take me through the decision to move from Spirit Caravan to The Obsessed. How did that come about and what went into that for you?

Spirit Caravan was with Dave Sherman and then we had a succession of drummers. Where I met the current drummer for The Obsessed, Brian Costantino, was actually many years ago. He was a friend of the band when The Obsessed was together back in the ‘70s and ‘80s and he and I had not seen each other for quite a while, so we put Spirit Caravan back together we had Ed Gulli playing drums…

So Brian came around and I didn’t realize in the time that we had been apart that he had played the drums. He came around for rehearsal and Brian sat down behind the kit and we had a little jam and that’s kind of what started the whole thing rolling because the wheels are coming off the wagon a little bit with Spirit Caravan and Eddie didn’t want to tour and there’s some other issues and so I just looked prior and so BrIan was pretty much never in Spirit Caravan. Now Sherman’s on the record, but some other things happened and we trying to move ahead without him. So basically when I met Brian I realized after our first couple of camps that Brian grew up on The Obsessed. It was his favorite band and in the years we had been apart from each other, he had become quite a successful drummer and he was tired of what he was doing which was kind of like cover stuff and playing with some local bands.

He had basically just retired from playing and then I came along and gave him a call one evening and was like man do you want to reform The Obsessed and he said, “Yeah let’s do this.” You know, it’s the kind of chemistry that really reinspired me. It’s exactly what I needed. I realize that the songs, the old type of songs for me seemed to be timeless and I just started right away and we really kicked it off. It really was about a chemistry thing between me and Brian and there was this confusion after that with the [lineup, and] I decided to try a little experiment so I called [Bruce Falkinburg] to the basement and he goes “yes,” and then my fiancée came and we decided to put [the band together as a four-piece].

Well, everything was pretty groovy at first, but a touring commitment and came up and there was some wavering and I had been assured that everything was going to be cool but it became obvious to me that it really is all about commitment and I understand but not everybody is just willing to leave their job and just play musical instruments. So I’ve got  nothing for admiration of everybody but reality [was that] Bruce had to be replaced and Reid Raley was actually our first choice but he’s eight hours away from where we rehearse and for some reason I just forgot what a rogue one he was. Anyway we brought him in and we’ve had a couple weeks and man the chemistry is just extremely focused now. We’re back in a three-piece with Reid, and man, it’s really on. I feel completely energized.

You had played with Reid before in The Obsessed though as well. He was at Maryland Deathfest with you, right?

Yeah, Reid is a very personable guy and while I was touring with Vitus, Reid saw I was having some issues with Guy, who played on The Church Within and was a member of The Obsessed for some years. Guy had some immigration issues but didn’t really tell us and so he booked the Maryland Deathfest kind of knowing that he wasn’t going to be able make it. So it was kind of weird, but Reid told me “whatever you need if you need me to play bass for you to help you out, I will,” so I said at that point in time, “Yeah, why don’t you do that?” So me and Reid have some good history.

Is it a little strange? Sacred is the first Obsessed album in 20-odd years and it’s such a different band.

The only thing different is the bass player. We were a three-piece when we recorded Sacred. The nucleus of The Obsessed is me and Brian and I think the addition of Reid is nothing but good. And I’m very proud of the record. We’re already playing seven songs off the record, and we play the material live and I’m super-proud of that record. I think it’s great. I not just saying it because it’s my record but I think it’s the best sounding record I’ve ever done. I’m completely inspired. We’re ready to take these songs out on the road. I mean it’s been a long time, but you know, but it seems the time has never been right in the past and it seems like everything is lining up pretty good now.

Why do you think that is?

I think it’s because A) the music is top notch and B) In my opinion I think that I also must say that in my opinion, Frank Kozik and his label Man’s Ruin was pretty crucial in kind of opening up the door to hard rock and stoner rock or whatever, and he also opened up the power of the internet. I mean, come on, back when The Obsessed was starting to take off we did a video for “Streetside” and if you got on Bevis and Butt-Head, that was a venue. If it didn’t pass the Bevis and Butt-Head test you were done (laughs). I remember “Streetside” hit Bevis and Butt-Head and one of them said, “Ah they look old,” and that was it. But now you’ve got YouTube. The label. We’re on a very strong label. The label did really, really well and I feel honored to be on Relapse, and there’s a mutual respect thing and I think it’s just good now. I can’t say I fully understand why. I just know this is the time.

Talk to me about the Obsessed now as opposed to 20 years ago? How is it different for you? Has it felt like a crazy last couple of years after the whole situation with Vitus, playing with Conny Ochs, doing the solo stuff. Does going back to The Obsessed feel like going home for you?

It felt like going home for me and you have to understand that between me and Brian, Brian grew up with The Obsessed. It was his favorite band. It was Obsessed for all these years, so that has been like his main focus and when we reconnected I was truly flabbergasted that he’s an astounding drummer and it we haven’t seen each other in how many years?

It’s actually really mind blowing in a really, really good way. So we’ve got this amazing chemistry, lived together, we’re like a hardcore team and it finally feels right. The Church Within was cool, but with Greg and Guy, it’s touring, but when I started the reunion stuff, the one-offs, it just didn’t feel right. I’ve kind of felt in way as if I was been going through the motions. I’m really feeling good about stuff, like the chemistry between me and Brian and Reid. I’m pretty excited. I made a pretty important lifestyle changes to embrace this wave.

Can you talk about that?

Obviously, anybody who knows my past knows I had a very long period of sobriety in this reunion and after the separation and I lost the ability to see my kids and then we got separated for three or four years, i was pretty torn up and I fell back in my old ways but I’ve got to tell you, I was depressed and I did what I had to do. Had to get up out of bed in the morning and do what I had to do.

Right around that time was when Vitus was heavy touring, the brand new Vitus record, I did the Adrift record, I did the Shrinebuilder record, I did the Premonition 13 record. So basically I did what I had to do to be able to get on with my life and my career. So after a while, I must say, with Saint Vitus, to get into that stuff and to get into that mode and do that stuff, I had to be pretty loaded. I mean, it was like a requirement for me. The music is so primitive and so primal, especially playing live I had to really get into that state of mind to do it and that state of mind to me and in those days meant about 20 beers and half a fifth of liquor and as much shit as I could cram up my nose, but you know, that was the singing in Saint Vitus so things were a bit different.

Nobody can live that way forever. It caught up to me in Norway and I did get deported and that was kind of a bummer for me. I didn’t end up taking any charges, but it’s still kind of a bummer now I have to pay out the ass for visas and I have this ban from the Schengen countries, which is sort of like the EU, for five years, so I’ve already had three of that. So basically you pay the price. So I had to grab the reigns and I did. Now you know I’m back on the bandwagon, back in my head, living a sober lifestyle.

How has it been working in The Obsessed in that mode?

It’s fantastic, I just feel like all my focus and energy is in the right place, everything is where I feel it need to be. I’ve always been interested in alternative spirituality, if you will. I’ve never been into any organized religion or the denominational trip, but I consider myself to be pretty bright. I always want to learn and I always need to learn but I think that I try to awaken to the situation of the reality.

My personal spirituality has always been one of my main focuses and I’m just continuing my research, as I put it, and I’m just focusing on playing it right and I’m not one to blow my own horn but I do think I’m playing at the top of my game right now and I think that we have an absolute killer chemistry between the three of us and I thought, “man, this all I’m doing.” I’m playing the acoustic guitar here and there, wherever the listening party is, and at some point, I will do something else with Conny because I love Conny and we [need another record and tour] but right now The Obsessed is all I want to do. It’s where my focus is right now.

Can you tell me about going from touring a reunion band with The Obsessed as opposed to taking it on as a creative project again? You did that big tour last year with Karma to Burn, but how has it been moving from a reunion, to a working band, to a creative project?

I think it’s been refreshing and rewarding, actually because we get to go on tour. We were with Dave and there were some issues there. I mean listen, Dave’s loyalty and his heart never in question, he’s a great guy, so basically I don’t want to insult him and put him down in any way. He’s a great guy. I feel now that the record is coming out and it’s an incredibly strong record, it’s getting amazing reviews so far and I’m very happy.

We’ve already got three new songs we’re working on and we’re going to go back in the studio with our same guy from Sacred, Frank Marchand. We have three songs now. Hopefully by the end of the tour we have another two, and we’ll be halfway to another record. Whether we can have it finished, I doubt it, but we can at least get a couple in the can. So I feel completely energized, reinspired, and we’re getting it on, man. This is what we do, 24/seven. This is what I enjoy doing. When I’m in the studio, that is my perfect embodiment, that is when I am the most happy, and so yes, I’m just looking ahead.

Can you talk a little more about your time in the studio for this record? Working with Frank?

Frank is an amazing guy. He had to set up a little unconventionally, his room where he recorded wasn’t a control room. It was an open area. He likes to listen loud. He likes to mix loud but I’m telling you it was an orgy of vintage equipment. He’s got at least 10 [stacks] of different size and variety, mixed models.

What about the diversity on the album? It covers a lot of ground.

…For example, “Stranger Things,” when Reid was listening to the record, he goes, “ok, that song really put the ‘what the fuck?’ nail in the coffin.” That song threw him for a loop. It’s not that he disliked that song, but he just thought it was really, really different. That song was an acoustic song. I woke up one morning like, “fuck, what am I trying to even put it in a box like that? Why am I trying to make the specifics,” because The Obsessed has always been about diversity. We cut our teeth in the early days playing with punk rock bands. We can play super-fast, and we also like really slow stuff. A good example is the fact that of course I’m a diehard Black Sabbath fan but I’m also – I love Joy Division. I love The Stooges, The Dictators.

One of my favorite records is Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing by Discharge. So our tastes and our influences were always very diverse but we grew up in an era where it was all about energy. It was all about passion with the punk rock thing and also with the hard rock we listened to. I think that’s what’s really – always – you are a product of your influences, obviously just the same depending on your youth and childhood and really how wounded you are (laughs) in the rest of your life. It’s the same kind of theory.

I think the diversity is what makes it interesting because if I listen to a record where every song sounds the same even though it might be a good record, but every song sounds the same! I’m happy to bring a little diversity to it. I’m happy to people to kind of be like, “woah! This is weird or interesting.” I just think it makes it more interesting and it’s actually very natural, the way it came out.

It’s a pretty personal record. Especially the song for my kids, that’s a very personal song. But man, hey, my life is an open book and my theory or my philosophy if you will is, man, it’s all about passion, but it’s all about the power of the song. The song might need a guitar solo. It’s really about the power of the song.

The same way when you listen to the radio or you’re in a bar and an old song comes back again, one of your favorite songs from whenever it was, it has a way of invoking those good memories. Bringing back a feeling or maybe even remember the day when you listened to that song when you had memorable events like that. It’s really about the power of the song and it’s about the passion.

I really believe that I was given a gift in this earthly trip and I believe that it’s sort of my duty or job to carry the torch man, and to enrich other people’s lives and mine as well. It’s more rewarding having someone say, “hey, your music touched me in a way that was special,” or maybe even, “your music saved my life.” I’ve heard that before. To me that’s way more rewarding than a bag of gold on the table.

What’s next? The tour in May and then back in the studio. Then what?

The tour in April/May and then we will be in the studio recording some new material. Then we are going to be going to the UK including Scotland and Ireland. Then we’re going to be going to South America and Australia. By that time, man, it should be time to go back to Europe. We plan on touring pretty hard for the next couple of years. And also, in between then we’ll be writing another record.

When do you think you’ll squeeze in Conny Ochs?

Me and Conny have been talking and when there’s a break in the action, a break in The Obsessed action, for whatever reason that might be, then Conny said he’d like to come out and play the US and more than likely we’ll do a short tour out here.

One last thing, off topic. There was talk a while ago about a project with Nick Oliveri. What happened with that?

Actually it was me, Nick and Joey [Castillo], but Joey was really busy at the time. He was on retainer with Scott Weiland at the time and even though we tried to put it together he was just too busy. Joey‘s had a little run up, he’s I mean some bad luck, but we might revisit that. But right now I’m focusing on The Obsessed. They’re both amazing people and amazing players and it was something that like, it came up, we wanted to do it but Joey was pretty busy. In the future.

The Obsessed, “Sacred” official video

The Obsessed on Thee Facebooks

Sacred at Relapse Records

The Obsessed on Bandcamp

Relapse Records website

Relapse Records on Bandcamp

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Earthride Sign to Salt of the Earth Records; Announce New Single and Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on April 6th, 2017 by JJ Koczan

Makes sense for frontman Dave Sherman to bring back Earthride after splitting earlier this year with The Obsessed. That’s kind of how Earthride got going the first time, though their debut EP was released before Spirit Caravan‘s initial run came to its end. In any case, it’s a bit of symmetry in how it’s all shaken out that brings the news Earthride have hooked up with the growing roster of Salt of the Earth Records — see also ScissorfightAtalaCortez, and so on — and that they’ll have a new single out this year with a full-length to follow in 2018, also on Totem Cat in Europe. Obviously, whenever it shows up, new Earthride is sure to measure on the Richter scale in Maryland.

Speaking of that crabbiest of states, we already knew Earthride will take part in this year’s Maryland Doom Fest (info here) in June. They’re also set for the inaugural Descendants of Crom festival in Pittsburgh, PA, this September (info here), so I believe the PR wire — not the least because I wrote the press release — when it says more live dates are forthcoming. I haven’t seen the band since they were out supporting 2010’s Something Wicked (review here), and as they’re rolling with a new lineup and working for the first time ever as a dual-guitar five-piece, it seems like all the more reason to catch up to what Sherman and Co. have going.

Here’s the announcement I wrote circled back through the PR wire:

earthride

The Return of EARTHRIDE

Maryland Doom’s Favorite Sons Sign to Salt of the Earth; Announce New Album

Today, SALT OF THE EARTH RECORDS is proud to announce the signing of Maryland doom legends EARTHRIDE to its growing roster of acts. Led by inimitable frontman Dave Sherman (Spirit Caravan, Weed is Weed, The Obsessed), a new lineup of Earthride has been holed up at Omega Recording Studios in Rockville, MD, and will release a new 7” later this year with a full-length to follow in 2018.

“The band has really come a long way and Salt of the Earth Records and Earthride are about to burn up the road and deliver the doom!” enthuses Sherman, who is joined the band by co-founders Kyle Van Steinburg (guitar) and drummer Eric Little (also Church of Misery, Internal Void), as well as newcomers Ed Brown (bass) and Greg Ball (guitar), who came aboard as the group reformed to work on its first new material in seven years since 2010’s Something Wicked LP for release on Salt of the Earth and Totem Cat Records in Europe.

Earthride’s return – and their first incarnation ever as a five-piece – will be celebrated this summer at Maryland Doom Fest 2017, where they will join the likes of heavy prog immortals Captain Beyond, Trouble offshoot The Skull, Bang, Place of Skulls, Wo Fat and more at Café 611 in Frederick, MD, on June 23-25. Plans are in the works for further touring to support the new single (title still to be revealed) and their impending fourth full-length.

In the meantime, Earthride have been playing local shows this winter and spring and writing their heaviest material yet. Their place among their scene’s most influential bands has long been secure, and as they look to the future, it’s with renewed vigor and purpose that they continue to abide by their longstanding ethic of delivering Pure Maryland Doom for the Brotherhood of Music.

Grip the wheel of death and be ready for the all-heavy: EARTHRIDE are back.

https://www.facebook.com/EARTHRIDEDOOM
https://www.saltoftheearthrecords.com/
https://www.facebook.com/SaltOfTheEarthRec

Earthride, “God’s Own Medicine”

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