Posted in Whathaveyou on February 23rd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Some pretty surprising word from Season of Mist concerning an upcoming summer European tour for Saint Vitus brings the news that the hugely influential doom outfit will be joined by original vocalist Scott Reagers on the run, including their stop at Hellfest in France this June. I haven’t seen other dates for the tour, will post when I do, but the news of Reagers joining his fellow original members Dave Chandler (guitar) and Mark Adams (bass), as well as drummer Henry Vasquez, is striking in itself. His last recording with the band was 1995’s Die Healing, and even that was a reunion, Reagers having left the band after the release of their 1985 sophomore outing, Hallow’s Victim.
Of course, Reagers‘ taking part in the tour — and it is, at least as of now, just listed as being for this one tour — comes after the arrest of current Vitus frontman Scott “Wino” Weinrich in Norway near the end of their fall 2014 35th anniversary tour, co-headlining with Orange Goblin. What Weinrich‘s legal status might be in the EU and whether or not he’s banned from performing there, I don’t know, but it would explain why Reagers is being brought in for the tour after about 20 years absent from the band.
More as I hear it, but for now, here’s the announcement from Season of Mist with some comment from Vitus themselves:
Saint Vitus have announced that vocalist Scott Reagers will be joining them on their 2015 summer dates in Europe. The band comments: “We will play a special set for the fans; one comprised mostly of Reagers’ pre and post era as SAINT VITUS’ singer. We hope that the Vitus family, fans and friends, are eager to revisit the Reagers sound for this brief tour and we especially thank you for your continued support!” The doom legend has already been confirmed for Hellfest Open Air Festival and more dates will follow in due time.
I saw Saint Vitus on this tour. They played the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn just a couple nights before this Denver, Colorado, show on Oct. 3, 2012. It was one of the best shows I was ever lucky enough to catch, so to find them in top form as they run through this rendition of Black Flag‘s “Thirsty and Miserable” isn’t really much of a surprise. Having released their awaited return album, Lillie: F-65 (review here), earlier in the year on Season of Mist, they were riding high at that point, their on-stage reunion having been going for about three years since initially making their return at Roadburn in 2009. They were a sight to behold there as well.
Since this is, rather unbelievably, the first time I’m writing about Vitus in 2015, I’ll say that the big question concerning the band now is whether or not they’ll follow-up Lillie: F-65 with another studio album. Guitarist Dave Chandler put out word in July 2013 that he and drummer Henry Vasquez were working on new material, but I’ve yet to hear of anything newer than the last record being played live, and though the band has done a couple reissues through Season of Mist, there’s been no real update on progress for what would be their ninth outing. Last Fall, when Wino was arrested in Norway near the end of Saint Vitus‘ 35th anniversary European tour and subsequently entered rehab, he made a statement that noted several projects in the works. A new Vitus record was not one of them.
Chandler, Vasquez and bassist Mark Adams finished the last several shows of that tour as a three-piece, and while a new photo of the band hoisting liquor bottles in unified toast was posted on Feb. 1, I don’t actually know when it was taken or what their plans are moving forward. An air of mystery, perhaps, and obviously that feeds fan intrigue, but it would be cool to get some kind of advisory or status update from Saint Vitus, just to figure out where they’re at.
I’ll keep my eye out. For now, enjoy this multi-cam capture of “Thirsty and Miserable” from Denver and have a great Wino Wednesday:
Saint Vitus, “Thirsty and Miserable” Live in Denver, CO, Oct. 3, 2012
I’ve been kicking around the idea lately of ending Wino Wednesdays. I mean, it’s been over three years. We’ve covered an awful lot of the man’s career with The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, Shrinebuilder, Premonition 13, solo band, solo acoustic, guest spots, and so on, and aside from having run a decades-long gamut of the available videos, it’s starting to feel a little fanboyish. Don’t get me wrong, I dig Wino‘s work a lot, but I’m not trying to stalk the guy. 162 weeks later, I worry it’s getting to be a bit much.
Last week, Scott “Wino” Weinrich got arrested in Norway with what turned out to be 11 grams of of meth. Not an inconsiderable amount. He was deported back to the US, which left the remaining three members of Saint Vitus to finish out the last few shows of their 35th anniversary co-headlining European tour with Orange Goblin on their own. They did it, and from what I’ve heard they were pretty good, but no question it wasn’t the victory lap they had in mind. The whole situation was a bummer on just about every level, and it brought to mind a refresher of just how rampant addiction is in this community. Everything from meth to coke to prescription abuse to beer to vinyl, doom appeals to those who have a habit of forming habits. All the more reason to watch out for your friends and hope they do the same for you.
Wino issued a statement yesterday to Decibel saying he’s entered rehab for treatment and he’ll be back next year with a new Wino & Conny Ochs release, a new solo album, a new webshop and a biography. That’s all well and good — except perhaps for the biography, which much to my personal disappointment I didn’t get to write — but the important thing is that he gets himself well first. New records and projects are cool, but life needs to take precedence. On behalf of this dinky website, I wish Wino all the best in the challenge ahead of his recovery. We’ll be here, continuing to pull for him each week, for the foreseeable future.
Here’s that statement:
At this time I feel it is necessary to release an official statement of the facts in regard to my recent deportation from the country of Norway. First, I want to apologize to all Saint Vitus fans, and to my band members and crew for my lapse in judgment that ultimately resulted in me missing the last six shows on our Born Too Late 35th anniversary European tour. On November 9th before noon just over the Norwegian border, I was arrested for possession of an illegal substance. I take full responsibility for the consequences of my actions. The other members and crew were unaware of my substances use. I was truthful with the authorities, and initially sentenced to 16 days in jail minus the three initial days immediately following my arrest. On those days I was in solitary confinement, with no reading or writing material and fed solely bread water. Despite these conditions, I was treated respectfully and cordially by all Norwegian authorities. Initially, I believed I would be fined, allowed to continue the tour, and upon its end, I agreed to return to Norway to finish my sentence. I was disheartened to realize that I was to be deported straightaway back to the US, and not allowed to finish the tour. I sincerely regret the inconvenience and loss incurred by everyone involved with these gigs, the inspiring co-headlining Orange Goblin, our booking agent, promo folks and the venues, and of course fans and ticketholders. I want to salute the members of Saint Vitus for carrying on with these shows without me, and proving admirably the class of true road warriors they are. Again, my deepest apologies to all. After several productive years of sobriety, the rigors of almost nonstop touring and life’s circumstances led me to develop a dependency that has become detrimental to my health and now, my freedom. As of now, I am currently off the road, and actively engaged in treatment.
And THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES….
I will continue my course of creating music and art. Early next year you will see the release of “WINO AND CONNY OCHS” new full-length recording, “FREEDOM CONSPIRACY” on Exile on Mainstream records. Also on the near horizon: A full-length Wino solo acoustic recording, the launch of my art and music web store, and my no holds barred biography.
Thanks to all who Believe! Wino, November 18th,2014
And to keep with Wino Wednesday tradition, here’s Saint Vitus doing “Saint Vitus” in Stockholm, Sweden, at Wino‘s most recent show with the band:
Saint Vitus, “Saint Vitus” Live at Debaser Strand, Stockholm, Nov. 8, 2014
“Where’s Wino?” Well, it would seem he’s been deported. From Norway. Last night in Göteborg, Sweden, for what I believe might have been the first time in the band’s 35-year history, Saint Vitus performed their set as a three-piece. It was bassist Mark Adams, drummer Henry Vasquez and guitarist Dave Chandler on stage, and Chandler himself took up vocal duties, calling it, “the weirdest Saint Vitus show [the crowd] has ever fucking seen.” I don’t doubt it.
Martyn Millard of Orange Goblin, who are co-headlining the current Vitus tour in Europe, had posted a picture of the trio on Thee Facebooks but gave no comment as to the situation itself. I emailed Season of Mist this morning but hadn’t heard back, and then just a little bit ago, Vitus posted the following:
Saint Vitus would like to regretfully inform all of our European fans that our lead vocalist Wino was detained by the Norwegian police and immigrations officers for possession of illegal substances since Sunday November 9th. As of 4 pm yesterday evening (Nov. 11th) we were informed by his Norwegian defense attorney that he would more than likely be released that same day and be able to continue the remaining dates of our European tour. This morning we received notification that Wino was being deported today back to the U.S. with no hope to remain in Scandanavia or anywhere in the EU.
SAINT VITUS WILL CONTINUE THE REMAINING DATES OF THE TOUR!!!
Our sincere apologies to all of our fans, the promoters, booking agents and especially our Norwegian fans and promoter for the cancelled show. We will still deliver the HEAVY sound to all of our friends in Europe and it is our hope that everyone will understand our position to go forward with the remaining dates without Wino. David Chandler and Henry Vasquez along with a few surprise guests will take over vocal duties and this will be a rare opportunity to see Vitus with main songwriter David Chandler vocalizing his tormented tales of pain, heartache and DOOM. We hope to still see all of you on our remaining dates. FUCK THAT WEAK SHIT!!!!
So there you have it. Detained and deported back to the US, leaving the band to improvise who’s going to handle the vocals. I bet Orange Goblin‘s Ben Ward gets a turn if he wants one, and there’s bound to be someone in Germany — where the four remaining dates of the European tour will take place — who’s up for filling in for Wino. Booted out of the EU. That must have been one hell of an “illegal substance.” Like plutonium. As a testament to Vitus fucking the weak shit of their circumstances, here is Chandler, Adams and Vasquez doing an encore of “Born too Late” in Göteborg, for the first-ever Wino-less Wino Wednesday.
Saint Vitus, “Born too Late” Live in Gothenburg, Sweden, Nov. 11, 2014
The Saint Vitus 35th anniversary European tour with Orange Goblin — who started out as “special guests” and now seem to be co-headlining — is only a couple days away from passing a full month. While on the road celebrating one of doom’s widest legacies, Vitus are performing 1986’s classic Born too Late in its entirety, unquestionably their most influential record fronted by Scott “Wino” Weinrich. They did the same on the US West Coast earlier this year and I’m hoping they’ll bring the show east maybe in the New Year, but either way, anything Vitus does, someone’s at least gonna shoot it on their phone, so yeah, there’s plenty of footage out there if you know what you’re looking for.
I’ve yet to find a clip of a whole set, but I’ve seen a couple setlists where they haven’t broken up Born too Late to spread it throughout, which is what they did in the US, but instead are simply playing it backwards, so that they start with “The War Starter” and end with the anthem “Born too Late” itself. Fair enough. If you’re going to play that song, you want to play it last; it’s been their closer for years and makes an excellent encore. They haven’t forgotten their latest work, either, though. “Blessed Night,” which you can find below recorded from the first night of the tour, comes from 2012’s Lillie: F-65 and was the first song Vitus wrote after getting back together, solidifying its relatively speedy progression while on the road performing their classic material.
Though word came out a while ago they were writing, I have yet to hear any kind of official notice of a follow-up to Lillie: F-65, and they don’t seem to be playing anything new on this tour — clearly that’s not the focus of the 35th anniversary run — so “Blessed Nights” is about as recent as it gets. Hope you enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:
Saint Vitus, “Blessed Night,” Live in Colmar, France, Oct. 9, 2014
It didn’t take long for video to surface of Saint Vitus‘ 35th anniversary European tour. The run, which includes Orange Goblin as the support act, kicked off Oct. 9 at Le Grillen in Colmar, France, and a day later, there were clips out of the band’s show. I’d say it has something to do with the special nature of the occasion, Vitus having begun one of doom’s most influential legacies when they formed as Tyrant in 1979 (and where, I ask you, is the band who will take up that moniker?), but really, even if it was just another show and just another tour for them, the situation would probably be the same. People want to see Saint Vitus. That’s a big part of the reason I’ve been able to go three-plus years with Wino Wednesdays.
The track “Blessed Night” comes off Saint Vitus‘ 2012 comebacker, Lillie: F-65 (review here). It was the first single from the album; a quick, three-minute shot of a song that was the first one they wrote since getting back together. Distinguished from the rest of Lillie: F-65 for having lyrics by Wino and not guitarist Dave Chandler — lines like “Her beauty is as timeless as dark forlorn galaxies” were a dead giveaway — it was also faster than a lot of what that record had to offer, songs like “Let Them Fall” and “The Bleeding Ground” more in league with the grueling doom one expects from Chandler‘s songwriting. But it’s a quality track nonetheless, and I recall the first time I saw them play it just being so happy there was new Vitus at all, let alone what it sounded like.
Vitus are performing all of 1986’s classic Born too Late album on this tour — they seem to be spacing it out in the set, rather than performing it front-to-back, so they can still close with the title-track — and I hope at some point to have a full-show, but until then, enjoy “Blessed Night” and have a killer Wino Wednesday:
Saint Vitus, “Blessed Night” Live in Colmar, France, Oct. 9, 2014
This week marks three full years of Wino Wednesday. It is Wino Wednesday #156. In that time, I feel like we’ve just about covered the man’s entire career, from his days playing with Warhorse in high school on down through Spirit Caravan‘s 2014 reunion. In and out of bands like The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, Place of Skulls, Premonition 13, his own Wino band and on and on with more guest appearances live and recorded than I think anyone can count, it’s been a three-year investigation into one of doom’s most storied and most accomplished figures. I don’t think when I started out that I imagined this feature would go on for so long, but I’ve yet to run out of things to post, so I guess until that happens, onward we go.
“Look Behind You” appeared on 1987’s three-song Thirsty andMiserable EP, sharing the B-side with the titular Black Flag cover. Tough bill, since when one thinks of that release, it’s the radical slowdown of the Black Flag song that invariably comes to mind first, but “Look Behind You” has been a live staple for Saint Vitus more or less since. It showed up on their 1990 Live album, and it has been a regular feature of sets since their reunion in 2009, its Motörhead-style rush made to turn on its head by Dave Chandler‘s transitions and thickened by his inimitable tone. The song goes back further than Thirsty and Miserable, though. In 1979, Tyrant (the original Vitus lineup under its first name) included it on their demo, so it’s clearly been around even longer than Thirsty and Miserable, and as you can see in the version below, which was taped live in Portland, Oregon, at the Satyricon in June 2010, it wears its age well.
Here’s to three years of Wino Wednesday and more to come. Enjoy:
Saint Vitus, “Look Behind You” Live in Portland, OR, June 26, 2010
I can’t imagine what it would’ve been like to see Saint Vitus on stage 27 years ago. The context of the time makes it nearly impossible. Vitus during the Reagan years? This show, captured here in its entirety on what I can only assume was a video camera sent back in time from an unknown future to document such a phenomenon, took place in Nipomo, California, which is south of San Francisco, north of Los Angeles. The room is basically a box. Those who showed up to see Saint Vitus at that point — touring on their third album, with their second singer — probably would’ve at least mostly already been into the band, so I don’t expect it would’ve been like those tales you hear of the band in 1985 surprising disgruntled punkers on tour with Black Flag and whatever else. But still, to think of Vitus not as Saint Fucking Vitus but just as another act coming through town is something I can’t really get my head around, as much time as the video spends on the audience of mosher dudes.
That being the case, it’s all the better that footage like this exists, not so we can coopt its grainy look for our own empty-inside nostalgia for things we never knew, but just so we can get a look at what it might have been like to be there at that time. Invariably, our own place in time affects how we see it, what we read into the sounds, the fashion, the amateurish camera angles, the analog-looking date stamp checking off the minutes as they pass by. Still, even to watch as an outsider as Vitus rips into songs from Born too Late, and the preceding two albums is impressive. Later in 1987, they’d release the Thirsty and MiserableEP, and it’s arguable this is the band’s peak era. I’m not sure I believe that or I’d say it more definitively, but you can make a good case either way, and this show would seem to be working in their favor.
Please note: I did some research on the purported name of the club where this show took place. I can’t find anything about it. If it’s a punk venue, I’m not sure how it might tie in with SoCal’s skinhead history, but the video seemed worth posting anyway.