If time has taught us anything at all about rock and roll, it’s never say never. Shrinebuilder put out its self-titled debut in 2009 on Neurot Recordings with the staggering lineup of bassist/vocalist Al Cisneros, guitarist/vocalists Scott Kelly and Scott “Wino” Weinrich and drummer/vocalist Dale Crover, played here and there, followed-up with a single and a live record, played some more shows, and then receded. It was never intended to be a full-time project, and when they were done, everyone went back to their own bands, whether it was Sleep and Om for Cisneros, Saint Vitus for Wino, Neurosis and solo work for Kelly or the Melvins for Crover. Rumors of a second album persisted for a while and then similarly receded.
We may never get another Shrinebuilder record. Hell, we might not even get another Shrinebuilder tour, or a single show, but it seems just as likely that at some point and in some form — whether with all four of the same players or not — they’ll get together again for some purpose or other. The full set snagged for this week’s Wino Wednesday revelry was filmed by TubeVision, a long-running East Coast taper, and captures Shrinebuilder on their inaugural run from Nov. 2009, not yet a month after the release of the self-titled, live in full force at the Sonar in Baltimore, Maryland. I was fortunate enough two nights later to see Shrinebuilder take the stage in Manhattan with Rwake (review here), and while it was just over five years ago now, I can still readily recall the powerful presence they had as a band on stage and the weight the performance carried because of who it was standing up there.
They might or they might not ever do another album, but whatever winds up happening, we were lucky enough to get it once. Hope you enjoy the video:
Shrinebuilder, Live at The Sonar, Baltimore, MD, 11.13.09
The track “We Let the Hell Come” would wind up as one of the most memorable songs on Scott Kelly‘s 2012 Scott Kelly and the Road Home album, The Forgiven Ghost in Me. Interpreted with subtle, still-minimalist interplay of electric and acoustic guitar and Kelly‘s mournful, gravel-throated wonderings, it was a highlight of the record (review here), engaging with a sweet, sad melody and the persistent strum of Kelly‘s strings. Little in that version would link “We Let the Hell Come” to its prior interpretation — the song having been performed over two years earlier live by Shrinebuilder.
At the very start of the video below, filmed at Skully’s in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the 2010 Scion Rock Fest — Shrinebuilder headlined that venue for the night; YOB, Pelican, Acrassicauda and others also played — the band says that “We Let the Hell Come” will be on the next record. It may well still be, but more than three years later, a follow-up to Shrinebuilder‘s 2009 self-titled debut (review here) has yet to surface, and with the band’s members — Kelly (also in Neurosis), Scott “Wino” Weinrich (also in The Obsessed andSaint Vitus at this point, as well as putting out solo material), Dale Crover (the Melvins) and Al Cisneros (Sleep and Om) — busy with their respective main outfits, it may be that Shrinebuilder was a one-time planetary alignment that we won’t be fortunate enough to see again.
If that’s the case, all the better that clips like this one of “We Let the Hell Come” are out there — the song also showed up on Shrinebuilder‘s Live in Europe 2010 vinyl, which I regret not buying when I had the chance — to give a sampling of what might’ve been or, who knows, might still be when and if there’s a second Shrinebuilder outing. This video was filmed by Chris Kimbrough and I hope you enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:
Shrinebuilder, “We Let the Hell Come” Live at Scion Rock Fest 2010
I guess this show and the circumstances surrounding have become something of a tale to tell. In 2010, the supergroup Shrinebuilder were en route to play Roadburn and tour Europe to promote their self-titled debut and only album to date. Coming from the Western Seaboard, where all the members of the band — Scott Kelly and Wino on guitar/vocals, Al Cisneros on bass and Dale Crover on drums — were located, they got as far as New York before their flight was grounded like so many others at the time.
Not to be completely undone by that volcano — whose mere name, Eyjafjallajökull, strikes syllabic terror into the hearts of pronunciation guides everywhere — Shrinebuilder booked themselves a last-minute gig at Brooklyn’s Club Europa. While they were in town, they also recorded a session with Andrew Schneider for Coextinction Recordings that’s been featured here before. They had been to New York for a show about a month before and of course around the time the album came out as well in 2009 (review here), but as it was such a bizarre situation, and as they haven’t been back since, the Europa show has taken on a mystical kind of quality — not that anything these guys did wouldn’t already have had one.
Shrinebuilder did finally get to Europe, and they played Roadburn in 2011 as not the only act on the bill to be carried over from the year before. A self-released Live in Europe 2010 vinyl commemorated the experience, but since they basically started out as a headlining act because of the members’ pedigree in Neurosis, Sleep, Saint Vitus (etc.) and the Melvins, those earlier Shrinebuilder shows featured a couple covers, and on this one from Brooklyn of Creedence Clearwater Revival‘s “Effigy,” Crover and Wino show a classic rocking side of Shrinebuilder that was unlike anything else they did.
Next Saturday, Oct. 20, will mark three full years since Shrinebuilder‘s self-titled debut was released on Neurot. The most super of supergroups unleashed five tracks and just under 40 minutes of exploration, at times devastatingly heavy, at times contemplatively ambient, but always in motion and never predictable. Three years later, I still don’t think I have a grip on all of it — though I did a review when it came out — and even though the status of the band is unclear at this point, I’m not sure more time is going to help.
If you have to be outclassed, though, Shrinebuilder is the cast to do it. I’ll run down the list because it’s fun: Scott Kelly (Neurosis), Scott “Wino” Weinrich (The Obsessed, this feature, etc.), Al Cisneros (Sleep, Om) and Dale Crover (the Melvins), all contributing to the complex, driving psychedelic heaviness that successfully blended the approaches of its members. I spent a year in fanboy nerd-out mode waiting for it, and when it came, was certain my days were well spent.
I’ve griped about the longevity of Shrinebuilder‘s Shrinebuilderbefore, that I didn’t go back to it after 2009 and so forth, and I suppose that’s true, though I think it’s more on me than the album. In any case, with zero prospects of a follow-up anytime soon, I figure the full-length is ripe for a revisit, and if you’re gonna listen to a record with Wino on it, Wednesday’s the day.
Of all the Wino-type excellence 2012 has so far wrought — be that in the form of the collaboration with Conny Ochs or the reunion of The Obsessed at Roadburn — news on the Shrinebuilder front has been curiously sparse. I guess the dudes involved are busy with their main projects, whether it’s Wino with Saint Vitus and his sundry other outfits, Scott Kelly with Neurosis, Al Cisneros with Om and Sleep, or Dale Crover with the Melvins, but I had thought the follow up to their 2009 self-titled would be along this year, and it seems like there would’ve been some word by now if that was going to be the case.
Maybe it’s for the best, since I don’t know if I’d trade the output and shows of all those bands for the prospect of new Shrinebuilder anyway, but whenever the second album from this underground megagroup arrives, it’ll be interesting to hear how or if they build at all on the direction they seemed to be taking with the debut. They were playing new material as early as their European tour in 2010, delayed as much of life was that spring by volcanic activity in Iceland. That tour resulted in the Live in Europe 2010 live album last year, but for a band of this magnitude, it’s hard not to want a new studio offering as soon as possible.
Lurking my way around the TubesofYou, I stumbled on this pro-shot, multi-angle clip of the new songs “Nagas 1 & 2” coupled with “Pyramid of the Moon,” filmed in Belgium at De Kreun in Kortrijk. Credit where it’s due, apparently the crew behind the cameras was 4×4 TV. My only regret is that it wasn’t uploaded in HD, but I don’t even remember if you could do that two years ago. One more reason Shrinebuilder needs to get out there again.
So yeah, here’s 21 minutes solid of ritualistic psych groove. Happy Wino Wednesday:
It is a supergroup to define a generation of heavy. Guitarists Scott “Wino” Weinrich and Scott Kelly (Neurosis), bassist Al Cisneros (Sleep, Om) and drummer Dale Crover (the Melvins). I remember interviewing Kelly on the occasion of the last Neurosis record and that being the first time I’d heard of the project or anything about who was involved. My reaction was fanboy honest: “Holy shit, dude.” His was too: “I know, man.”
The assemblage of these mega-influential figures resulted in a 2009 self-titled full-length, released on Neurot, and subsequent bits of touring and shows. While traveling en route to Roadburn in 2010, Shrinebuilder were held up in New York due to closed European airspace from Icelandic volcanic ash. They wound up playing a gig in the city that night, and, in addition to catching a ballgame and sundry other “we’re here anyway”-type activities, re-recorded their album’s closer “The Science of Anger.”
This new version of the song, reworked to match how they were performing it live, was released as a digital single via Coextinction Recordings. It’s available for a $2.99 download here and is all the more special for the bizarre circumstances that led to its creation. As we stand on the hopeful precipice of a new Shrinebuilder outing in 2012, I can think of no better way to celebrate this Wino Wednesday than their most cohesive outing yet.
Now bear witness as Wino and Scott Kelly turn feedback into your gods:
Posted in Reviews on February 14th, 2011 by JJ Koczan
If it wasn’t enough that it was The Patient Mrs.‘ birthday and I still got to go to the show, I knew walking into The Mercury Lounge that it was going to be a good night because the dude at the door said, “Hey man, I dig your beard.” Had it been anyone else playing that night, I might have just cut my losses and gone home right then, opened up my diary (or WordPress) and written, “Today was a good day.” Instead I celebrated with an $8 Sierra Nevada.
I figured out the last time I was at the Mercury Lounge was a couple years back to see Dax Riggs, and though I expected my skin to be burned off in hipster hell, it wasn’t actually that bad. Well, maybe it was, but the last acoustic show I went to was Six Organs of Admittance, and the volume of that crowd was so loud it was offensive, and that definitely wasn’t the case here. I don’t care how ironic your flannel is so long as you’re there for the music and you’re not a dick about it.
Opening the show was Hunter Hunt-Hendrix of black metallers Liturgy doing a solo performance that turned out to be him, a looper, some vocal effects, and nothing else. His voice mimicked strings and he set up elaborate choruses of himself over the course of a couple separate pieces. It was brave, but probably not something that should be done for more than 10 minutes at a stretch, as after that the “What the hell am I doing here?” impulse kicked in and I went to the bar out front for another drink and to wait for Man’s Gin. People were in and out from the back room and I could hear just fine in case he, you know, took out a guitar or something. Nope. Semi-melodic moaning all the way.
The plan for the night was Man’s Gin, then Wino, then Scott Kelly, then Wino and Scott Kelly together, and it was a good plan by me. I dug Man’s Gin‘s Smiling Dogs record and was psyched to see the Erik Wunder-fronted outfit in their full-band incarnation after when I last caught them at Lit Lounge and it was just Wunder and standup-bassist Josh Lozano with percussion behind. Fade Kainer (Inswarm, Batillus) handled drums and Scott Edward guitar, and they were loose, but sounded good all the same.
They got a mixed reaction from the crowd, but it seemed more positive than ambivalent, which translates to triumph in Manhattan. Everyone in attendance who was conscious of their surroundings during the grunge era probably had a better idea of what they were going for than those who weren’t, whatever that says. Highlight of the set was the Neurosis-style drum jam at the end and “Doggamn.” Still waiting for them to do “The Ballad of Jimmy Sturgis” live.
It was a party when Wino took the stage, and that spirit continued through his set, numerous whoops and hollers coming from the crowd. Wino, up there by himself with just an acoustic guitar, couldn’t help but rip into a fuzzed-out solo about halfway in, but aside from playing them a bit faster (as he acknowledged he had a tendency to do in our interview), he was loyal to the versions of the songs that appear on his Adrift album. The split 7″ single he shares with Scott Kelly was mentioned as being for sale for just $5 — end of tour blowout price — and it seemed only proper to pick one up.
He covered Townes Van Zandt, as would Kelly when he took the stage later, but the highlight of Wino‘s set was probably “I Don’t Care,” which he prefaced with a story about being 15 and getting locked up in a Maryland juvenile detention center and writing the song then. It was one of my least favorite tracks on Adrift, but the performance live and the context made it a high point of the evening. I actually saw people dance. It happened.
The thing about Wino is that, even if he’s doing something else (i.e. playing acoustic), he’s a classic rock songwriter, and he can’t help but rock out. He brought the crowd along with him for the trip, and when Scott Kelly took the stage later, it was clear that, despite their apparent friendship and cohabitation in the supergroup Shrinebuilder, they’re two very different performers.
Scott Kelly plays s-l-o-w. He’s really, really good at it. The room — apart from one dude who decided it would be a good idea to accompany Kelly‘s guitar by banging on a cinderblock and eventually brought the show to a screeching halt — was dead quiet. So much so that Kelly remarked approvingly on it more than once (we did good!) as he went through his set of morose, low-key but still highly emotive songs. He covered his half of the split with Wino, taking three tries to get through the song because of the aforementioned cinderblock jackass, and by the time his version of “Tecumseh Valley” was done, my arrived-at conclusion of the evening became, “Well, I guess it’s time to buy a Townes Van Zandt record.” He made a pretty convincing argument.
I had been hoping for “Remember Me,” which originally appeared on Blood and Time‘s At the Foot of the Garden before Kelly re-recorded it for his last solo album, the brilliant The Wake. That was a no dice, but the new Shrinebuilder song Kelly brought Wino on stage to play, and the jam that ensued from there, was more than enough to make up for anything lacking. The crowd had thinned some by the time they were done, but not much, and those who were there were entranced by what they were watching. Wino took leads (higher in the mix, or maybe it was where I was standing) while Kelly played rhythms, and each guitarist seemed to enjoy most of all the chance to be on stage with the other. It was something I was glad to have witnessed when it was over.
Something I was less glad about was having lost the ticket from coatcheck. Whoops. It really is a wonder I’m not divorced by now. The Patient Mrs. and I stood, describing the contents of her coat pockets to the heavy-sighs of the girl at the rack, and eventually, we got her jacket and left. I don’t know if it was her best birthday ever, and I don’t know if it’s the only time I’m ever going to get to see Wino and Scott Kelly perform together in this fashion (they looked to be having a good enough time that I wouldn’t be surprised if they did it again at some point), but man, if ever there was a time I was happy to be in New York on a Saturday night, this was it.
Posted in Features on February 3rd, 2011 by JJ Koczan
He might be the single most pivotal figure in American doom. Scott “Wino” Weinrich, in a career that’s lasted more than 30 years and is only showing signs of speeding up, has assembled the greatest pedigree in heavy music that doesn’t belong to someone with the last name Iommi. From his years in outfits The Obsessed and Saint Vitus to his ongoing involvement with the supergroup Shrinebuilder, Wino has left a stamp on the genre that — try as many might — simply cannot be duplicated.
And yet, it’s not his legacy that he wants to talk about. In our interview last week, there was some discussion of the “old days,” of course, but it was more about the work of others with whom he’s played, or been friends with — and what was coming next — that really seemed to be what was driving him most. The love of the music. What the hell other reason could there be? There’s no glamor in it. Who the hell cares if a bunch of bearded dudes say, “Cool riffs, bro?” If you don’t love Heavy, you go do something else. You certainly don’t make it your life’s work.
Next month, Volcom Entertainment will release the LP version of Wino‘s first solo acoustic album, Adrift (review here; CD available on Exile on Mainstream), and if you’re unfamiliar with the man’s doings in any of the above bands, or Shine/Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, Dave Grohl‘s Probot, Victor Griffin‘s Place of Skulls or his innumerable guest spots and contributions to others, let it say something that after 30 years, he’s still pushing himself into new territories.
There was a lot to talk about and limited time, but in the Q&A below, Wino discusses the experience of writing and recording Adrift following the death of bassist Jon Blank of the Wino band (also featuring drummer Jean-Paul Gaster of Clutch), the origins of his new, two-guitar outfit, Premonition, where some of the drive to keep starting over comes from, his deep and abiding respect for his fellow players, the status of the Spirit Caravan reunion that bassist Dave Sherman alluded to some while back on this site, and much more.
It was a very conversational interview, as you can see for yourself after the jump. Please enjoy.