Uh, it’s Wino jamming out at a vintage motorcycle show. Really, the only question I have is how this clip of Premonition 13 from the Summer 2011 Born-Free 3 chopper show hasn’t already been featured for Wino Wednesday. I mean seriously, what is this, amateur hour? Get your head in the game, me. Wino and motorcycles. They go together like… well… like Victor Griffin and motorcycles. You get the idea.
Credit where it’s due, the footage of Premonition 13 — the short-lived outfit featuring Wino and Jim Karow duking it out on guitar — was shot by Obleas Photography on what looks to have been a gorgeous day, June 25, 2011, in Silverado, California. The Born-Free Motorcycle Show is held every year, with this year’s set for June 27 and 28, in Southern CA, and I guess four years ago, Premonition 13 stopped through on their way supporting their lone full-length, 13 (review here), also released in 2011. That album was more than solid in its groove — maybe a Wino record for Wino fans, admittedly — and the band was done shortly thereafter, their final release being a 2012 Volcom split with Radio Moscow and Earthless (some good company to keep).
In some ways, though — and certainly this is a hindsight perspective — it seems like 13 was almost hurt by the level of songwriting on it. Not that cuts like “Hard to Say,” “La Hechicera de la Jeringa” (the video for which was the first Wino Wednesday), “Modern Man” and “Deranged Rock ‘n’ Roller” weren’t memorable, but that maybe they were a little too much so. In seeing the band live and even going back to their early live videos, their heart was clearly in jamming out as they do in the clip below. I’m not saying that they’d still be going if they put out an album of nothing but instrumental jams, but it seems likely they’d at least have wound up with something unique within the vast, ever-growing Wino discography. And who knows? Maybe another record or two as well.
I’d take an album of this.
Enjoy the jam:
Premonition 13, Live at Born-Free 3, Silverado, CA, June 25, 2011
Posted in audiObelisk on March 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Like its 2012 predecessor, Heavy Kingdom (review here), the sophomore collaboration between Scott “Wino” Weinrich and German singer-songwriter Conny Ochs, titled Freedom Conspiracy, is mostly acoustic but for a couple fuzzy flourishes and there are moments where one or the other of the two of them seems to be at the fore. What’s decidedly changed between the two records, however, is just how blurred those lines get. More than its predecessor, one can get a sense of the Wino & Conny Ochs joint songwriting process, of the joy of it. It’s accounted for in how often one accompanies the other vocally, as on “Foundation Chaos” or the title-track, the harmonies of which reap the benefits of the time Wino and Ochs put in on tour for the last album. A cut like “Time out Blackout” is still more Ochs and “Crystal Madonna” is mostly Wino in the verses, but that proportion is changing. Most of this material is theirs, rather than his or his.
“Crystal Madonna” is an older composition as well, and has been featured in live sets since 2012 (see here and here), but Freedom Conspiracy is all the more exciting for the cohesion between the two performers, for the shift from feeling their way through a new mode of expression to, from the sound of the slide-infused “Drain,” enjoying the renewed partnership. Toward the end of the album, they get downright anthemic, voices soaring with sing-along-worthy abandon throughout “Forever Gone” and “Invisible Bullets” — still drumless, but buzz-toned and as rocking as they get — before the more subdued duet “The Great Destroyer” closes out. There’s a strong bluesy presence, and a sense of brooding, and as tempting as it is to relate the former to Wino and the latter to Ochs, the album just makes it too hard to figure out who is adding what. Another sign of the collaboration’s strength. Cleaner in its production than the debut and leaving nothing behind of folk’s accessibility despite the emotional weight, Freedom Conspiracy is a rare feat, conveying what can at times be gritty or dark thematics with an aura of resonant joy.
The centerpiece of Wino & Conny Ochs‘ second full-length is a song called “Timeless Spirit.” It is a road-song, and its immediate chorus, definitive piano keystrokes, and dual-vocals make it a more than fitting example of what the two parties bring to the table throughout the album. Time-worn but more embracing a transient life than resigning to it, it prefaces some of side B’s grander moments and lives up to the spirit it describes, vital, and, yes, timeless. Like many of the best moments on the record, it has no reservations about inviting the listener to come along for the ride.
Today I have the pleasure of hosting “Timeless Spirit” for streaming ahead of Freedom Conspiracy‘s impending release date. Please find it below, and enjoy:
Wino & Conny Ochs will release Freedom Conspiracy on March 27 through Exile on Mainstream with US vinyl via Earsplit Distro. More info and preorders at the links below.
The last Emissions from the Monolith festival took place in 2007 in Austin, Texas, but the fest will always be associated with Youngstown, Ohio. A beaten, post-industrial burg off Route 80 on the other side of the Pennsylvania state line, there wasn’t much to see in Youngstown, and that was part of the point. Nestled deep in a street that, on any given day, someone might rob the deli down the block, the Nyabinghi itself was a mirror of dropped-out culture. Not the glorified kind, but the kind that actually didn’t give a fuck. From 2000 through 2006, Emissions from the Monolith was held at the Nyabinghi and its lineups looked an awful lot like the shape of heavy to come.
I only went to one. The last in Ohio, in 2006. A little band called Baroness opened one of the days and to date it’s the only US appearance Colour Haze have ever made. There was some blowup with SunnO))) that resulted in thrown monitors. To tell you the truth, there’s a lot of it I don’t remember. Apparently Orange Goblin and Scissorfight‘s tour took them out that way. Awesome. I remember seeing that in New York, but if I caught it at Emissions, it’s news to me. It was that kind of a thing. A blackout weekend every Memorial Day. There was very little fashionable about heavy rock and doom at the time, and barbecue sandwiches sold on the back patio. It’s hard to write about without glorifying it, but maybe it should be glorified. Probably not if we’re judging by standards of public safety. I remember handing one of my band’s demos to Greg Barratt, who owned the place and booked Emissions. He was polite enough.
Wino was a regular fixture at the fest, between Spirit Caravan in 2000 and 2001 and The Hidden Hand in 2003 and 2004. The year this week’s Wino Wednesday clip comes from is 2001. Spirit Caravan — Wino, bassist Dave Sherman, drummer Gary Isom — were joined on the bill by Warhorse, Bongzilla, Halfway to Gone, Weedeater, Witch Mountain, Disengage, Pale Divine, Tummler, Sherman‘s own Earthride and many others. I imagine it was a hell of a weekend. At the start of their set, Wino thanks Barratt for putting the thing on and says something about police activity the night before. That sounds about right.
Not sure who filmed it, but the audio is by Michael “Lucifer Burns” Lindenauer. Enjoy:
Spirit Caravan, Live at Emissions from the Monolith II, May 2001
Posted in Whathaveyou on February 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
Exile on Mainstream and Earsplit Distro have made the second Wino & Conny Ochs full-length, Freedom Conspiracy, available to preorder. It’ll be out March 27 (or maybe March 31?), so if you’re waiting for payday, you’ve still got a minute, but Exile on Mainstream has a deal to get the latest Conny Ochs 7″ tossed in and Earsplit has the exclusive on vinyl for the US so it seemed worth noting one way or another. Not that I’ve heard it or anything, but the record is a gem.
Recorded again at Kabumm Studio with producer Thommy Krawallo, as was their Heavy Kingdom LP, the newest collection of ambitious, harrowing and beautiful music created by Wino & Conny Ochs not only brings forth the same quality of organically conceived folk/rock fans of the previous album should expect, it simply excels in every imaginable aspect. Bearing the title Freedom Conspiracy, the record was written and recorded entirely with Wino & Conny Ochs performing all instruments together, the approach slightly different from Heavy Kingdom as it has been created in a much more organic way with rudimentary ideas brought in by each and then carved into songs by both together. Fusing acoustic and electric guitars and with both artists’ standout vocal styles searing through these thirteen well-crafted brand new hymns, the initial recordings of the album date back to 2013, but even though the songs were done and recorded, these protagonists felt it had been rushed a bit in the end and final touches couldn’t be made with both together in the same room for reasons of other obligations. So it was put to rest and matured several months. In 2014 both went back in and basically stripped everything down to the bare bones, started from scratch, arranging the tracks differently and all of a sudden it clicked and brought forth forty-five minutes of some of the most refined, dynamic and unforgettable folk/rock music in years.
When asked what the album meant to the artists themselves, Conny Ochs states: “Freedom Conspiracy means companionship. It means to have each other’s back. This album is about losing and finding belief. And fighting for it.” Adds Wino on the album: “Shits changin’ fast. With war on every corner, political theatre becoming increasingly more offensive, and Big Brother and the Globalists intensifying their slow takeover, we offer sounds and vibrations of love, death, happiness and pain! With this music and verse we hope the songs will inspire and uplift, and hopefully unite our searching spirits.”
Freedom Conspiracy sees its glorious deliverance on CD, LP and digital download March 27th, 2015. Fans of Woodie Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Bob Dylan, The Black Crowes, Scott Kelly, Mike Scheidt and the like should make sure this duo is on your radar.
No lie, part of the reason I picked this clip of The Obsessed playing “The Way She Fly” at the Downtown Performance Center in Tucson, Arizona, on July 31, 1992, was for the comedic value. I watched the whole thing front to back — it’s two minutes long, so not a major commitment time-wise, but still — and there’s no shot of the bass player. None. Most of the thing is Wino cam. It’s hilarious, and almost a little creepy, but you never see the bassist in the video, and even the shots of drummer Greg Rogers seem sort of happenstance, like from where the camera is positioned, you have to catch him on a wider shot to see Wino playing guitar and singing. I had to laugh.
Seeing nothing but the bassist’s headstock — and that only intermittently — is of particular interest since I’m not sure who was in the band at that time. Scott Reeder played on 1991’s Lunar Womb alongside Wino and Rogers, but either before or after this was filmed in 1992, he left the band and joined up with Kyuss, replacing Nick Oliveri (who now may or may not have his own project going with Wino, called Royale Daemons), only to have his spot on The Obsessed filled by Guy Pinhas. But I don’t know the exact date on when Reeder departed The Obsessed or if it’s him or Pinhas or someone else playing this show, so yeah, nearly 23 full years later, it might’ve been helpful if whoever shot this clip had at any point seen fit to pan a little bit to the left. No dice.
Sometimes you just gotta toss your hands up and shrug, and if you need me, that’s what I’ll be doing. “The Way She Fly,” which is almost complete here, comes off The Obsessed‘s 1990 self-titled full-length debut. Mark Laue played bass on it, if you’re wondering. Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:
The Obsessed, “The Way She Fly” Live in Tucson, Arizona, July 31, 1992
Their tenure was brief, but even six years later I can’t look at a clip of the three-piece Wino solo band without wondering what could’ve been had they kept going. With Scott “Wino” Weinrich on guitar and vocals, Clutch‘s Jean-Paul Gaster on drums and Rezin bassist Jon Blank, the group were a classic power trio. Hardly Wino‘s first, with The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan and The Hidden Hand under his belt by then, but the flowing, swinging style of Gaster suited Wino‘s guitar exceptionally well, and Blank held the songs together while solos both stringed and percussive took flight in this or that direction, making sure the two star players had somewhere to return when the song needed to kick back in. On stage, they were dizzying, and 2009’s Punctuated Equilibrium album remains a favorite to this day.
You know the story by now. The Wino trio went to Europe, conquered at festivals like Roadburn and Doom Shall Rise, returned to the States on top of the world and were effectively ended immediately with the death of Blank following a heroin overdose. It was sudden and brutal, and it’s essentially become part of the legacy of the band. Wino went on to do acoustic solo work, Shrinebuilder, the short-lived Premonition 13, the collaboration with Conny Ochs and reunions with Saint Vitus, The Obsessed and Spirit Caravan, Gaster went back to Clutch, and that was it. There was the 2010 Live at Roadburn 2009 release (review here), but there’s been no further mention since of the Wino trio or Wino and Gaster working together in any capacity. It happened faster than you could snap your fingers.
This week’s Wino Wednesday clip comes from just before that European tour. It’s a balcony shot at Washington D.C.’s famed 9:30 Club of Punctuated Equilibrium instrumental “The Woman in the Orange Pants,” and you can already see how well the three players mesh on stage, Gaster‘s fills wrapping around the spaces between Wino‘s power chords and Blank serving as the anchor for all three of them. Very cool band, very sad story, but there’s no denying the power they had on stage, and that’s worth celebrating.
Wino, “The Woman in the Orange Pants” Live at the 9:30 Club, April 11, 2009
Posted in Whathaveyou on January 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster
I’d ask you what has two thumbs and is very much looking forward to hearing what Wino & Conny Ochs have in store for their second collaborative record, Freedom Conspiracy, but I think you already know the punchline. The first Wino & Conny Ochs record, Heavy Kingdom(review here), was a joy, reveling in its own “Labour of Love” as the German singer-songwriter and the frontman of Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, etc., each seemed to sincerely appreciate what the other was bringing to the duo. They’ve been talking about “the next record” more or less since the debut came out on Exile on Mainstream, and on March 31, the label will release Freedom Conspiracy with US vinyl exclusive to Earsplit Distro.
The PR wire tells the tale:
WINO & CONNY OCHS: Exile On Mainstream Confirms Details For Second Collaborative LP From Iconic Singer/Songwriter Duo
Earsplit Distro To Carry Vinyl Exclusively For The US
It is with extreme pleasure for Germany’s Exile On Mainstream to announce the label’s next priority release, with the second collaborative album by one of the most strikingly natural singer/songwriter duos of these troubled modern times, SCOTT “WINO” WEINRICH and CONNY OCHS.
To backtrack a bit, the union of these two gritty, passionate musicians took place in 2010, as American doom/rock legend, WINO (Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand) was touring Europe on his own first full solo album, Adrift, which had just been released by Exile On Mainstream. Simultaneously, contemporary German solo vocalist/guitarist, CONNY OCHS, was preparing to release his debut solo album, Raw Love Songs, through the same label which saw the two artists billed together on this European trek. From there, an instant bond was formed, both as musicians as well as just like-minded humans. Instantaneously, musical ideas formed within this new brotherhood, which quickly grew into a courageous collaborative full-length studio album entitled Heavy Kingdom, released by Exile On Mainstream in 2012. The album showcased the organic songwriting skills through an incredibly passionate delivery. Heavy Kingdom elevated both artists as top-notch contemporary singer/songwriters in the eyes of the media and fans alike, and saw the duo taking their songcraft to the road heavily across Europe as well as North America.
That was just the beginning, as, since Heavy Kingdom was just seeing release, the pair had already began talking about “what was to come” in reference to new material they’d began plotting together. The time is now, as the second chapter from WINO & CONNY OCHS has recently been completed, the project actually having remained virtually unannounced and taking place behind closed doors over the past few years. With the artists being based on two different continents and remaining busy with their own solo endeavors, an opportune time to convene for some songwriting time never arrived, and the pair began trading ideas via email. This was not something that at all brought forth the magic and mastery which took place the first time, and after months of writing, the idea was scrapped, and last year, WINO voyaged back to Berlin to rendezvous with OCHS.
Recorded again at Kabumm Studio with producer Thommy Krawallo, as was their Heavy Kingdom LP, the newest collection of ambitious, harrowing and beautiful music created by WINO & CONNY OCHS not only brings forth the same quality of organically conceived folk/rock fans of the previous album should expect, it simply excels in every imaginable aspect, and now awaits release in early 2015 through their trusted alliance with Exile On Mainstream. Bearing the title Freedom Conspiracy, the record was written and recorded entirely with WINO & CONNY OCHS performing all instruments together, the approach slightly different from Heavy Kingdom as it has been created in a much more organic way with rudimentary ideas brought in by each and then carved into songs by both together. Fusing acoustic and electric guitars and with both artists’ standout vocal styles searing through these thirteen well-crafted brand new hymns, the initial recordings of the album date back to over a year ago, but even though the songs were done and recorded, these protagonists felt it had been rushed a bit in the end and final touches couldn’t be made with both together in the same room for reasons of other obligations. So it was put to rest and matured several months. Earlier in 2014 both went back in and basically stripped everything down to the bare bones, started from scratch, arranging the tracks differently and all of a sudden it clicked and brought forth forty-five minutes of some of the most refined, dynamic and unforgettable folk/rock music in years.
When asked what the album meant to the artists themselves, CONNY OCHS states: “Freedom Conspiracy means companionship. It means to have each other’s back. This album is about losing and finding belief. And fighting for it.” Adds WINO on the album: “Shits changin’ fast. With war on every corner, political theatre becoming increasingly more offensive, and Big Brother and the Globalists intensifying their slow takeover, we offer sounds and vibrations of love, death, happiness and pain! With this music and verse we hope the songs will inspire and uplift, and hopefully unite our searching spirits.”
With cover art by WINO & CONNY OCHS, Freedom Conspiracy will see deliverance on CD, LP and digital download in the US on March 31st, 2015, both LP and CD versions to be available from Earsplit Distro for wholesale and retail purchase (the LP exclusively) The release will be followed by international touring from the duo to be announced throughout the year. Fans of Woodie Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt, Steve Earle, Bob Dylan, The Black Crowes, Scott Kelly, Mike Scheidt and the like should make sure this duo is on your radar.
Stand by for audio samples and further release/tour info from WINO & CONNY OCHS’ Freedom Conspiracy campaign all year.
Freedom Conspiracy Track Listing: 1. Drain 2. Sound Of Blue 3. Foundation Chaos 4. Crystal Madonna 5. Shards 6. Time Out Blackout 7. Timeless Spirit 8. Freedom Conspiracy 9. Dirt Floor 10. Heavy Heart 11. Forever Gone 12. Invisible Bullets 13. The Great Destroyer
Last week, when I posted about Royale Daemons, a new trio featuring Scott “Wino” Weinrich, Nick Oliveri and Joey Castillo – whose debut show in L.A. got canceled; an auspicious start — I failed to make the connection of how the seeds of the collaboration between Wino and Oliveri likely started. Wino, playing acoustic, toured with Oliveri‘s band Mondo Generator at the start of 2013. Saviours were also on the bill, and at least during several of the gigs, Wino, Oliveri and some of the members of Saviours got on stage together and jammed. Seems likely that’s where the idea of Wino and Oliveri teaming up got its beginning. The same thing happened with Wino & Conny Ochs, the two having first met while on tour together in Europe.
“Hellbound Train” is a song that kicked around Wino solo sets and sets on the Wino & Conny Ochs tour for the better part of 2012 and 2013. He may or may not still play it, I haven’t seen an acoustic gig from him in a while at this point. Originally by Savoy Brown and appearing on the 1972 album of the same name, it’s open to a smooth guitar jam the kind of which the Wino/Oliveri/Saviours troupe provided, no fewer than three acoustic guitars involved along with Oliveri‘s electric bass and the drums. When that tour was winding down, I posted a full set from Pittsburgh in which the same kind of thing took place, noting at the time that a collaboration between Wino and Oliveri would be “awesome.” Glad to know my feelings on that have not changed in the intervening two years.
This weeks’ Wino Wednesday footage, however, is just the jam itself. It comes from Reggie’s Rock Club in Chicago on Jan. 6, 2013, on the same tour and boasts another comfortable-sounding, engaging jam. The crowd seems to like it, if all the “woo”-ing is anything to go by.
Wino, Nick Oliveri & Saviours, “Hellbound Train” live in Chicago, Jan. 6, 2013