Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan Live at Strange Matter, Richmond, VA, March 8, 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 22nd, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

When they first got back together last year, Spirit Caravan started off their first US tour in more than a decade at the Metro Gallery in Baltimore. A more fitting setting would be hard to find. Baltimore, D.C., Virginia, the entire Doom Capitol region has been the center of Spirit Caravan‘s enduring influence, and for guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman and drummer Henry Vasquez, it was more or less a homecoming, or at very least as close as they were going to get on a touring circuit. Granted, they could’ve gone back to Wootton High School and done the show there, if they’d wanted.

The night after Baltimore, they were in Richmond, Virginia. Playing in front of their classic banner to an enthusiastic crowd who obviously well appreciated being there, they took on the venerable Strange Matter with due vitality and ran through a set full of staples, landmark riffs of “Sea Legs,” “Dead Love/Jug Fulla Sun,” “Dove-Tongued Aggressor” and “Dreamwheel” carrying their original rolling vibes both to those who were there the first time around and those who’d come aboard in the 12 years since the band’s original run ended in 2002, their reputation bolstered all the more by Sherman‘s subsequent work in Earthride and Wino‘s in The Hidden Hand and the reunited Saint Vitus. I wasn’t there to see it, but it looks in the video below like it was one hell of a time.

Whoever TubeVision is, they’ve been taping shows in and around Virginia for well over a decade. They were there at Strange Matter and captured the full Spirit Caravan set, a genuine moment of heavy rock history marking their return in a heavy rock climate no doubt more welcoming than there had been the first time around, and for that alone, I’d shake his/her hand if presented with the opportunity. Spirit Caravan headline at this year’s inaugural Maryland Doom Fest this June with The Obsessed‘s Ed Gulli on drums (info here), filling in for Vasquez who’ll be on tour in Europe with Saint Vitus at the time, that band rejoined by original vocalist Scott Reagers.

Enjoy this full set and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, Live at Strange Matter, Richmond, VA, March 8, 2014

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Wino Wednesday: “Adrift” Live in Frederick, MD, Feb. 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on April 15th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

It’s been two weeks since the last Wino Wednesday, which I think is as long as I’ve gone in the more-than-three-years since the feature started. Between the Quarterly Review and traveling for Roadburn, time was pretty limited, but I didn’t want to let it go any longer than it already has, so here we are. Half a decade ago, in 2010, Scott “Wino” Weinrich, issued his first acoustic album, Adrift (review here), via Exile on Mainstream.

Having at that point already fronted the beginning stages of the Saint Vitus reunion, it was something of a side-step for the guitarist/vocalist, still just three years removed from the last The Hidden Hand album and also participating at that point in Shrinebuilder‘s 2009 offering and the subsequent shows, but for Wino fans, it made sense for him to dig to the roots of his songwriting process and unearth something like Adrift, which in turn led to his collaboration with Conny Ochs and a new style of performance he continues to refine today.

I wouldn’t call his first steps in that direction tentative. His first acoustic tour was with his Shrinebuilder bandmate Scott Kelly, also of Neurosis, and they released a split 7″ to mark the occasion, but with Adrift, we got to see a new side of Wino‘s personality, not necessarily separate from the ride-these-riffs grooves of Spirit Caravan or the foundational trad doom of The Obsessed, but more contemplative, more up front. An acoustic guitar provides little cover, and Adrift laid bare a lot of Wino‘s persona in a way that felt sincere in the listening and still managed to deliver in terms of songwriting and performance.

For this week’s Wino Wednesday, we have a clip of Wino playing the title-track of Adrift live at Guido’s Speakeasy, in Frederick, Maryland, which is arguably the epicenter of Wino‘s influence at this point. At the very heart of a Maryland doom he helped create, he stands with an acoustic guitar, a crappy stand that can’t seem to actually hold up the microphone, and someone with a shaky cellphone recording it vertically. It’s not the best quality clip I’ve ever posted for a Wino Wednesday, but worth it for the solo at the end.

Hope you enjoy:

Wino, “Adrift” Live at Guido’s Speakeasy, Frederick, MD, Feb. 1, 2014

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Wino Wednesday: Premonition 13 Jamming at Born-Free 3 Chopper Show, June 2011

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

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

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Wino Wednesday Premiere: Wino & Conny Ochs, “Timeless Spirit”

Posted in audiObelisk on March 11th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Happy Wino Wednesday.

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 wino-conny-ochs-(Photo-by-Albert-Mojica)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, wino-conny-ochs-freedom-conspiracyconveying 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.

Exile on Mainstream CD preorder

Exile on Mainstream LP preorder

Earsplit Distro preorder link

Scott “Wino” Weinrich on Thee Facebooks

Conny Ochs on Thee Facebooks

 

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan Live at Emissions from the Monolith II, May 2001

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

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 CaravanWino, 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

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Wino & Conny Ochs’ Freedom Conspiracy Preorders Available

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 24th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino-&-conny-ochs-(photo-by-albert-mojica)

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.

Info follows, duly yoinked from Exile on Mainstream‘s site:

wino & conny ochs freedom conspiracy

WINO & CONNY OCHS “Freedom Conspiracy” available for pre-order

Ladies & Gentlemen – time has come. “Freedom Conspiracy” – the sophomore effort by WINO & CONNY OCHS is available for pre-order.

First 50 pre-orders to receive a FREE copy of CONNY OCHS’ Suiciety 7inch!

Dear fans: as you may notice we needed to increase our price on this vinyl slightly due to increased postage costs and a bit more luxury print than usual. We hope you understand.

Buy this album on CD

Buy this album on LP

Earsplit Distro preorder link

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.

http://www.mainstreamrecords.de/
http://www.earsplitdistro.com/search?q=wino+conny+ochs
https://www.facebook.com/ScottWeinrich
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Conny-Ochs/112536815501097

Wino & Conny Ochs, “Crystal Madonna” Live at South of Mainstream 2012

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Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed, “The Way She Fly” Live in Tucson, AZ, July 1992

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 18th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

WINO WEDNESDAY

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

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Wino Wednesday: The Wino Trio, “The Woman in the Orange Pants” Live at the 9:30 Club, 2009

Posted in Bootleg Theater on February 4th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

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.

Enjoy:

Wino, “The Woman in the Orange Pants” Live at the 9:30 Club, April 11, 2009

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