Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Be the Night” at Vultures of Volume II

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 9th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Happy last Wino Wednesday.

I wish I could say this was planned out, but the simple truth is that until last Friday I had no idea how Wino Wednesday would end. Spirit Caravan — guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich, bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman and drummer Ed Gulli — sort of quietly announced they would be playing new material at Vultures of Volume II, and it was just my luck that Project Nod Zine was on hand recording the show and twice-over my luck that they kindly gave me permission to host the video of said new material. The song is called “Be the Night,” and if their announcement of its existence was subtle, so was the way in which they actually went about delivering it.

No fanfare, no notice, no, “Hey, this is the first new song this band has written in more than a decade.” They played it first, sped through its two-minute course at top speed almost as an intro to the rest of their set, and never mentioned it again. That was it. I’m not even sure most people knew what they were watching while it was being played. In fact, the lack of a big deal being made was so fervent that I’ve spent the last couple days trying to see if I could find them having done the song sometime before — in case I’m wrong and it’s not really new. Somehow, that would also make sense as a way to end the feature. Well, I can’t account for when it might have first been written, but there doesn’t seem to be any other performance before this past Friday in Hagerstown, MD (review here). If I am wrong, I hope someone will point it out.

Otherwise, it seems only too fitting to end this feature at number 200 with new material, since if we’ve learned anything over the four-year span since Wino Wednesday started in Aug. 2011 with the Premonition 13 video for “Le Hechicera de la Jeringa,” it’s that the man is positively relentless. Shows, bands, reunions, splits, collaborations, solo outings, we’ve explored a decades-long career that has left an indelible mark on the scope of American doom, and we close out with the reinforcement that, as much as he’s done, he’s not done yet. Couldn’t be more perfect if I’d planned it — which, again, I didn’t.

When and if I get news of a new Spirit Caravan or any other Wino-related release, I’ll let you know. And I’m not going to say this is the last Wino Wednesday I’ll ever do, because who knows what time, boredom and awesome show-tapers might bring, but as a weekly regular feature, at least for now, that’s a wrap. Thanks to everyone who’s liked, commented, shared, or taken the time to read any of it along the way.

Enjoy “Be the Night,” visit Project Nod Zine on YouTube here and Thee Facebooks here, and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Spirit Caravan, “Be the Night” live at Vultures of Volume II, Sept. 4, 2015

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Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed, “Neatz Brigade” from 1985 Promo Demo

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 19th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

Happy Wino Wednesday.

Can’t imagine I’m the only person around who counts “Neatz Brigade” as their favorite The Obsessed track. Hell, the dudes in Germany’s Rotor liked it enough to cover it for their Festsaal Kreuzberg live record (review here), so figure they dug it well enough. It’s been featured for Wino Wednesday a couple times — once Wino sat in with the aforementioned Rotor to do it live in 2010, and once from the reunited version of The Obsessed playing it at Roadburn 2012 — and while The Obsessed‘s 1985 Promo Demo has also been presented in full, it’s worth highlighting the song individually as well as it appears there, if only because the raw, early version kicks ass. Not sure what more of an excuse I’d need at this point.

By the time it showed up on a proper studio offering, nine years would have passed, and it’s now been 21 since The Obsessed‘s final studio offering, The Church Within, was released in 1994. Still, it passes the age-old test of, “If it came in today, what would I think?” First, I’d think, “wow, this sounds just like that Obsessed song with the line about making love in a mausoleum,” and then I’d think it’s pretty kickass. If you’ve never heard it, the production on the 1985 demo version is as raw as one might expect, but 30 years after the fact, that sound has aesthetic appeal beyond heavy metal nostalgia, and “Neatz Brigade”‘s rolling riff comes through clearly as a signature piece. One can understand why, a nearly a decade later, it would still have enough life in it to show up on an actual record.

This is Wino Wednesday #197 as we march toward what I’ve decided will be the conclusion of the feature at #200. If you’re wondering if I’ve had second thoughts about ending the series at 200, absolutely, yes, I have.

Enjoy “Neatz Brigade” in all its scratchy glory and have a great Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, “Neatz Brigade” from 1985 Promo Demo

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Wino Wednesday: The Wino Band, “Secret Realm Devotion”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on August 5th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

I’m not saying I’m doing a countdown or anything, but definitely as we get down to the wire on the last few weeks of having Wino Wednesday as a regular feature, it’s made me think about what are some of my favorite tracks the man has produced in his 30-plus-year career. And yeah, there are some classics along the way, between his work in The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, etc. More to the point, he’s been a part of shaping American doom as we know it today, in the part of the Maryland scene that still seems to be coming to grips with what The Obsessed accomplished during their run, and well beyond.

Over six years ago now, Wino joined forces with Clutch drummer Jean-Paul Gaster and Rezin bassist Jon Blank to form the Wino band and release Punctuated Equilibrium on Southern Lord. As a record, it seemed to draw together the various sides of Wino‘s songwriting that had emerged in Spirit Caravan, The Obsessed and The Hidden Hand, and while the band’s run would be cut short by the death of Blank following their 2009 European tour and Wino would proceed to use the moniker for his acoustic solo work — making his debut in that form with 2010’s Adrift while also fleshing out the Saint Vitus reunion — the record captured something of his work that none of the other bands had, and it retains a personality of its own listening back to it now.

I always dug “Secret Realm Devotion” and thought of it as what it felt like doing while standing around at an empty doom show waiting to watch something the world outside had no idea about. That’s not really what the song is speaking toward, as the lyrics show:

The patterns on the wall send messages to me
A piece unto the whole through blindness I can see
My heart’s like a bird in a cage, darkness obscures the display
Emotion caused reason to bend, devotions obsession transcends
Not a minute that goes by, without a presence in my brain
No limit just the sky, it’s beautiful and it’s strange
Secret realm inside heart beat turns the key
Deepest love inside unlocks the mystery
When I’m down inside a tear, wondering why I’m in this place
Your comfort is so dear, when the moon is full I see your face
Secret realm divine, ritual ecstasy,
Leave this world behind, becomes reality
You’re locked into my heart, I’m with you night and day
From the altar of your star, to the gleaming crown
Of the moonlight rays

But it was fun to think of it that way anyhow. Whatever it’s about, it’s a quality track that stands among my personal favorites from Wino‘s vast discography, and I hope you enjoy:

Wino, “Secret Realm Devotion”

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Wino Wednesday: Saviours & Wino, “Limb from Limb” (Motörhead Cover), Live in L.A., 2013

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 29th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

happy wino wednesday

There has been a lot of quality video from this tour, which Wino undertook with Oakland, CA’s Saviours and Nick Oliveri after the three parties — Oliveri with his band Mondo Generator — opened for Clutch on their annual holiday run leading up to New Year’s 2013. It would also seem to have been the root of Wino‘s recent studio collaboration with Saviours (give me another week or two; we’ll get there) and for the advent of the yet-to-be-realized Royale Daemons collaboration with Oliveri, assuming that’s still a thing in the offing for somewhere down the line. Vague enough? Good.

Point is the tour-as-nexus also yielded much documentation, be it in full-set videos or clips of other on-stage jams between the various players. It must have been a good one, since nobody’s quite let it completely go. Fair enough to revisit, then, as we continue to wind down the Wino Wednesday feature on the march to number 200 in a few more weeks (this is #194, if you’re counting). This time around, it’s Wino and Saviours delivering a killer take on Motörhead‘s “Limb from Limb.”

The clip comes from Los Angeles, was filmed Jan. 11, 2013, at The Satellite, and even this wasn’t the first time Wino and Saviours had jamemd out — the band having brought the legendary frontman on stage at Scion Rock Fest in 2010 as well — but clearly by the time they got out to L.A., they were comfortable sharing a stage together. Of course, the song is the closing track from Motörhead‘s 1979 sophomore outing, Overkill, and it’s no less of a classic than that album as a whole, but Wino and Saviours give it its due, the former hanging onto the microphone in a manner that anyone who saw him with Saint Vitus over the last six years will likely recognize.

Hope you enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Saviours & Wino, “Overkill” Live in Los Angeles, Jan. 11, 2013

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Kill Ugly Naked” Live at Maryland Doom Fest

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

happy wino weds

I’ve officially decided that I’m going to at least semi-retire Wino Wednesday after the 200th edition. A fictional document has been written in legalese, signed and notarized — yes, my brain has its own internal notary — and included in that are clauses stipulating that the feature can be revived pretty much any Wednesday I feel like it and that all parties involved acknowledge that 200 posts will be plenty and that if there are any complaints, I’ll simply point the complainer back to the 200 editions preceding, because there’s no way he or she possibly read them all. I’m sorry, just no way.

So that’s that. We’ve got eight more Wino Wednesdays to go, however, and this week’s comes from Spirit Caravan‘s recent appearance at the inaugural Maryland Doom Fest in Frederick, MD. Organized by War Injun drummer JB Matson, the festival was by all accounts I’ve seen a rousing success, and well deserved. Matson put together a killer lineup and Spirit Caravan were among the headliners, playing as the trio of Wino on guitar/vocals, Dave Sherman on bass/vocals and Ed Gulli on drums in place of Henry Vasquez, who was in Europe with Saint Vitus at the time, that band being fronted by original vocalist Scott Reagers at least for the time being.

What makes Gulli‘s presence in the trio so special, particularly for a song like “Kill Ugly Naked” — which was released on Spirit Caravan‘s classic 1999 debut, Jug Fulla Sun — is the fact that he played drums for The Obsessed when that band recorded it on their 1985 promo demo. Gulli and “Kill Ugly Naked” quite literally have 30 years of history between them. Fucking awesome.

The shot’s a little odd — a 16:9 aspect ratio, vertical, is just bizarre looking — and where Sherman should be there seems instead to be somebody’s elbow, but the sound is decent and you get a sense for how killer the performance was, so I’ll take it. Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday.

Oh, and if you’re wondering, the Maryland Doom Fest has already announced its 2016 dates. It’ll be the weekend of June 24, 2016, once again at Cafe 611 in Frederick. Excellent.

Spirit Caravan, “Kill Ugly Naked” Live at Maryland Doom Fest

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Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed, Incarnate in Full

Posted in Bootleg Theater on July 8th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

The long-established tradition (around here) of Wino Wednesday returns after a two-week absence. Last week, with the Quarterly Review, there wasn’t really time to get one together, and the week before that, hell, I don’t even remember what was happening, but something that felt like a valid enough excuse at the time. Nonetheless, we’re approaching ever-closer to Wino Wednesday #200, so the only thing to do is plunge ahead once again like we never missed a beat. Did you notice it was gone the last two weeks? No, probably not. You have a life. I’m the only one who notices this stuff.

All the same, we come back to Wino Wednesday in style today, with The Obsessed‘s 1999 compilation, Incarnate. The first Wino-related release on Southern Lord — it was catalog number “sunn3” — it was a posthumous issue, The Obsessed having broken up following the release of 1994’s The Church Within, though a split 7″ with The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight also surfaced in 2001. By the time Incarnate showed up, Wino was about four years deep into the tenure of Spirit Caravan, who started out as Shine in 1995, and had released their debut album, Jug Fulla Sun, the year before. Still, the collection of demos and other odds and ends served well to tie up The Obsessed‘s run, and its 2003 reissue (also on Southern Lord), along with Wino‘s involvement in Dave Grohl‘s Probot project, would help introduce him to a new generation of fans.

It’s a 59-minute run, so not a slight undertaking, and of course being a comp it brings together recordings from various sources, but if you’re going to listen to it front to back, it’s probably not your first time hearing this stuff. Playing it now to write up this post, it seems eminently worth a revisit. Still not sure the status of The Obsessed‘s reunion, as it seems to have given way to that of Spirit Caravan, but we’ll see how it shakes out. In the meantime, enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, Incarnate (1999)

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Wino Wednesday: Wino, “Dark Ravine” Live in Chicago, Jan. 2013

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 17th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

As I suppose will happen when you’re approaching your 200th Wino Wednesday — this is #190, so if there’s a countdown (and there isn’t), then the countdown is on — I went to look up the date when Wino was at Reggies in Chicago early in 2013 and found the info in another Wino Wednesday post. File under “Go Figure.” The date, incidentally, was Jan. 6, and it was after he and Mondo Generator and Saviours finished touring with Clutch for their annual holiday bonanza, and that other clip was of Nick Oliveri and Saviours and Wino jamming out a cover of Savoy Brown‘s “Hellbound Train,” a song Wino had also been performing for over a year in the duo Wino & Conny Ochs.

That set-finishing jam seems not to have been the only exceptional circumstance around those shows. “Dark Ravine” was a track originally included on the first Wino & Conny Ochs album, 2012’s Heavy Kingdom (review here), and as Wino did tours in that duo in Europe and the US, it’s easy to imagine that material was pretty fresh in mind. Still, it’s an interesting take to hear him perform the song solo; its already lonely, melancholic vibe becoming only more so for the solitary rendition. The camera in this clip sticks pretty close to the man himself — it’s a tight shot the whole time through — so there’s not as much a sense of what the crowd’s response would’ve been, but the song sounds good anyway, and we get a little of that good acoustic fuzz, so I’ll take it.

Been curious to see what Wino‘s going to do next, touring-wise. He’ll play with Spirit Caravan at the Maryland Doom Fest at the end of the month, but with the status of his spot in Saint Vitus questionable, it’s kind of an in-between moment. In the past, that’s brought about new projects, and there have been murmurings in that direction with the Royale Daemons collaboration with Oliveri, but nothing has materialized there as yet, so time will tell what’s actually going to happen.

One thing’s for sure, more Wednesdays. Enjoy:

Wino, “Dark Ravine” Live at Reggies, Chicago, Jan. 6. 2013

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Wino Wednesday: Wino Covers Freddie King in Sacramento, CA, April 2015

Posted in Bootleg Theater on June 10th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

The Texas Cannonball, bluesman Freddie King included “Going Down” on his Leon Russell-produced 1971 album, Getting Ready, and it’s a smokin’ number with of course King‘s stellar guitar work and a post-Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters meld of blues and heavy rock and roll. The song was written by Don Nix and is identifiable early by its repeating “down, down, down, down” hook and accompanying instrumental descent, and King is somewhat malleable to its sliding groove — less than a decade earlier, he’d touched on surf and bossa nova on separate albums, so maybe malleability wasn’t a problem for him. The song’s been covered plenty of times over the years, and even Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow touched on that hook with “Self Portrait” from their first album, but King‘s version remains the definitive.

We don’t get to see the entirety of the jam Wino plays off it, but a glimpse is better than nothing. The show was April 18, 2015, at Ace of Spades in Sacramento, California, and Wino was there solo, supporting Black Label Society. He has a bassist onstage with him, and one who matches him for quick turns in the solo, which makes it all the more exciting, but I’m not sure who it actually is. Either way, we get to hear some of Wino‘s “unplugged” fuzz, which is a pretty delicate balance for a hollow instrument to strike without going all to hell in noise and a mess of feedback. Not exactly Wino‘s first time at the dance, so it’s not a surprise he’d nail it, but ultimately all this video does is make me hope that sooner or later he comes back to the eastern seaboard and that “Going Down” makes its way into the set, because I wouldn’t mind seeing the whole thing for myself if given the chance.

Hope you enjoy, ignore the whistling goon and have a great Wino Wednesday:

Wino, “Going Down” live in Sacramento, CA, April 18, 2015

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