Wino & Conny Ochs Announce March 31 Release for Freedom Conspiracy

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 VitusThe 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 and conny ochs (Photo by Albert Mojica)

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

Wino & Conny Ochs, “Crystal Madonna” Live in L.A., Aug. 8, 2012

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Wino Wednesday: Wino, Nick Oliveri and Members of Saviours Cover “Hellbound Train” in Chicago, 2013

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 21st, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Last week, when I posted about Royale Daemons, a new trio featuring Scott “Wino” WeinrichNick 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, WinoOliveri 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

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Wino Wednesday: Wino, Nick Oliveri and Joey Castillo to Debut this Weekend as Royale Daemons

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 14th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Some exciting Wino-related news today in the announcement that he, former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri and former Danzig/Goatsnake/Queens of the Stone Age drummer Joey Castillo have teamed up in a new band called Royale Daemons. The trio will make their live debut this coming Sunday at the Complex in Glendale, California, along with acoustic sets from both Wino and Oliveri at what seems to be a matinee put on by Church of the 8th Day. Here’s the info:

[PLEASE NOTE: As per an update from Oliveri, the show has been canceled. More if/when I hear it.]

That’s about all I know. The possibilities are pretty wide open for what kind of outfit Royale Daemons actually is — other than well-voweled — since Wino, Oliveri and Castillo have all proven over the years to be wildly versatile. Oliveri also debuted with his solo project Nick Oliveri’s Uncontrollable last year (streamed here), and how this might affect that, I’ve no idea. But whether it’s an acoustic thing, or a full-on heavy rock trio, something jammy, something doomed, or all or none of it, there’s no doubt this crew can handle whatever stylistic turns might come up. Needless to say, I’ll be looking for video next week from the show on Sunday, and whatever I find, I’ll pass along.

Until then, since Wino‘s also doing an acoustic set at the show, it made sense to me to hit up something from his initial solo run. The below clip comes from his European tour in 2010 supporting the Adrift album, and it’s the Motörhead cover “Iron Horse/Born to Lose” that’s been featured in Wino Wednesday probably more times than I can count at this point. This version from Belgium stands out not only for the performance, which is laid back and engaging, but for the setup Wino gives it, talking about seeing Sabbath in ’72, Alice Cooper Band and others and how it inspired his love of heavy rock and roll.

Hope you enjoy:

Wino, “Iron Horse/Born to Lose” live in Belgium, Oct. 10, 2010

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Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed, 1985 Promo Demo in Full

Posted in Bootleg Theater on January 7th, 2015 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

This isn’t the first The Obsessed demo. Starting out as Warhorse in 1976 before switching to the lasting moniker the next year, the band already had at least two recordings prior to this one in 1980 and 1982, and there are other hints of things out there, live recordings and so on, that make the history even harder to chase down. Their self-titled debut was recorded around this time, and there was the whole thing with the lost Metal Blade album, so while I’d like to be able to speak with some authority about where/when this demo falls into place amid everything else, I’d only be pretending — as I think, would most others who attempted the same who weren’t actually involved in the band in some way.

That said, if anyone wants to donate a complete history of 1985 Promo Demo, I’m all ears. Seems likely to me this is compiled from different sources, but if you want to check out some raw versions of “Feelings,” “Kill Ugly Naked,” “Neatz Brigade” and “Mental Kingdom,” it’ll sort you out with all the tape hiss you can ask for. Still, even with only half the story told — the half that goes, “It’s a thing and it exists” — it’s worth a glimpse into the earlier doings of The Obsessed, and after you listen I doubt you’ll need me to point out how well these tracks have managed to hold up even as we hit the 30-year mark since they were put to tape.

With Spirit Caravan‘s reunion having taken such precedent last year, there wasn’t much word from The Obsessed throughout 2014, and I’m not sure how much that’ll change this year with the promise of a new Wino & Conny Ochs album and other projects on the horizon, but they”re always somewhere in the background, and as a vehicle for Wino to return to whenever he feels it’s right, they’ve proven a more than worthy home base.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, 1985 Promo Demo

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Wino Wednesday: Wino Live at Feast of Krampus, Brooklyn, NY, 12.28.14

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 31st, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Seems only fair to close out another year of Wino Wednesdays with the most recent clip possible. I guess it’s not really such a novelty anymore that a show can happen and video from it can surface almost immediately — instant gratification isn’t really anything new at this point, at least as regards digital media — but I still get a kick out of it when something like this clip of Wino at the St. Vitus bar in Brooklyn this past weekend comes up. Because, hey, this pretty much just happened. And I’m old. The latter probably has something to do with it as well.

The occasion was a two-night fest called Feast of Krampus held in Philly at Underground Arts and the aforementioned St. Vitus bar. Also on the bill with Wino were Sixty Watt ShamanGodmakerMoon ToothBirch Hill DamWizard Eye and Buzzard Canyon. A stacked lineup, to say the least, and plenty of volume to precede an acoustic set that probably would be a mystery to all but the converted who knew what and whom they were watching. Anyone else might wonder why six loud-as-hell bands might precede a guy playing (mostly) unplugged solo singer-songwriter material.

But you get it, so it doesn’t really need explaining. I’m happy to be able to round out 2014’s many Wino Wednesdays with this latest show from the man himself, and all the better that it was filmed by ubiquitous Brooklyn cameraman Frank Huang, whose work is as admirable as the ethic that so steadily produces it. Seems like it was a pretty cool show, and of course no matter the context, Wino always manages to pull off unmatched heavy vibes.

Hope you enjoy and hope you have a great New Year’s:

Wino, Live at Feast of Krampus, St. Vitus bar, Brooklyn, 12.28.14

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Wino Wednesday: Spirit Caravan, “Sea Legs” Live in Athens, 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Been doing a lot of 2014 wrap-up stuff this week, so it seemed only fair to include a Wino Wednesday post that included the biggest Wino news of 2014, i.e., the reunion with Spirit Caravan this past spring and summer. Wino, together with bassist/vocalist Dave Sherman (also Earthride and Weed is Weed) and drummer Henry Vasquez (also Saint Vitus and Blood of the Sun), the latter brought in for original member Gary Isom (also in Weed is Weed) after an apparent falling out during the rehearsal stage, hit the road in the US and Europe both for significant tours. The States was more than a month if I recall, and Europe included festival stops at Desertfest and more. The timing didn’t work for me to catch a show, but there’s always next year.

To that end, Spirit Caravan will headline next year’s inaugural Maryland Doom Fest along with The Skull and Apostle of Solitude. The three-day festival was announced last week and boasts the aforementioned as well as a slew from the Maryland doom scene and area surrounding including Iron Man, Valkyrie, Lord, Unorthodox and many others. That’s set for the end of June, the 26-28, just as the humidity is really settling over the Eastern Seaboard, so should be an excellent time. I’m hoping to be able to make the trip south for it, got it penciled into the calendar, so the chance to make up for missing Spirit Caravan in 2014 is something I’m relishing.

But, in the spirit of wrapping up this year — next Wednesday is New Year’s Eve, so this isn’t technically the last Wino Wednesday of 2014, but it’s close enough, so go with me on it — here’s Spirit Caravan performing “Sea Legs” from the classic 1999 album, Jug Fulla Sun earlier this year in Athens, Greece. The clip was filmed in July, and you can see all three members of the band, Wino, Sherman and Vasquez, on stage and kicking ass.


Spirit Caravan, “Sea Legs” Live in Athens, Greece, July 4, 2014

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Wino Wednesday: Wino & Conny Ochs, “Heavy Kingdom” Live in Amsterdam, 2012

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

One of the oddly satisfying things about doing Wino Wednesday for as long as I have at this point is the fact that whenever I think I’ve seen it all, I turn a corner and find something else I didn’t expect. I think it’s safe to say that because of the more widespread technology there are way more people taping shows now than in, just an example, 1994, when Wino was making a go of it with The Obsessed, so a lot of the majority of the live clips for Wino Wednesday are culled from the last five years, give or take. Even within that sphere, the supply might seem to dwindle, but it never runs dry.

I’ve been thinking of Wino‘s upcoming shows in Philly and New York right after the Xmas holiday for the Feast of Krampus two-nighter with Sixty Watt Shaman and about the recent announcement of a second Wino & Conny Ochs collaboration, dubbed Freedom Conspiracy, to be issued in 2015 probably through Exile on Mainstream, and I guess I’ve had acoustic stuff on the brain, so I’m looking through thinking I’ve done just about everything worthwhile from the Wino & Conny Ochs 2012 European tour, and then I find this video from Amsterdam of the two of them playing in what essentially looks like a box made of brick to a small, seated audience just one day before they’d hit Roadburn in Tilburg, and it proved once again that I’ve barely scratched the surface.

What makes this video special in my mind, apart from the intimacy of the setting at De Slang — bare lighting, bare stage, theatre-style seats — is the fact that there are no microphones. Both Wino and Ochs‘ voices are projected naturally to the crowd (I recognize a face or two from Roadburns past), and it gives a feel that’s just perfect for the raw nature of that material. They perform “Heavy Kingdom,” the title-track of their 2012 debut (review here) and cover “Nothing” by Townes van Zandt, and the results are gorgeous.

Hope you enjoy:

Wino & Conny Ochs, Live at De Slang, Amsterdam, April 11, 2012

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Wino, Sixty Watt Shaman and More Confirmed for Feast of Krampus in Philly and Brooklyn

Posted in Whathaveyou on December 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

The holidays. What a nightmare. Fortunately, for those who’d need one more fix before the New Year rings in a whole 365-day batch of nonsense, Feast of Krampus would seem to have you covered, at least if you’re in Philly or Brooklyn. What might otherwise have been a weekender with Wino and Sixty Watt Shaman, who once upon a 1999 shared a split release — Wino with Spirit CaravanSixty Watt during their original run — has become a two-night, two-city festival at Underground Arts on Dec. 27 and the St. Vitus bar on Dec. 28 with a host of killer support acts to round out the bill, including Philly natives Wizard Eye and Massachusetts’ own Birch Hill Dam, as well as Chimpgrinder and Buzzard Canyon and others with apparently more to come.

I’ll defer to the PR wire for details, but it looks like a badass time either way. Dig it:


Some Pig Presents: Feast of Krampus

A Dark and Unholy Holiday Celebration

Saturday, 12/27 at Underground Arts (Philadelphia, PA)
Sunday, 12/28 at Saint Vitus (Brooklyn, NY)

A chill in the air, and a darkness in the night. It is the eve that the dark lord Krampus calls his disciples to the sacrificial altar…

Brooklyn-based booking/promotions agency Some Pig Presents is proud to announce the first annual music festival Feast of Krampus, with dates in Philadelphia and Brooklyn. Conceived as a dark, twisted holiday celebration, Feast of Krampus will feature the heavy metal legend Wino, along with a support bill comprising some of the best acts in heavy music. Save your holiday cheer for the department stores and cocktail parties; Feast of Krampus is a dark offering of blood, volume, and mayhem to the merciless lord of Yuletide terror.

Headlining the inaugural Feast of Krampus is metal legend Scott “Wino” Weinrich, frontman of quintes- sential heavy bands Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, and Spirit Caravan. Since forming the Obsessed in 1976, and later joining Saint Vitus for their definitive 1986 release Born Too Late, Wino has stood at the fore- front of the American underground metal scene, and his influence on doom and stoner rock cannot be measured. For over 30 years he has stood as a pillar of the genre, and his prolific studio output and con- stant touring reveal an unrivaled longevity. The Feast of Krampus finds Wino recently returned from a 6 week, 35th anniversary Saint Vitus tour through Europe, and marks a triumphant homecoming.

Also appearing at both dates will be heavy veterans Sixty Watt Shaman. Since 1996, Sixty Watt Shaman has been brewing a bluesy, psychedelic brand of heavy groove rock, releasing 3 classic albums between 1998 and 2002. While the years since contained a number of one-off reunion performances, 2014 has seen the Shaman more active than ever, with appearances at London’s DesertFest and Baltimore’s Moving The Earth Festival, as well as the release of their first new original material in over 10 years.

Filling out each bill are a number of noteworthy acts both local and regional. In Philly we’ll be joined by Wizard Eye, Skeleton Hands, and Chimpgrinder, while Brooklyn support includes Godmaker, Birch Hill Dam, Moon Tooth, and Buzzard Canyon.

FEAST OF KRAMPUS is more than a concert: it’s a dark, unholy holiday celebration like no other. You better watch out, and you better not cry, because Krampus is coming…

Philly tickets
Brooklyn tickets

Sixty Watt Shaman, “Fear Death by Water” Live at Moving the Earth 2, Baltimore, Maryland, 03.22.14

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Wino Wednesday: The Obsessed Cover Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “On the Hunt”

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 10th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

Until a pair of live albums surfaced in 2012 to coincide with The Obsessed‘s touring reunion, their 2001 split with Jimmy Bower‘s underappreciated The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight was their final release. A 7″ vinyl put out on Southern Lord, it featured just one song from each band, both of them Lynyrd Skynyrd covers. For The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight, it was “Cheatin’ Woman,” and for The Obsessed, “On the Hunt,” both taken from Skynyrd‘s 1975 full-length, Nuthin’ Fancy.

Aside from being a ringing endorsement for that album, the single was kind of a curio for The Obsessed. By 2001, guitarist/vocalist Scott “Wino” Weinrich had moved on to Spirit Caravan – hell, by later in 2001, you could say Spirit Caravan were on their way out, though they didn’t disband until 2002 — and so far as I know The Obsessed weren’t playing any shows or anything like that. “On the Hunt” had also appeared on the 1999 Incarnate compilation, and it was recorded by Joe Barresi in 1994, so it’s not like Wino called up Guy Pinhas and Greg Rogers and said “let’s go,” but for The Obsessed having called it quits six years earlier, to have one song surface on a 7″ seems a little out of left field.

I won’t argue, though. With Dale Crover of the Melvins enlisted for a guest spot on drums and backing vocals, “On the Hunt” gets stomp to match its riffy groove, and while The Obsessed was never quite as arranged as Skynyrd – no piano, no 17 guitars or however many it wound up being — they pretty clearly get to the heart of the track with their cover. Wino was still covering “On the Hunt” as recently as 2010, though by then it was a solo acoustic rendering, so I guess he managed to strip it down even further some 16 years later. Go figure.

Enjoy and have a great Wino Wednesday:

The Obsessed, “On the Hunt”

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Wino Wednesday: The Hidden Hand, Full Set Live in Amsterdam, 2007

Posted in Bootleg Theater on December 3rd, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

I count myself lucky to have seen The Hidden Hand the few times I did. I could tell you a story about blowing a chance to do a show with them owing to a snowstorm around when their last album, The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote, was released in 2007, but more pleasantly, I recall a few especially killer gigs circa 2004’s Mother Teacher Destroyer that were an enlightenment in terms of showing me the power of what a classic heavy trio could accomplish on stage, Wino and bassist/vocalist Bruce Falkinburg playing off each other’s work so well. When it hit, their third and final outing didn’t do as much for me — its narrative of rebellion seemed put together after the fact and the songs came across as moving away from the warmth of the record prior, which I still hold as their best — but even without drummer Dave Hennessy or Evan Tanner, who played on 2005’s Devoid of Color EP as well as The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote, they were an excellent and continually underappreciated band. At the time, you could say the same for Spirit CaravanThe Obsessed and Saint Vitus too.

Fair enough. The Resurrection of Whiskey Foote came out in Feb. 2007, and they were done by August of that year, but in between they took time to hit Europe for a full month. The complete set which you can see below was webcast May 9, 2007, on — not linked because it doesn’t exist anymore — and features cuts from all three The Hidden Hand records, emphasizing some of what was best about that band in their prime. The show was at Paradiso in Amsterdam, and also on the tour were Philly heavy prog instrumentalists Stinking Lizaveta and weirdo doomers Beehoover. Sounds like a solid bill. Quality on the clip isn’t the greatest if you’re looking to make it fullscreen, but it’s still worth checking out for the pro audio alone.

Either way, hope you enjoy and have an excellent Wino Wednesday:

The Hidden Hand, Live at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, 2007

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Wino Wednesday: Shrinebuilder, Full Set Live in Baltimore, 11.13.09

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 26th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

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 CisnerosSaint Vitus for WinoNeurosis 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

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “Blessed Night,” Live in France, Oct. 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on November 5th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

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

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “Blessed Night” Live in Colmar, France, Oct. 9, 2014

Posted in Bootleg Theater on October 15th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

wino wednesday

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

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Wino Wednesday: Saint Vitus, “Look Behind You” Live in Portland, OR, 2010

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 24th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

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 ObsessedSaint VitusSpirit CaravanThe Hidden Hand, Place of SkullsPremonition 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 and Miserable 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

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Wino Wednesday: Wino, “Shot in the Head” from Adrift

Posted in Bootleg Theater on September 17th, 2014 by H.P. Taskmaster

Not exactly the most uplifting message ever put into a song, but Wino‘s take on Savoy Brown‘s “Shot in the Head” was nonetheless a highlight of the 2010 acoustic debut, Adrift. That record (review here) came out four years ago this month, and had its fair share of melancholy, with songs like “Whatever” and “Old and Alone,” but despite its foreboding title, “Shot in the Head” was actually more upbeat — frustration rather than depression — and its road-weary lyric fit Adrift‘s personality well, Wino taking the lines, “I’ve had enough of getting shot in the head/I’ve had enough and I wish I was dead,” and presenting them not with a downer woefulness, but something closer to the bluesy humor of the original.

The track opened Savoy Brown‘s 1972 full-length, Lion’s Share, which was the British outfit’s ninth album in six years. Understandable at that point why they might’ve “had enough,” but it’s worth noting that guitarist/vocalist/founder Kim Simmonds has toured and released music ever since, working with well over 60 musicians in various Savoy Brown lineups since starting out in 1967 — up to and including this year’s Goin’ to the Delta – so apparently he was still a ways off from his fill. Wino isn’t quite there in the number of people he’s worked with, though if you count both bands he’s been in and bands with whom he’s guested, he’s got to be over 40, but it’s plain enough to see a correlation there, and he seems to have a good time with the song, doubling his vocals to create a kind of one-man blues chorus and sneaking a plugged-in solo into the second half.

I looked for a live version of “Shot in the Head,” but came up empty. Could’ve sworn I saw him do this song at some point, but there doesn’t seem to be video to back that up. The album version’s plenty raucous, and I hope you enjoy it and have a happy Wino Wednesday:

Wino, “Shot in the Head” (Savoy Brown cover)

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