Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich of THE OBSESSED

Interview by Anya Svirskaya

We recently had the opportunity to talk with Scott ‘Wino’ Weinrich, best known for being the frontman and guitarist of doom metal bands The Obsessed and Saint Vitus.

As a veteran of, and a huge influence on the doom genre, what are your views on the current musical state with the doom and stoner genres?

I think it’s running its natural course. Since the inception, or the resurgence, I should say, some years ago started most notably by Man’s Ruin label. I think we’re starting to see a little more diversity. At least I hope to think so. To me actually, I like look upon our music as hard rock, but more like hope rock. You’ve got to have some hope somewhere. It can’t all be doom and gloom. You know what I mean?

I know that most musicians in that genre don’t put labels on to their music, they just play what comes natural. I’ve observed in these last few years that the audience keeps getting younger. It’s refreshing to see my own generation discover this music.

Yeah I think so too. I love playing all these shows. It’s really nice to see the fact that this music is touching the youngest generation. I think we’re starting to see an evolution. We’re starting to see more melody, some more melodic stuff, and more progressive stuff is kind of happening and stretching the boundaries of the whole genre, I think.

So the sky is limit it would seem for the genre as far as its future is concerned.

Yeah, and you know it’s like I never really liked to call The Obsessed [a doom band]…. I guess Saint Vitus in a way is more of a doom band than I’d say The Obsessed. I guess The Obsessed, back in our day is a pretty doomy record, but I always like to try to have my messages end with some kind of silver lining. There’s got to be a ray of hope, that’s what I think.

I agree with that message. Things have to work out even if it doesn’t seem that way… Let’s go back to 2008, there was a documentary called “Such Hawks Such Hounds,” and you described briefly about how the record label treated The Obsessed. Would you ever consider signing to a major record label again?

Well check this out. It’s weird that you mention that because last night, out of the blue, after like 3 years, the dude who made “Such Hawks Such Hounds” came to our gig in LA. He handed me an envelope with a couple of hundred dollars. It was the royalties from my songs, also with the letter with all the accounting and everything. It’s fucking totally cool and it blew my mind. That is so rare.

That is great news, congratulations!

Thank you! I didn’t even count the money or look at it, but basically it shows me that there still is good people out there. They’re not all easy to find but there’s some good people out there. He’s retired from the business already because he said he made a few bad decisions. Basically he said he sold quite a few, he told me. As far as the record label goes, we signed a record deal with a licensing deal with Relapse Records at the beginning of this tour. One record and for a record of demos and outtake stuff. They gave us a phenomenal deal and I’m super happy.

Oh that’s great to hear. I am a firm believer that things always work out in the end.

Yeah, thank you.

In the last few years you put out groundbreaking music such Labour of Love and Freedom Conspiracy records with Conny Ochs. My personal favorite is your Manifesto. At that point in time, I was truly moved when I heard it. A good friend of mine got me into your music back in 2011. I was told if I want to listen to true music with heart and soul, I have to check you out because you’re the Bob Dylan of our generation.

That is too amazing. That makes feel amazing. I’m really glad that your friend imparted that to you because that brings us together now. That make me really feel good. I mean, I’ve had nothing but a lot of respect from bands and other people the last couple of years and I really appreciate it. It’s rewarding. It’s the best reward I could have even more than the money.

You do it your way and you don’t compromise your art for anyone and you’re not afraid to speak your mind. That’s what stand out about you as a person.

There’s been a lot of times that I felt like hanging it up, you know what I mean? It’s been kind of a struggle. I’ve always believed that this is what we do, and this is what we believe in, and so we continue to struggle.

Well, we are so glad that you didn’t give up and you soldiered on. So on to the present moment. The Obsessed are on tour and tonight you are playing in San Diego. Will fans hear some of the new material such as the song “Be The Night”?

We’re playing “Be The Night.” We’re playing “Sacred,” which is going to be the title track of the next record. The next record’s probably going to be out somewhere around February of next year. We’re getting ready to record it actually after the end of this tour. For new music, that’s what we’re playing “Be The Night” and “Sacred.” We have a couple other ones but we didn’t want to bust them out yet, because they’re going to be all over YouTube and stuff like that, before we get a chance to record them. I think we’re just kind of keeping them close to our heart for a minute, you know?

Who will be producing this record?

The demo “Be The Night” and “Sacred,” what we’re calling them, they’re actually very well recorded by our friend Rob Queen. He’s a private engineer in the state of Maryland. We’re going to be doing our full length with him and a pretty much nationally known guy named Frank Marconi. His nickname is “The Punisher.” He recorded bands like Clutch, Nothingface, and some other Relapse bands. He is my age. He’s got a beautiful studio in Maryland with all kinds of vintage gear. He’s also our front of the house guy. He runs sound for us live. Not on tour but in our home area. He’s a great guy and that’s who we’re going to be doing it with.

Of course, we’ll all be there. I always get my two cents in on the production because it’s really super important. Being a trio, I believe there’s got to be a lot of low end. It’s got to be fat and it’s got to sound full.

How many songs will be on the record?

There will probably be somewhere in the neighborhood of between 11 and 13 songs on the record. We did “Be The Night” in like three days. The mixes may be taking and bringing it up to about a week. But we weren’t in the studio the whole time. Three days tracking and then I just may be in the studio to finish the new record probably at least two weeks. We got a really good deal.

Has any pre-production started or are you waiting for the tour to finish?

When we get off tour, we’re going to take a couple days to decompress and then we’re going to start totally concentrating on rehearsing the material and finish up a little writing stuff. Then we’re going to play the Maryland Doom Fest. Immediately after Maryland Doom Fest we’re going to go into the studio for real. We’ve got ten days locked out at first and then after that we’ll probably just be doing little blocks of two-three days at a time. We got a ten day track window. We’re just going to go straight in there and knock out all the tracks. All our other tracks. I don’t really anticipate it taking longer than a month total, including mixing.

One last thing I am curious about. What is Wino currently listening to?

I like to listen to some jazz. I always listened to John McLaughlin. I like Gov’t Mule and Bad Brains. Sometimes I might be in the mood for a little Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing, that era of Discharge. Sometimes I listen to 70’s stuff. Lately I’ve been listening to Place of Skulls stuff. That’s pretty much it. I’m really into heavy 70’s bands like Buffalo and I like listening to Cactus and stuff like that.

I’ve been listening to some newer music lately. I’m really starting to get into some Type O Negative. I’ve been digging a little deeper in that.

Well now that’s all doom and gloom.

Yeah it’s more doom and gloom. And also somebody turned me on to Amy Winehouse lately. I was listening to some of her stuff and as much as that music style is not my cup of tea, I think she’s a pretty interesting catch with a good voice.

She was very talented with a unique voice. Any other bands we can add to the list?

A friend turned me on to the band The Wounded Kings when they had a lady singing.

Any parting words to your public before we wrap up?

I would just like to say thank you very much for doing the interview. I appreciate it. I appreciate you getting the word out and I want everyone to come on out to some shows. We’re going to make this record so that you can enjoy it.

Thank you so much for your time Wino. I will be on the lookout for the new album when it’s out. And even more so when you return to perform in my area, NYC.

Thank You! Bye, Anya

About Author

I was born and raised in Donetsk, Ukraine and immigrated to NYC when I was eight years old. My passion for photography stems from my love of heavy metal and hard rock as well as my concert experiences. I was exposed to this music at an early age and it has been a big part of my life into adulthood. It is very rewarding and exciting to capture the small moments that musicians have on stage and get caught up in all the action in the mosh pit and take photos from that vantage point. When I am not behind my camera, I can be found teaching preschool. My love of music and photography allows me to create and plan meaningful activities for my students. I was very young when I discovered my passion and my goal is to help do the same for my students.