Scott “Wino” Weinrich: Hi. Sorry we had to reschedule but I’m glad you still had time to do it.
Side Stage Magazine: Oh no problem. It worked out in the end so that is the most important. Anyway, how are you doing?
I’m doing good how about you ?
Doing well also. Moving Right along, The Obsessed are going to be going on tour soon and new record coming out shortly. How does it feel to have everything come together?
Well it feels pretty amazing. The thing about being on a bigger label is it’s really taken … the album has been finished for quite a time and we just got our personal copies the other day. So the thing about this kind of a label is they wait to release but when it comes out it has a really big push, so I’m super happy, I feel like the timing is right finally. I have felt like in the past for a lot of my endeavors the timing hasn’t been right, but I think that everything feels like it’s lining up pretty good right now, and we have a really, really good chemistry with the lineup now, and I feel pretty good about stuff.
We actually spoke back in June when it was announced that there was going to be a record release, but we spoke more about you as an artist so we didn’t get to touch on The Obsessed that much. But I just wanted to know what exactly happened that prompted The Obsessed to reactivate?
Well what happened was when spirit caravan was touring recently, then the drummer for spirit caravan was the last drummer in The Obsessed, Ed Gulli. Now back in the old days the obsessed Brian was actually Eddie’s kind of tech, he was our friend, our driver, and he would help Eddie. So when we put Spirit Caravan back together with Eddie then Brian came along, now I haven’t seen Brian in 30 years, and in that 30 year interim Brian had become quite a proficient drummer. So I don’t know if it was Eddie’s weird way of working from magic, because Eddie didn’t really like, from what I can gather, he didn’t seem to be that into touring, I’m not really sure. But the wheels are kind of coming off the wagon a little bit with Ed, and so at one point in time he got Brian behind the drum kit, so me and Brian had this personal jam and we were pretty blown away. After that me and Brian set up a jam that was more serious. At that point in time me and Brian knew that we were going to call the band The Obsessed. Sherman brought his gear over that night, he sort of rolled his gear over, and surprised us a little, and that’s where we went.
After we did the record for one reason or another we ended up parting ways with David Sherman, but he’s a great guy, he’s a beautiful guy, just things weren’t meant to be. But after that we started our own experiment with Bruce and Sara, we did about four or five shows, and the shows were pretty cool but for some reason or another there’s a confluence of events and stuff, and some decisions were made where that wasn’t meant to be either. So basically we’re back to a three piece with Reid Raley, and this is where I feel the chemistry is the strongest. I feel like we’ve got this great camaraderie, Reid’s knowledge of music goes back to the day with Brian, he was born and raised on this style of music and the Obsessed, and so was Brian. The Obssessed’s always been Brian’s favorite band, but we just managed … this is what’s happening for me. It’s all crystallizing right now into what I think is the best lineup ever.
The album is due out in April the last time we spoke, you mentioned at the time there were 11 songs , was there any material that did not make the cut, if so will it ever see the light of day?
Well you know we had to dig, because there’s actually 14 songs, and we had to dig pretty deep for all 14 songs. So the only song that actually did make the record but didn’t is the track called “The Interlude,” which is exactly what we wanted it to be a little teaser, a little trailer, so we’ve already got some new material already and we’re planning on recording for new material really soon actually.
Oh awesome. In terms of writing has the process changed at all for you?
Not really. There are some pretty old ideas, like I said the first thing that I wanted to do I wanted to re-record “Sodden Jackal” because I realized that the 80s version for our first single, the press was crappy. I didn’t think it was actually really then, so the first order of business was to re-record “Sodden Jackal”.
That’s one of my favorites actually.
Oh great. Yeah I think we did it justice man, we whipped out some big guns on that. And then I had some other bits and pieces that were kicking around, “Cold Blood” is actually a really old song, the instrumental on the record I wrote that song when I was 17. It never really seemed right but when I busted it out at the rehearsal we all liked it and we all kind of laughed because it was amazing to us that this song could be this timeless and this old. And then Razor Wire was another song that I had a concept, the way I usually write is I usually have a concept and then I’ll put a riff to it, and then I’ll fill in the blanks later. I could actually be filling in the lyrics when I’m standing there in front of the microphone or singing in the studio, you never know. It’s like if the whole song can be done in one go I call that the divine inspiration. Of course that’s what you’re looking for but it doesn’t happen all the time.
What is you studio like?
Well we use the professional studio run by Frank Marchand, he does it full time, he’s got a beautiful good place. He doesn’t like to mix, his control is not in a small control room and he actually mixes in a big open area and he likes to mix loud, which is amazing. But the thing about Frank is he has an amazing command of the digital realm, and he has a huge array of vintage stuff. So we had the best of both worlds, he’s recording to a digital system, but I was singing into a $30,000 alt-tube mic from World War II. It was a combination of his knowledge, his combination of his knowledge of the digital realm and his accumulation of kick-ass gear that allowed us to get the production we did, I’m super proud of this record I think it’s amazing.
I was listening to Sacred all week long and I couldn’t help to notice that your vocals have gotten stronger. Do you do warm-ups or keep your vocals in check at this point?
I do warm ups. I don’t smoke cigarettes, I’m not really sure whether that’s helped me or not, but when I’m on the road I know that you will reach a point when you will start to have vocal stress, and then when that point happens I like to try to get as much rest as possible, because there is no cure for your voice. I’ve tried it all, I’ve tried no sleep and it doesn’t work. The best thing to do is just try to take care of your body really.
What is personal preference, playing guitar or singing? I’ve met musicians who say, “Well I’m really a guitarist but I got thrown into singing so I’m kind of doing both” or do you prefer to do both?
Well it’s a challenge to play guitar and sing. I like both. I think that I really learned how to sing though when I was in Saint Vitus because I didn’t have my guitar there and I think that helped me to learn how to breathe a little bit better, and I think that enabled me to use my diaphragm a little bit better, but one thing I will say is when I realized that I needed to get the band to tune down I have to try to fit my range. That’s when it all came into focus, because when I first started singing with The Obsessed and we were tuned to a 440 everything seemed just a tiny bit out of my range, but I realized, “Hey let’s try tuning it down half a step” and so I remember when I was in Saint Vitus I brought my tuner out with me and I talked those guys into tuning down a half step and that’s when everything really came into focus.
The songs that you write, they come from everyday things. Personal issues, conflicts, emotions, and they’re very honest. You went through a lot of things personally, do you think that your music, both composition and the stage performance, would be the same thing if your life had been always peaceful?
Oh absolutely not. You’re very accurate when you say that. That’s what I do is I pull from life experiences to write my lyrics. What I see in life is what we love, it’s what we use, whatever. My core philosophy really though is it’s about the power of song. The song might not need a guitar solo, the song might not need any vocals really, but vocals are really important to me. I think that the lyrics are very important. I like telling stories and I definitely wouldn’t be able to get across without having lived the life I had. There’s not too much I would change really, but it’s really all about passion and it’s about you can’t really be afraid to be honest.
And I know for a fact that your music has made an impact on so many musicians, so many people, and for me personally I appreciate all you have done. One of the first song I heard you sing was “Born Too Late” and that resonated with me on so many levels. and it basically said stay true to yourself, stick to your guns type of thing. Your vocals had made the message so believable.
I’ll tell you right now David wrote a lot of those words, David wrote a lot of lyrics to that song, and David wrote a lot of stuff. But I really embraced that song myself, I never sang any of his songs that I didn’t identify with completely, and that song has always been the rally cry for us and the way we are. We’ve lived that life and stuff, so yeah I appreciate that.
Your vocals had made the message so believable.
Well thank you that’s accurate, and that’s another reason why that being in Saint Vitus it took a toll on me physically, because you can’t really talk that talk if you don’t walk that walk. So Dying Inside, Born Too Late, songs like that, we really lived that life and that’s why after a certain time the confluence of events sort of ended my relationship with Saint Vitus maybe was a blessing in disguise, because you can’t really … it was a pretty hard way to live.
In the previous interview we talked about Doom and Stoner rock. “You said that there has to be a silver lining somewhere,” so this is the silver lining, everything worked out in the end, The Obsessed has so much coming up.
I couldn’t put any better. We could say the music is dark, the music is melancholy, but there’s got to be a little bit of hope somewhere.
You have this new deal with Relapse Records, and if I’m not mistaken I think it’s a two-album deal and I think there are plans to do a re-release. But what will happen beyond that?
Well it is a re-release deal. Hot On the Heels and Sacred will be coming a re-release of the first Obsessed record, which I’m actually really proud of the way it turned out. We dug up a killer live set, a whole live set from the 80s. We also dug up a bunch of cool demos. We’ve also got a whole bunch of pictures to go with it. So we heard the mastered version and actually ok’d it the other day, so I’m pretty happy about that. But we’ve already got some new songs for the next record, and with any luck Relapse will want to do another one. I really hope they do, and we’ve got some new material cooking already, and so we’ll see what happens.
The track “My Son and Daughter”.. That was unexpected because for you to open about your private life like that goes to show that you make no apologies and you’re a true and genuine person.. Many musicians won’t ever do that kind of thing. What do your children think about your music and are they musically inclined?
My middle son is an athlete, but my middle son actually saw me perform for the first time shortly after Christmas, and on the way to the show he asked my ex-wife, he said, “Do people really like dad’s band?” And then my older son is he’s a guitar player and a singer. He recently had his first debut in this cool rock and roll revival thing. I was pretty blown away , they told me since he was a sophomore it was pretty unheard of for him to get that spot, and then my daughter who’s 10, she loves Ariana Grande and she sang an Ariana Grande song, well they only let her sing 2 minutes of it for her Variety Show and I she stole the whole show, (laughs).
What are the chances of you having one of children appear on a song with you?
Well I tell you what I think the chances of doing that are great, and I teased my wife the other day about taking my oldest son on the road and she’s like, “Oh nooo” hopefully I can bring him in the studio sometime, I would at least like him to see how it works. How the studio works. And I think that if the timing’s right and they have to be into it. Yeah my older son is, he’s 15 so he’s into a little bit more extreme stuff, but he’s the most plausible. My middle son was just blown away, had a good time with the show, but he’s a platform diver he’s on his way to the Olympics. So every kid had a verse. Basically my firstborn son that’s his verse, my middle is venturous child, and then the chorus is Angel Speaks with her Eyes, it’s about my daughter.
And another song that comes to mind is “So Long,” and the lyric that I was struck with is “I was born with my heart on my sleeve, I’m born to believe” and that was obvious and something that your fans already come to know about you, but hearing you say that with everything you have gone through was very powerful and very motivating.
“So Long,” I think it’s one of the heaviest songs on the record. We talk about that song as being quite a journey, I mean we had to make a decision to put that on or not, it ended up being a bonus track because of the touring, but I’m glad you like it, thank you.
Thank you for taking the time to speak, wish you all the best for the new record and the coming tour, and looking forward to May 18th when you play Saint Vitus.
Thank you so much I appreciate it .