Eric Wagner (Trouble/The Skull/Blackfinger) recently passed away at the age of 62 after being hospitalized with COVID pneumonia. Ahead of his hospitalization, he had been fronting The Skull on tour with The Obsessed, a tour which The Skull dropped off of earlier in August because of COVID concerns. Not long after, The Obsessed's leader, Wino, cancelled his Psycho Las Vegas set, but for the opposite reason -- he was opposed to the festival requiring masks indoors. He issued a lengthy statement at the time, saying, "This virus I believe was created as a depopulation tool, and the fear associated with it as a means to subjugate and enslave you and I, the common people. I cannot, in good conscious, perform my music in an environment that is designed to take away individuality, civil liberties and free will."

Wino had been silent on social media after releasing his statement about dropping off Psycho and his COVID beliefs, including, days later, when news of Wagner's death broke, but he's now released a new statement paying tribute to Wagner and addressing "what some have suggested – that the timing of my previous 'statement' was insensitive or awkward." He writes:

I had known Eric Wagner for over 30 years, and although we lived in different cities, we often crossed paths professionally. Trouble was the headlining act at the Loeb Center NY show where The Obsessed showcased for Columbia records, ultimately resulting in a record deal. We did a holiday package with Trouble, Crowbar, and others in the Lunar Womb days, we joined forces in Probot, and most recently, we embarked on a small US tour with his band The Skull. I am saddened greatly by his death.
RIP Eric.

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I would love to leave it with the above statement about a lost friend, but I feel I must address what some have suggested – that the timing of my previous “statement” was insensitive or awkward. Let me make something absolutely clear, I am not indifferent over Eric’s death, and any insinuations otherwise are beyond reproach. This was a unique voice and mind, and his musical influence on myself was profound. I don’t read the small minded comments that jealous haters propagate, we all know when the shit comes down, they will be the first to run. It blows my mind to realize that so many people in a genre I would have previously described as forward thinking and cool, get their feathers all ruffled when ideas come down the pike that are “out of the mainstream” way of thinking. But hey, if we are free at all, then that means we are free to disagree! Have your opinion, and I will have mine. Think for yourself. I am always up for a civilized discourse or healthy debate. My beliefs are rooted in science, much of which is being suppressed and censored before it can reach the people. In the end, I believe love and music will ultimately be the healing elements for us all. Politics is all theatre, its BS, and the current medical politics are designed to subjugate and divide. The power we will have will come from being united for the common cause of truth and freedom.

WINO
8-29-2021 YOTP

Meanwhile, founding Trouble guitarist Bruce Franklin recently paid tribute to Wagner on Trouble's behalf.