Wino discusses the music that influenced his new solo LP ++ ‘The Church Within’ reissued on blue vinyl
Heavy metal legend Scott "Wino" Weinrich" (of Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, and more) released a new acoustic solo album, Forever Gone, on June 26 via Ripple Music (order). We recently posted the cover of Joy Division's "Isolation" from that album, and now we're premiering (update: premiered) one of the original songs, "The Song's at the Bottom of the Bottle." "This is inspired by a conversation Mark Adams (OG bass player for Saint Vitus) and I had one night after a show on the bus," Wino says. "He told me his father had said to him 'the song is at the bottom of the bottle.' And it was that statement, and the knowledge that all the males in his family except for one had died from alcohol, that partially inspired this song. It’s a song about embracing the lifestyle I have chosen, beautiful, rewarding, dark and destructive. It’s about passion, how could it be anything less?"
You can really feel the passion and the darkness that Wino is talking about on this one. It's an earthy, bluesy folk song with nothing more than Wino's voice and acoustic guitar, but that's all he needs to shake you to your core. It's clear that this is coming straight from the heart, and when this much authentic emotion is there, the rest just kinda falls into place. Listen:
We also asked Wino about the music that influenced his new album, and he made a list that includes Black Sabbath, Humble Pie, Blue Oyster Cult Neil Young, Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, Mahogany Rush, Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Jimi Hendrix, and he squeezed in bits about other music too. His commentary is full of personal anecdotes and stories from his younger days that make you feel like you were right there with him. Take it away, Wino:
1. Black Sabbath - First Three Albums
When I saw Black Sabbath on the Paranoid tour, I was already completely into them so it was an incredible experience. My dad took me and Mark Laue (OG bassist for The Obsessed, we were just starting out) to Baltimore Civic Center to see Black Sabbath being supported by Edgar Winter's White Trash, which was Edgar (of "Frankenstein" fame), Rick Derringer, one of the greatest songwriters ever ("Rock and Roll Hoochie Coo," "Still Alive and Well," etc) and a brass section. After Edgar Winter, my dad stood up and said "Ready to go?" I said, "Black Sabbath hasn't come on yet, that was the first act." He hung his head and slunk back down in his seat. It was tremendous.
I had only been to one concert before that, The James Gang (minus Joe Walsh), and the power and ferocity with which Sabbath attacked their instruments was mind blowing. I was convinced that Bill Ward was going to trash his drums, and it looked like Geezer Butler was going to rip the strings right off his bass. I was afraid that would happen and the show would be over, but of course, it didn't and we left with "Fairies Wear Boots" ringing in our ears. I can still tell you what Ozzy was wearing - black velvet bloomers, calf high black boots and a red and black dashiki. Any of the first three Black Sabbath records were heavily influential on all my musical creations from then until now. Let's count them as one.
2. Humble Pie - Performance Rockin' the Fillmore
Before [seeing Black Sabbath] I used to go over to my buddy's house on Friday nights to sleep over and watch In Concert - this was before Don Kirshner's Rock Concert and better. My friend would always fall asleep, because it came on at midnight, but I was wide awake, knowing I would see a whole set from bands I loved. This story: Humble Pie. The record: Performance Rockin' the Fillmore. No lie, Keith Richards told [singer/guitarist] Steve Marriott's son, "Your dad was the best singer in rock." This lineup, with Marriott, a 19 year old Peter Frampton, and one of the strongest rock rhythm sections ever takes me to other places to this day. "30 Days in the Hole," "I Don't Need No Doctor," and my fave, "Stone Cold Fever."
3. Blue Oyster Cult - Tyranny and Mutation
This is an American band, and you could tell. Weird, sinister, and stunning live (in those days), these early records made a huge everlasting impression on me. Their manager, Sandy Pearlman, was a genius. He co-wrote a lot of lyrics including "Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll" -- you can see him and [his business partner Murray Krugman] talking about Pentagram in the Pentagram movie. Later, when The Obsessed got signed to Columbia Records in the early '90s, we recorded The Church Within at his studio in California and I had the chance to pick his brain on one of the coolest, sickest bands ever! R.I.P Allen Lanier.
4. Neil Young - Harvest
OK since we are kinda talking about Forever Gone, my newest acoustic record, I will have to mention another band and group of artists who shaped my musical core, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, but especially Neil Young. When I was ages 9 through 13 there was a young woman -- I believe six or seven years my senior -- who I was hardcore in love with. She pretty much turned me on to Neil Young and the Allman brothers, took me to my first and third concerts and took my virginity (not unwillingly). She had a beautiful Martin 12-string acoustic and would figure out songs -- complicated songs with weird tunings, also by Joni Mitchell, etc. She played a huge part in introducing me to wooden music, and helping me realize that acoustic music can be HEAVY music, that it didn't have to be metal to be heavy, and deep, and soulful. So, the record: Harvest. Artist: Neil Young. Timeless and magical to this day.
5. Johnny Winter - Still Alive and Well
I was into Sabbath big time, but also other brilliant guitar players like Johnny Winter, Jeff Beck, Frank Marino [of Mahogany Rush], John McLaughlin [of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Miles Davis' band, etc], and of course Jimi Hendrix, so the last five records that influenced me and still do to this day are [by them].
Johnny [Winter] covered a lot of other peoples' songs, especially The Rolling Stones and his pal Rick Derringer, but after he did they were his. All I can say is watch his set from Woodstock. He's wearing this bizarre, like, white tunic toga trip. At some point he reaches into the folds and pulls out a huge mysterious piece of metal -- not a store-bought slide -- and proceeds to melt minds with a dazzling slide guitar performance on the old blues son "Mean Town Blues." Enough said.
6. Jeff Beck - Beck-Ola
Jeff Beck, still, in my eyes reigns supreme and when the emphasis was on heavy he nailed it. The recording: Beck-Ola, with Rod Stewart singing, Ron Wood on bass, [Nicky Hopkins] on keys, and [Tony Newman on drums]. No one can play like Beck - fast, fluid, original and I don't know if he sold his soul but he looks great to this day. Yeah, one of the best.
7. Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush - "He's Calling" (live)
Frank Marino and Mahogany Rush played a venue in DC when I was still in high school. I almost gave up playing guitar it was so intense! The story goes (I don't know how much truth is in it) that he took a mega dose of acid, flipped out, and awoke in a hospital as the reincarnation of Hendrix? Don't know about that, but I do know he's a monstrous player and a great singer. Recently someone sent a note to me on Instagram saying check out Frank Marino doing a song called "He's Calling" the live version. Do that and tell me that mofo is not another Geetar God!!!!
8. Mahavishnu Orchestra - Birds of Fire
There were a couple really cool radio stations when I was growing up, an AM station DJed by the legendary Barry Richards, and a Georgetown U late night FM station WGTB. It was here I heard Budgie's In for the Kill! in its entirety - no commercial breaks, a great memory cuz me and Janelle were getting it on in the back of her parents' Lincoln with the motor running, doors locked and stereo blasting. Here's where I first heard Roky Erickson, Savoy Brown and... the incredible, otherworldly, Mahavishnu Orchestra. The recording: Birds of Fire with Billy Cobham on drums, Rick Laird on bass, Jerry Goodman on violin, Jan Hammer on synth, and the Irish Sri Chinmoy devotee the wizard himself, John McLaughlin. Check out "Hope" then move to the recording Visions of the Emerald Beyond. First track: "Eternities Breath." Enough said. You want it, it's there. Get ready if you're a geetar player and serious - this man's virtuosity and originality cannot be denied!!!!!
9. Jimi Hendrix - Band of Gypsys
Last but not least, the artist: Jimi Hendrix, the recording: Band of Gypsies, live New Year's Day  at The Fillmore East. WHEW!!!! Buddy Miles - that amazing, gakked out powerhouse contributing a rock solid beat, and great vocals on a couple songs. Billy Cox, bass guitar - Jimi's military buddy playing perfect, calm yet driving, punchy, smooth low end, completely complementing "the man with the guitar," Jimi Hendrix. It's also really sad to point out it's now common knowledge that Hendrix was indeed a victim of the FBI's paranoid and disgusting COINTELPRO (as was Lennon; see the book Who Killed John Lennon?) that they developed to stop any potential "influential revolutionary" - that's my title but accurate I think. They're still at it today; music is so beautiful, shame these pigs are so ugly!!!!
Thanks to all hard rock fans, all my fans and friends, this mag and all who believe! - Wino, Plague Spring, 2020
Thanks to Wino from us as well! Scroll back up to hear his new song "The Song's at the Bottom of the Bottle." Here's the previously released Joy Division cover, album artwork, and tracklist:
Wino - Forever Gone Tracklist
1. Forever Gone
3. The Song's at the Bottom of the Bottle
4. No Wrong
5. Dark Ravine
6. Dead Yesterday
7. You're So Fine
8. Crystal Madonna
9. Lavender and Sage
10. Was Is and Shall Be
Forever Gone came out June 26 via Ripple Music and is available here.