The Obsessed | Photo by Susie Constantino

Are You Obsessed? – Scott “Wino” Weinrich of The Obsessed

Music Interviews

SLUG: I wanted ask you directly about your personal history: How did you get into music? What of some your proudest moment of being a musician in general, because you’ve done so much?

Wino: I always felt like I was hardwired to play. I always felt that way, from my first conscious memory. I can remember being completely intrigued by rock n’ roll bands, from seeing a band when I was in Texas throw open the garage door and start jamming when I was driving by with my mother on the way back from school or something, or sitting behind the local rock band in the Dairy Queen listening to them talk and draw wild cartoons … to the point of where I got my first drum kit. It was like a monkey’s kit, you know, with plastic heads, which I destroyed in like one go. Then I discovered The Beatles. I was totally blown away by The Beatles … Hendrix and Zappa, then I saw Sabbath on my 13th birthday, and that was right around Master of Reality—it was out, so was Volume 4—I think. All I know by that point in time, I was very much a Sabbath fan already, but to see them at that age really rocked my world. I still remember what Ozzy was wearing. It was a defining moment for me.

I took guitar lessons for like six months or maybe less, but in that short period of time, my teacher, a super-cool guy, said let’s work 15 minutes on the book and jam for 15 minutes. He was all about finger harmonics and tapping. He was showing me that way before Eddie Van Halen. I took away some stuff from that. I think that’s where I developed my playing style and work with my left hand. I started when I got my first real electric guitar. I had a Silvertone … Silvertones are great now, but I didn’t know how to set it up or nothing—it was like a big-necked monster. When I got my first real guitar, I saved up my lawn-cutting money, and there was some cat that looked just like Johnny Winter [with] long hair, playing the bass. He was trying to talk me into buying the Stratocaster. I wasn’t having it, and I bought the SG (Gibson). So, you know: I had the opportunity to buy either buy Paranoid or fucking Are You Experienced, and I bought Paranoid.

SLUG: Is this the first full-blown tour with The Obsessed since you reformed? I don’t know if you have done another big tour … Either way, how excited are you to hit the road and get the new songs to the fans?

Wino: We [left] Tuesday [April 11,] actually, for a pretty long one. We’re going out for seven weeks. We’re supercharged. We’re in rehearsals right now. We are a trio now, with me, Brian and Reid Raley. We [did] our listening party Saturday [April 8]. We did tour for a month or so, three and a half weeks with Dave Sherman, and then we recorded the record with him, too. He’s a great guy—we wish him well.

SLUG: I know you guys are way Sabbath-inspired, and you get thrown in with the stoner/doom scene. I don’t know how much you feel you are a part of that. Whenever I listen to the band, I always just think of hard rock with Some of the lyrical elements—but it doesn’t feel like the typical stoner/doom stuff that’s being churned out now.

Wino: I think that’s accurate. I always describe our band as a hard rock band; I rarely describe the band as anything else. I mean, I really think that’s what it is. The stoner rock tag—OK that happens for a reason, I guess: People need something as a way to describe something. I think hard rock is really what suits us. The music can be dark, and that’s where the hard comes in. The Sabbath thing, OK, whatever—that’s kind of like the same as a California surfer rock thing. I agree with you. I’ve always considered us to be a hard rock band—that’s always what I’ve really said.

SLUG: Back to the new record again: Obviously, production has changed since the older releases,. I think a huge strength is the clarity of sound, for one, but also just how heavier the riffs sound. It still sounds classic, but it’s more clear and heavy. Did you change any of your guitar setup, or is just all updated studio mastery?

Wino: What it is, really, is basically the beauty of both worlds. It’s our engineer, Frank Marchand, incredible digital equipment and incredible command of the digital realm, but also his vast array of vintage equipment. Even though we are recording to a digital machine, I was singing into a WWII-era microphone. It’s, like, fucking worth 30 grand, U.S. Surrounded by a bunch of ’80s [and] ’90s Les Pauls, he has such a vast array of kick-ass snare drums that we were able to take a vintage snare to the song and tune it to the tune. We had the best of both worlds—we [had] Frank … and an amazing team to record. And then we had … his technical ability, of course, of recording live sound. He likes to mix loud, mix an open room, and then you know nothing really changes with the guitars. I did change my pickups: Alex Avedissian making me some riff splitters on my guitar. They sound fantastic … I dropped my low string and that’s about it.

The Obsessed
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