David Pehling of KTVU.com recently conducted an interview with Metal Legend Scott “Wino” Weinrich (Saint Vitus, The Obsessed, The Hidden hand and Shrinebuilder) . A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
KTVU.com It seems like all the Saint Vitus concerts have focused on the classic era material since the initial reunion you did since 2003. Is there any talk about writing new material or recording together again?
Weinrich: “We have and we are. We’re writing some stuff right now. Everybody’s pretty busy. I know I’ve been busy. The Wino band is pretty much on hiatus right now. So it looks like we’ll be doing some recording in the near future. The bottom line is we would like to do a new record. There’s talk about it. We’ve already been floating around a couple ideas. So yeah, somewhere down the line there will be a new Vitus record in the cards.”
KTVU.com I was sorry to hear about the passing of bassist Jon Blank in May. Do you have plans on more solo album work in the future?
Weinrich: “I’m starting to think about that more now. I’m pretty sure Southern Lord and Greg [Anderson, co-founder of the Southern Lord label and member of modern doom bands Sunn O))) and Goatsnake] will be behind me whatever I decide. Jean-Paul is a fantastic drummer. Jon Blank’s passing was really sad, but the guy we got to replace him [Brian White, who played in the band Dog Fashion Disco] is amazing too. When the Wino band went on tour with Clutch this summer, we had some really great shows and we got some good responses for some of our newer tunes. I’d really like to record another record.”
“When Jon died, we were doing a month long tour supporting Clutch. So basically when he died I was unsure about what to do. And Jean Paul said ‘Why don’t you come on the bus with us and open up the tour acoustic?’ And I was pretty floored. That’s pretty daunting, to play acoustic for a Clutch show, you know?”
“But I went ahead and did it and that’s when I realized there might be something there. I’ve had people tell me they’d like to see an acoustic record. I thought about it for a while and now I’m leaning towards doing a combination of both. Some acoustic songs and some electric songs that we’ve worked up…I’m thinking that might be good. So that’s what I’m thinking about right now, but it could change.”
KTVU.com That’s interesting, because in the research I was doing I came across an interview where you said the American roots of doom can be traced back to Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams. I’d hadn’t heard any metal musicians make that connection before, but there’s obvious a common thread there. I was going to ask if you ever contemplated stripping your music down to bare elements and recording an acoustic album; obviously you have.
Weinrich: “Sort of, yeah. When people call me the godfather of doom, I’ll tell you the godfather of doom was Hank Williams. He’s the real godfather of doom [laughs]. I think if you look back to that music, there are a couple of Woody Guthrie songs that are unbelievably dark. And I recently discovered Townes Van Zant. He’s a more modern guy. I can’t sit there and listen to everything he’s done, but his life and whole trip was rather sad.”
“I’ve always been more attracted to the darker types of music. I’ve always been more attracted to melancholy, sadder — for lack of a better word — doom-y kind of stuff. And some of their music fits right in there. The music that I’m making today and that Saint Vitus has always made reflects the mood of the time. Now the United States and the world at large are kind of in a rough time. I think people need music that isn’t so happy and poppy, at least in my opinion. This kind of music fills that gap between your hip hop and your dance type stuff and your real sappy pop.”
“The hair metal bands have gone their way, and what’s stayed true? The real gut-level, heavy stuff and that’s where we’re at. The most important think to notice is we’ve never changed. We’ve always stayed true to our music and to ourselves. To me that’s the most important thing. I have stood by my art. That’s what it is. It’s my art and nobody’s going to f–k with my art and I’m not going to f—–g sell it to anybody.”
“There are times when I’ve doubted my lifestyle. There are times when I think to myself ‘Man, you know, I never learned a trade.’ Sometimes I think about how it would nice to have a more stable trip with a 9-to-5 or whatever. But when it come down to it, this is what I do. This is what I love. You’ve just got to keep going.”