The divine inspiration.
In the words of The Obsessed guitarist/vocalist Scott "Wino" Weinrich, the divine inspiration is when a song comes together in a single effort. It does not happen often, or for most, and from a legendary guitarist who has been writing and playing music since the late 1970s the divine inspiration sounds like it feels awfully good.
In the leadup to the release of Sacred, the band's new record, Scene Point Blank talked with Wino about divine inspiration, which came on the album's third track, "Dead Yesterday."
More broadly, Wino describes his writing process as consisting of a concept, a main riff, and lyrics, not necessarily in that order. In the studio he keeps little pieces of paper everywhere from a music stand positioned near his vocal mic in the studio to the floor around him, and has a folder full of his ideas, poetry, and prose, he says of his process.
The Obsessed: Brian Costantino, Scott 'Wino' Weinrich, Reid Raley
Photo Credit: Susan Constantino
All of these things are part of the process, but what informs those processes?
Wino talks about his inspiration. “It really is about life. The things that I see; the things we experience. Certain things will trigger inspiration.”
Wino finds innate expression in picking up a guitar; he seeks out the guitar to write music, not just strum a few chords and go home. And he does not sound short on ideas; his enthusiasm and strong musical philosophy suggest just the opposite.
Quoting a friend of his: “Music is emotion’s companion.”
Wino speaks about writing music from the deepest parts of the self. Music, he says, is an extension of one’s spirit, and his own core philosophy is in passion and commitment. He sees his ability to play guitar as a torch to carry, and that his role as a musician is to create music that enriches other people’s lives as well as his own.
Wino was 17 when he wrote "Cold Blood," the seventh track on Sacred, and played it for the band in Obsessed rehearsals. “I thought it was pretty relevant and when I busted it out. Everybody liked it and we started playing it. And we kinda laughed because we realized it was timeless,” he says.
Wino praises his band mates in The Obsessed, which includes Reid Raley on bass and Brian Costantino behind the drum kit, and how inspired he feels.
With this lineup, as he puts it, “It’s on now.”
Scott 'Wino' Weinrich, April 2017
Photo Credit: BJ Rochinich
“When we went into the studio we had to really dig in.”
Wino speaks highly of Frank Marchand, aka “the Punisher,” who engineered Sacred. Wino describes Marchand’s "loud mix," “command of the digital realm,” and his “vast, vast array of vintage gear” inside an open mixing environment, which suits The Obsessed. Wino enthusiastically credits Frank’s abilities, and studio, with helping Sacred come together.
“He was able to really get into my head,” Wino explains.
Congruent with Wino’s praise for the recording process is the music that emerged on Sacred. The vocals, like the riffs, are delivered with fierce intent: confident and strong. The performances on the record are locked-in and do not flinch; the drum fills are tight, the bass is low and thick, the intersection of rhythms and leads seamless.
While recording Sacred, The Obsessed had a wide selection of guitars and the ability to try different snare drums for each song. The environment was one where the band could comfortably craft the record they wanted.
“Aside from being with my children, it’s my favorite place to be,” Wino says of the Punisher’s studio.
It is 2017 now and, briefly looking back to 1993, Wino reflects on what the Obsessed’s follow-up to The Church Within would have been. Some of the songs that would have been on the follow-up have materialized in other projects. However, there were riffs and concepts that he held onto over that time which made their way to Sacred after all these years, combined with material from band rehearsals, and finishing studio sessions.
As he talks about writing and recording, Wino explains about the different approaches to recording and playing live.
“The studio animal and live animal are really different,” he says. “I believe in using the studio for what it’s for. So, I’m all about putting down a couple fat rhythm guitars behind the solos.”
Sacred-Out NOW from Relapse Records
As a deep listener and appreciator of music himself, Wino acknowledges the duality in listening to a record and going to live show for fans of The Obsessed.
“We wanted to make [Sacred] a good, long listen. We wanted to make it worth people’s money. I think the people will get the best of both worlds, I hope.”
He talks excitedly about the wide release of Sacred, and the debut of the new video for the album’s title track.
About to take on seven weeks of touring Wino describes the transition from studio to venue with anticipation. “We pile on more gear, and we let it rip.”
And for Scott "Wino" Weinrich, this is one of the best times of his life to be releasing music.
“I feel really blessed to have the label [Relapse Records] behind us the way that they are. They’ve been totally treating us fantastic. Everything seems to be moving pretty well.”