The Obsessed's Scott "Wino" Weinrich: "The objective is to get my sound with just the pickups, amps, and hands. It’s always worked for me"

Scott "Wino" Weinrich
(Image credit: Brian White)

Black Sabbath are usually (and rightly) pointed to as the originators of the “stoner metal” and “doom metal” genres. But, when the original Sabbath line-up splintered right before the dawn of the ‘80s, others bravely stepped up to help fill the void – especially a gent best known simply as Wino.

Scott "Wino" Weinrich has dealt the doom for decades via a variety of bands, including Saint Vitus, Spirit Caravan, and, especially, The Obsessed. 

As has been the case for the rest of the world, Wino has been forced off the road since early 2020, but will be making up for lost time in the summer of 2021 when The Obsessed hit the road with The Skull in the US.

Prior to the start of the tour, Wino spoke with Guitar World about his tools of the trade, his six-string influences, and what he thinks about the aforementioned “stoner metal” tag. 

What is your current guitar setup – guitars, amps, and effects?

“I use Les Paul guitars. I’ve got a Gibson Les Paul Traditional from the ‘90s, and I’ve also got a Les Paul-style EGC, which is the Electrical Guitar Company’s all-aluminum one.

“A lot of people trip out on that guitar because it’s all one-piece aluminum. But it’s pretty different than they used to be – it’s not your classic heavy-neck Travis Bean. It’s an amazing guitar. It has really nice action, an easy-to-play neck and it’s got some stock pickups in there that are pretty astounding.

“So, that’s my go-to guitar. Sometimes I like to open the show with it, sometimes I like to pick it up, sometimes I’ll play it the whole night.

“For amplifiers, I have a Solar. It’s still in production, but it’s my endorsement model, basically. It’s kind of a combination of a Sunn Model T and a Marshall JMP. 

“I also have a Tyrant Tone – it doesn’t have a model number – which is one of my favorite sounding heads. I’ve got two Emperor cabinets and two Marshall cabinets that I use. I’ve got 75-watt Celestions in the Marshall cabinets, and in the Emperor cabinets I’ve got a combination of Greenbacks and 75s. 

I like to get the sound from the guitar, the amp, and the hands. For embellishment, I do use some pedals

“These days, I like to get the sound from the guitar, the amp, and the hands. But for embellishment, I do use some pedals. 

“I was endorsed by Black Arts Toneworks. My favorite pedal that [Mark Wentz] made is the PS13, which is a clone of the Electro-Harmonix Civil War Big Muff. 

“And my favorite wah circuit is also built in. It’s sort of a driven wah, and I have a switch so I can put the fuzz before or after the wah. The wah circuit is a pre-TDK inductor Thomas Organ.”

From a guitar perspective, which Obsessed album are you most proud of? 

“The last one we did, Sacred, I really loved, and I really loved The Church Within, too. But the first record, The Purple Record, I’d say that is still my favorite – as far as the songs and all the solos I played go. 

“Because that was at the beginning and I had discovered this cat, Ray Tilkens, who was my favorite guitar player to watch in the early days. Once I got to know Ray, everything went up a grade, because he was such a good player. I learned a lot from him. 

“But that first Obsessed record – that he produced – is probably going to be my favorite, as far as playing goes.”

Who are your biggest guitar influences?

“I love Tony Iommi, obviously. I also like Frank Zappa. In a way, I absorbed a little bit of all the influences from all the people – I think I play a little bit like Frank Zappa. I really like Ross the Boss from The Dictators. He was also in Manowar – I’m not really a Manowar fan, but the early Dictators kicks ass. 

My style came out as a combination between Ross the Boss, Frank Zappa, Tony Iommi, with maybe some Johnny Winter thrown in there

“I sort of think my style came out as a combination between Ross the Boss, Zappa, Iommi, with maybe some Johnny Winter thrown in there. As far as modern guitar players go, there’s quite a few. I like Gov’t Mule – Warren Haynes is fantastic. I was also blown away when I saw Steve Morse play with Deep Purple.”

The last Obsessed album, Sacred, came out in 2017. Are there any plans for a follow-up? 

“Yeah. I’ve set my sights on doing another record with Ripple Music. I think it’s going to be a more-than-one record deal. We’ve got the songs for the next record, and we will be starting rehearsals very soon. 

“We’re going to combine rehearsals for the new stuff and the tour. So hopefully, we’ll be playing some new stuff on this tour with The Skull. 

“I found that if you take the songs out on the road with you – songs you’re going to record – it makes it much easier. I’s nice to ‘road test’ the songs and see how you’re going to sing them, because we are just a three-piece.”

Something I’ve always admired about you and the bands you’ve been in is you’ve always stuck to your guns stylistically. Was it ever difficult to do so? 

There’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t like what you’re doing. There’s always somebody who wants to see you fail. I’ve always just been guided by what’s inside me

“It was never difficult, but there’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t like what you’re doing. The bottom line is there’s always somebody who wants to see you fail. I’ve always just been guided by what’s inside me. 

“I mean, I love the sound that I was able to get using the Sunn Model Ts and my Les Pauls. When people started making me custom heads, they leaned very much towards that same sound. I just love a thick, fat guitar tone, without a fuzz on. 

“I think the objective for me is to be able to get my sound with just the pickups, the amps, and the hands, and then use the fuzz for embellishments. It’s always worked for me. 

“I love the guitar, man – I always play guitar. I’ve got acoustics laying around. My favorite is this old Kay that I’ve got. I love American guitars.”

Scott "Wino" Weinrich

(Image credit: Brian White)

What are your thoughts on the “stoner rock” tag that is often associated with your music?

“The term ‘stoner rock’ may have originated in California – I’m not sure. But Frank Kozik, he’s a legendary artist, started the label Man’s Ruin. Man’s Ruin – in my opinion – pretty much kick-started the whole movement. 

“Maybe it was going to happen anyways, but Man’s Ruin released Acid King, High on Fire, bands like that. I think Frank really helped to kickstart what became the stoner rock thing. 

“It’s still going on today. Stoner rock sort of brought back melody in vocals, brought back more emphasis on guitar. And that’s what I like.”

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Greg Prato

Greg is a contributing writer at Guitar World. He has written for other outlets over the years, and has been lucky to interview some of his favorite all-time guitarists and bassists: Tony Iommi, Ace Frehley, Adrian Belew, Andy Summers, East Bay Ray, Billy Corgan, Alex Lifeson, Geddy Lee, Les Claypool, and Mike Watt, among others (and even took lessons from John Petrucci back in the summer of ’91!). He is the author of such books as Grunge Is Dead: The Oral History of Seattle Rock Music, Shredders: The Oral History of Speed Guitar (And More) and Touched by Magic: The Tommy Bolin Story.