THE AUSTERITY PROGRAM’S JUSTIN FOLEY INTERVIEWS WINO ABOUT TACO RIFFS
Wino – the nom de guerre of Robert Scott Weinrich – has been making heavy music for nearly 35 years. Starting with War Horse, Wino has since been in a string of incredible bands: The Obsessed, St. Vitus, Spirit Caravan, The Hidden Hand, Palace of Skulls and now Shrinebuider. Wino has also released solo material (Punctuated Equilibrium was released last year) and, as everyone who I have ever spoken to about him has said, is an incredibly down-to-earth, friendly and funny guy.
What’s the greatest Taco Riff of all time?
Wait, I think I know what you’re talking about. I’ve got a few that I’d say right away:
I have to say “Zoom Club” by Budgie on In for the Kill. I’d say Pink Floyd – the end of the song “Echoes” on Meddle. I’d have to say Pentagram –“Death Row”. That riff is so good. I think that’s what you’re talking about. Oh, and I’d also say The Shinebuilder song, “Pyramid of the Moon”.
I love the fact that this is something that you both appreciate and know how to do. That you can mention something that you’ve done along with things that immediately come to mind.
Sure, I mean, I can give you a couple of other just great riffs – “Stone Cold Fever” or “I Don’t Need No Doctor” by Humble Pie. That’s one of the best heavy riffs ever. But I think I know what you’re talking about.
What is it about those riffs, like the Pentagram riff, that immediately come to mind for you?
Well, first, that term “taco riff” … I didn’t call it that. In fact one of my old girlfriends, she and I used to talk about that Pentagram riff and we’d call it the “Bunghole March”. It was just: downtuned, so grinding, it seemed like a perfect name for it.
Ha! That’s great.
You know, I’ve always been of this mindset: if you have a really heavy riff, don’t over play it. Put it in there to happen, to grab you and then leave you wanting more. Of course, Pentagram is the opposite of that, but that’s always been my approach when writing this
stuff. Here’s another example: “Yen Sleep”, the first song on Incarnate (The Obsessed). The end riff on that song. I mean, that song took me two months to write. It’s one of the most intricate songs I’ve ever written.
Here’s a good story about that. Around the time of Infest we got signed to Columbia Records. We were drawing a salary from them. They were paying for a rehearsal room and we got a big advance. I got 4 new Marshall cabinets and I had four 100 watt heads. It was just this wall of amplifiers. So my regular day was that I would get up at 2, eat, play some guitar. We’d rehearse for a few hours and then go out to the clubs and hang out, see a band. Then we’d come back and finish the day. I’d usually be up until dawn working on music.
So I finally finished the song. We were at this lawless rehearsal room, there were always people coming and going. I finally finished, I ‘d been up so long, playing so loud and just working on this and it was done. I was so happy and relieved and just leaned back o
n the drum riser. And I fell asleep right there on the riser.
The whole time I was out — and I have no idea how long it was — my guitar was feeding back through this huge wall of amps. I’m sure people were like “man, what the hell” but I was just so tired and happy to be done with it that I was out. When I woke up, I looked around and turned everything off. Went downstairs to the bar – it was 6AM and they’d just opened back up.
“Yen Sleep”. That was one of my heaviest riffs. I may have to use that one for something else…