Generally taken to be another name for a homeless alcoholic. Some might say that the name is more specific than that. It implies someone who drinks cheap fortified wine such as Mad Dog 20/20, wears gloves with the fingers snipped off and huddles around fires started in trash cans on skid rows all over America. If one want's to be a hopeless romantic, one could assume that a wino was privy to some kind of special wisdom imparted by living so close to the edge of civilization and spending so much time in a mentally disorganized state, but that is probably not true.

The nickname/professional name for Scott Weinreich, an American guitarist in the classic mode. He was a founder and primary force in many influential doom bands such as The Obsessed, Saint Vitus, The Obsessed again, and Spirit Caravan. He is now in The Hidden Hand, and Place of Skulls, with former Pentagram guitarist Victor Griffin. Wino is one of those musicians who is worshiped by everyone in his scene, but is virtually unknown outside of it. He is an amazing guitarist, both rhythm, lead, and as a writer. He is also a very strong and emotional singer, although not very technical. His riffs, solos, and voice are instantly recognisable.

He has lived an interesting and tumultuous life. Doom has been around a long time, but, with the exception of Black Sabbath has never really taken off. The Obsessed is one of few, perhaps the only, doom band to sign to a major label, in 1991. After years of hard living and touring, it appeared as though Wino and his mates finally had a shot at stardom. The usual shenanigans involved with major labels ensued, and the album, acknowledged by the scene as a true and lasting classic, flopped commercially. The Obsessed disbanded, and Wino's addictions (booze, but particularly meth) caught up with him. He wandered Los Angeles, homeless, for a year, finally selling his guitar, and returning to his parents' home in Maryland with nothing but a wah pedal and the clothes on his back, an abject failure. He had a powerful experience in a forest with a bag of shrooms, and became reborn, swearing off hard drugs forever.

Gary Sherman (formerly of Heavy Soul and Wretched) and David Isom, (formerly of Pentagram, Iron Man, Unorthodox, and others) had been harassing him to form a band, and he finally agreed, creating Spirit Caravan. This band was a powerful act, heavy, groovy, deep, psychedelic, with a hard-won philosophic edge. A superb live act, they recorded an EP, Dreamwheel and two albums, Jug Fulla Sun and Elusive Truth, and toured the US extensively. Ultimately, though, it was not to be a lasting thing. Wino is a persistent man, however, and soldiers on.

I met him a few times, and the sense of him I got from his music was only deepened in person. Strong, tough, an old soul, he has a well of wisdom I am in awe of. A large, long-haired, muscular, scarred, tattooed man, he looks like a Hell's Angel but has the spirit of an artist. An American guitarist in the classic mold, like Blues musicians of old.

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