Winzenried aka Hollywood Drunks
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Winzenried aka Hollywood Drunks

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"TWIRL RADIO FEATURED ARTIST MARCH 2007: WINZENRIED (aka HOLLYWOOD DRUNKS)"

Winzenried--the band, and the singer/songwriter (Eric Winzenried)--is the Featured Artist of the Month for March, 2007, as announced on Twirl Saturday, March 3. What does that mean? Well, it means we're going to be featuring a whole lot of their great music on the show this month. It also means that I got to do an on-air interview with Eric himself on Saturday, March 17th. (Click here to listen to interview.) Congratulations to Eric, guitarist/co-producer Lloyd Stuart Casson, keyboardist Paul Sandberg, bassist Carl West, and drummer Sebastian Sheehan.

This L.A.-based quintet released their debut, Hooray, back in 2003. There was something instantly familiar and comforting about this potent stew of rap, metal, alternative, and straight-ahead rock. What was it? Twirl Radio doesn't really play a lot of rap or metal music (less than 0.001 ppm, as verified by an outside auditing service). So what did I find so appealing? In short, everything! Specifically, the singing, songwriting, guitar work, keyboard work, and wry humor.

Eric Winzenried has a strong voice, much like you'd hear from some of the better-known metal singers. But--he uses his powers for good, not evil. He doesn't wail and flail, but uses his voice very nimbly. He's a very able rapper. And his sense of songcraft is incomparable. There's a lot of attitude in these songs, but there's a lot of heart, too. The sound is equal parts Ugly Kid Joe and Freedy Johnston. No, really!

On Hooray, the track Ohio is probably the most representative example of the Winzenried sound. Each verse starts with a rap, then Lloyd's crunchy power chords kick in. As the band dives over the edge into the chorus, Eric sings "here I am, once again with...you". Listen to the way he powers through the word "with". This one word showcases the guy's hard rock roots coming through! Looking Backwards is an uplifting rocker. Smarter One and Soul Is Mine, both keyboard-driven, are also positive, the former is an exercise in humility, the latter, a reminder of our worth as individuals. But the ones that really crack me up are Can't Stay At My Apartment and Punchline. Anyone who's an adult has been the victim of freeloaders and bad relationships. Eric fights back with his music, while making us laugh. THAT is what I find comforting and familiar. These songs remind me of getting together with my best buddy over drinks, or at the game, and commiserating about the rough parts of my life. That's what many of these Winzenried songs are about. And you do feel better at day's end.

Swell continues the theme. The songs remain positive and funny. Carried over from the first album are the references to the unappreciative, low-tipping customers from his days as a pizza delivery guy. And the secret weapon of the band, as on the first album, is massively talented guitarist Lloyd Stuart Casson. He plays everything from funk to alternative to hard rock, and is the single most important element of the Winzenried sound. Without him, this would be a different band. Songs like That Age and Getting Young acknowledge that we're growing up, getting older (and better), and that others are now depending upon us (such as his newborn). Wake You addresses being the oldest guy at the party. Sort of a modern take on Jethro Tull's Too Old to Rock 'N Roll, Too Young to Die. And there's a delightful cover of the Sesame Street theme song. It never occurred to me to cover a song like this, but the Winzenried treatment reminds me of what a great song this is. It's fun hearing it performed by a bunch of adults! There's definitely some personal and musical growth on this album, and Eric's vocals get more sophisticated, reflecting his life changes.

So grab your copies of the two Winzenried albums, and put them on after a long day. On those days where you start to ask yourself, "am I crazy, or..."--Eric's your bud--he understands, because he's been there too. And I'm proud to have him and his band as the Artist of the Month for March.

Mike Lidskin - Twirl Radio


"Review of SWELL"

Artist Name: Winzenried aka Hollywood Drunks
Title:"Swell"
Style:Pop/Rock
Website: http://www.winzenried.org
Rating:8.80(Scale 1-10)
By C.W. Ross

This release is about growing up and reaching that point in your life when
things change and you realize that your part of the grown up world now
and all the many different things that entails.

Thankfully the band has put it all to music with this release.

The band uses everything from pop and rock to funk, reggae and even
a cappella styles of music for the songs.

The band isn't even afraid to even add some comedy into their music to
drive home a point or to point out one of life's many absurdities.

No matter what the style of music is the entire album is filled with guitar
parts that breath life into each song, be it in the background or front and
center via a smoking solo.

The drum beats are always there keeping each song on time like a well run
railroad's train schedule.

Leading the way on the songs are the superb vocals of Eric Winzenried. His
vocal's vary their range and match to each song as well as any that I've
heard in a long time.

This music comes across as from a band who has been through life and has
come to a content point where they're now willing to take the time to really
enjoy their music and life's journey.

This release is a musical treat that's packed full of enough good tasting
music morsels to fill anyone's cravings.

You need to check it out for yourself!
- C.W. Ross


"SWELL Review by Brad Roll"

07/27/06 Review by Brad Roll
in the Kenton Times

Eric Winzenried. Hear that
name and you might think of
a talented actor, rising from
small-town obscurity to the
silver screen with appearances
in the Austin Powers films,
numerous television shows
and most recently in The
Shaggy Dog.
What you also might not
know about the former
Kentonite is that he writes
songs, has recorded two
albums and well, pretty much
rocks.
Imagine you live in a small
town, say in the middle of
Ohio, and have never been to
Hollywood but you'd really like
to check out the scene but
before you go you'd really like
to get a feel for the vibe.
My advice, then, would be
to pick up a copy of
Winzenried's latest album
Swell. Along with his band,
Hollywood Drunks, this mix of
pop, hip-hop, reggae, glam
rock and alternative will defy
any one genre and at times
more than one at the same
time.
Basically, if you've ever said
to yourself that there's nothing
interesting on the radio, tune
into Winzenried and the
Hollywood Drunks.
Yes, there is a cover of
"Sesame Street." Overall, it's
the unpredictability of David
Bowie with a mix of The Kinks
and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
But it's so much more than
that.
Winzenried and the Hollywood
Drunks have first and fore-
most a polished sound which
has a structured, solid feel to it
all - thanks in part to a nice
studio set up and good overall
production.
It's the type of sound that
could, and probably should,
be played on the radio, if it's
not already.
Hollywood Drunks is also
a group of musicians who know
how to manipulate their
instruments, including
Winzenried's varying vocals.
From layered harmonies to
hip hop half raps to a more
subdued singer/songwriter
balladeer style, Winzenried is
in control.
The guitars are well played,
the drums add just enough
without being overpowering
and the keys and synth add
depth and even more variance.
In all, Swell is well-arranged.
Here's the most important
part of having a band that's
willing to go out on that limb
stylistically-having the ability
to be unique and daring from
song to song while retaining
an overall stylistic unity which
brings the whole album
together.
I'd imagine Swell is what
Hollywood Drunks are all
about. Playing music, having
fun with the music and mixing
as many musical styles as
possible while remaining col-
orfully unique.
I have to wonder if that
equation is what life in Los
Angeles is like. Whether it's
music, work, play - if Swell is
a musical representation of
what the city might be like, it
sounds like fun to me.
Regardless, it's fun factor is
high.
Be sure to check Winzenried
aka Hollywood Drunks out
online at www.winzenried.org.
There, you can preview some
of the music, read more about
the Hollywood Drunks and
drop a line of encouragement
to a former Kentonite. Swell
is also availble online at
www.cdbaby.com.

- Kenton Times


"Swell Review by Mike Schmidt"

Review of Winzenried’s Swell (2006) published at www.winzenried.org



The next time it rains on a warm day, rip your shirt off, feel the drops, and stay out there for a while—don’t be a pussy and run back inside right away. Like the rain on your bare skin, you’ve felt this giggly, tingly way before, but it’s been so long since you felt that way that the whole experience seems fresh and new. Most importantly, it feels GOOD, and you wonder why you haven’t run around with your clothes off in the rain more often.

That’s the feeling that comes from listening to Winzenried’s second, and most recent c.d.: Swell (2006). It’s original, pure pop, distilled from the funk and Bowie and Chili Pepper of his first c.d. Hooray (2004). The difference this time is more Matt Costa, more James Blount. Love has been a lot better to bandleader Eric Winzenried over the past two years, and he’s left all the slutty speed freaks who used to yank his creative crank.

So, with the newfound happiness comes more fun and experimentation in the studio. There’s a whole range of vocal notes and harmonies that Winzenried nails on this c.d. that he dared not try previously. The guitar and keyboard are freed up to really lead. Co-producer Lloyd Stuart Casson’s guitar work on “Unfreeze” is the almighty speaking through a burning bush, and Deacon Jones’ Hammond organ accompaniment is his prophet. This band, the “Hollywood Drunks” as Winzenried calls them, make a party out of it---and it shows.

But let’s make it clear: this c.d. is not a warm-fuzzy puker. Just because he’s in the good graces of Love, doesn’t mean that Winzenried is satisfied. As with his first album, he still pilots a double-hulled tanker full of self-doubt and misgivings about women, money, growing up, and whether any of it will last. He’s still standing in the rain, but he has stripped down and decided to enjoy it.



---Mike Schmidt
- Mike Schmidt


"HOORAY!! Review"

New Review by Mike Schmidt, Palm Beach Daily News, 12/15/04
Check out Mike's Letter to the Editor in February's Vanity Fair


When a talented guy moves from Ohio to L.A., it's a huge loss of innocence no matterhow much success, partying, or heart-stompings he experienced back home---because none of it compares to the Indian--giving nut kickers he encounters in L.A.

But it's a warm, stimulating hell, so he stays. There's no pressure to go to church,wake up early, or stop smoking weed, and there are lots of very talented escapees from podunk towns--just like him--dying to do something creative.

So it for Eric Winzenried who left Kenton, OH for L.A. after a few years in
Chicago fronting "Not Praxis". His debut solo c.d. "Hooray" is a scrumptious 1/2 oz. bag of freshly picked funked-up power pop, a celebration of everything mentioned above, especially the nut-kickings. Being a talented comic
actor ("Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back, the "Austin Powers" movies), Winzenried
can poke fun at pain where other pop stars can't with their overweening egos.
Unlike the doe eyed herd of EMO bands for whom heartbreak is a new, shocking
event, Winzenried has been through enough relationships and Ohio upbringing to know how commonplace our rejections and disappointments can be. There's not a whine to be heard on "Hooray, just plenty of knowing, ironic shrugs and self-inflicted kicks....the stuff your best friend needs to stop crying over that girl and start bar-hopping again.

Backed by a "crack" band and righteous guitarist/ producer Lloyd Stuart Casson,
"Hooray"is all the more enjoyable because of its originality. Winzenried draws on many pop influences, but worships at none of their altars. He likes his funk, hip-hop, arena rock, and songs that make young girls cry just like anyone else, but his pen and voice are utterly his own. Trying to compare Winzenried to other songwriters is pointless, and more beer won't help. After 6 or 7, you'll perhaps think of "Hooray" as Ben Folds attitude with Rick James' backbeat, Maroon 5 tag-teaming Lil' Kim, or
Beck if he stopped speaking drivel and had the Beastie Boys ghost-write his lyrics.

But none of these comparisons cut it. Hop on this one before you forget what original whine-free pop sounds like.


---Mike Schmidt, Palm Beach Daily News, 12/15/04 - Palm Beach Daily


"Review of Hooray by Stuart Hamilton"

Eric Winzenried has a way with words. So stay with him while he tells tales of crystal meth smoking ex girlfriends, his ex wifes infidelity and the death of his sister. Although I'd steer clear of relationship advice from him.

But his mission is not to bring you down for he tries to tell his tales with a wry twist rather than a teary sob. Apart from on 'Smarter One' when he goes for the heartwrenching approach.

All of this is done to a Spin Doctors / G Love / barenaked LAdies backing which sounds better than that description visualises. Just be grateful that you haven't experienced the trauma detailed on 'Therapy'. I, however, had a similar experience in the last century so take solace and pleasure from it.

A skewed, observational CD, chock full of memorable songs.

Stuart Hamilton - Zeitgeist


Discography

Debut Album "Hooray!!"
New Album "Swell"
Christmas EP "Hollywood Drunks Christmas"

Photos

Bio

After completely losing his dead dry hair by 17, Eric Winzenried realized at a young age that life has a way of forcing its stereotypical imprint on the soul. Since then, writing and recording music has been a way for him to forget the various bad hairstyles he attempted throughout the 90's (for instance, the infamous bald guy with pony tail look). He's had the privilege of working many exciting shitty jobs. From office supplies replenisher to food delivery specialist, from wrangler of the mentally ill to naked guy in plays, all his experiences have influenced the eclectic nature of his music. But it wasn't until he found himself divorced at 28, displaced, and sharing a tiny studio apartment with giant sized cockroaches that he finally found his voice as a singer-songwriter.

Self-depracating humor, sarcasm, and their not-so-distant cousin, anger, are a common link throughout the debut album "Hooray". Songs such as "You Can't Stay at My Apartment" which deals with the psycho uninvited house guest who never leaves and "Therapy" which tells the charming story of a crystal meth smoking ex-girlfriend are examples of Winzenried's lyrical style. The music itself is a synthesis of different genres including hip hop, pop, rock, glam, and alternative. "Ohio" and "Smarter One" best showcase this unique bled of musical styles.

After spending many numerous drunken nights at the old Hollywood bar Boardner's, Eric met his brilliant future producer and guitarist Lloyd Stuart Casson. Stuart hooked up the amazing Mark Drews on bass and Eric's old friend from Ohio, Paul "Fingers" Sandberg, would later join the group on keys. The incredible Sebastian Sheehan climbed aboard the band last year just in time to lend his drumming talents to their new album SWELL just released in 2007. Around L.A., this group of alcoholic misfits are also know as The Hollywood Drunks, especially since the name Winzenried is too hard to spell, pronounce, or even look at without becoming completely exhausted. In hindsight, they realize now that it was a bad name choice but alas they are stuck with it like an old cold sore that never leaves, thus, the entirely not subtle name change to Winzenried aka Hollywood Drunks. They just finished their Christmas album "Hollywood Drunks Christmas" just in time for the holidays.

HOORAY!!

Life has a way of forcing its stereotypical imprint on the soul."Life likes to have its fun with me. When it drops its guard we're gonna wait and see." As Eric Winzenried explains in "Punchline", he knows the deck is stacked in life's favor, but as an artist he's gonna resist becoming its punk.

Stepping way beyond the trite images of a one genre artist, Eric's music is an eclectic blend of pop/rock with elements of hip hop to alternative. His debut album, "Hooray", captures the diversity of his musical influences from the humor and sarcasm of The Kinks and The Replacements to the lyrical flow of Sublime and A Tribe Called Quest as well as the unpredictability of David Bowie. The signature songs "Ohio" and "Smarter One" best showcase this unique blend of musical styles.

His debut album highlights his unique comical insights into life's absurdities. He takes situations, from the truly tragic to the simply inconvenient, and breaks them down to what's really worth crying over. In "Therapy", Eric tells the charming love story of a crystal meth smoking ex-girlfriend while in "Punchline", Eric makes light of his ex wife's painful marital infidelity by contrasting it with the even greater tragedy of the death of his sister . In the featured song, "You Can't Stay at My Apartment", he documents the sufferings we have all endured of the psycho uninvited house guest who never leaves and questions our inability to stand up for ourselves.

While Eric Winzenried's songs contain self deprecating humor, sarcasm, and their not so distant cousin, anger, they all share the same message: if you are able to laugh at the humorous fragile nature of life, you'll stop viewing yourself as a victim and take back the controls.

SWELL

"Man I feel different now!" Eric Winzenried exclaims from his new album "SWELL". It's a feeling that we all experience at various stages in our lives. We wake up and suddenly everything has changed but we're not sure how or why. You're just not the same person. "SWELL" is a coming of age album for a new adulthood. In Winzenried's case, it's one that has been severely delayed.

Once again combining an eclectic mix of musical styles, Eric Winzenried's second album is a free for all of pop, rock, reggae, hip hop, and alternative. It represents his life as an artist, constantly changing and evolving, never staying in the same place. And lyrically, whether he's crooning or flowing, his style is all over the map as well. But what remains constant is his honesty and his ability to laugh at himself and his life.

"SWELL" is an album that's both hum