Review 1

Review 3

Review of Winzenried’s Swell (2006) published at

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

Artist Name: Winzenried aka Hollywood Drunks
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!

Review 2

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
   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
   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
   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
   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
  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
   Be sure to check  Winzenried
aka Hollywood Drunks out
online at
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


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". 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