THE MARTYR and holy helper Saint Vitus is known as the patron saint of actors, comedians, dancers, and—no joke—epileptics. Saint Vitus, the band, is no stranger to great acts of martyrdom, and should be considered the patron saint of all who dare play unimaginably slow, heavy rock and metal.
The less holy of the two Saints first surfaced in Los Angeles in 1984 with a self-titled release on punk mainstay SST Records. At the time the band was playing slower than anyone around, and were showered in spit by rowdy audiences frustrated by their rejection of circle pits and spastic stage shows.
"We were definitely considered the Spinal Tap of that era, because punk was king. We were pretty much the odd band out," explains Scott "Wino" Weinrich, the band's now-legendary vocalist.
Despite the hardships, the band pressed on, and are now considered one of the most influential doom bands from the States. With acclaimed releases like Born Too Late and V, Saint Vitus developed a style in which speed isn't necessary to make an impression, and crawling riffs do most of the talking instead.
Fortunately, while Saint Vitus' reunion tour is only six dates strong, Wino foresees future recordings: "We're writing new material. We're gonna be breaking in at least one new song on this tour [before we] record it."
Wino assures that the band is not out to ring the bell on the reunion cash machine either. They're looking for a different kind of fulfillment.
"[Our] goal is to enrich: enrich others with music and enrich [ourselves]. I learned a long time ago that success is judged a bit differently than by a pile of cash." He continues, "The bottom line—it's all about the power of the song. You can play circles around everybody else in the world like Yngwie [Malmsteen] or Jeff Beck, but [unfortunately] if you can't write a memorable song, then that's your legacy."
Carrying an undeniable legacy, Saint Vitus returns to remind us all that speed, in fact, isn't at all relative; it's the innovators that truly set the pace.