Karma: 13 (+13/-0)
Old interview with Bower and Kirk
In a grungy upstairs dressing room at Harpo's in Detroit, DOWN are preparing for tonight's show. Roadies put the beer on ice, lead guitarist Pepper Keenan (of COC fame) walks in an out of the room, offering such wise words as "Shove it up your ass," or "Shove it up your arm!" whatever that means. And, Jimmy Bower, the man behind the kit, and I sit down to talk DOWN.
Dave Vagasky: For anyone who's been living in a cave for the last seven years, tell them the history, the story on how the band first got together...
Jimmy Bower: DOWN was basically just a bunch of friends from New Orleans that were all into the same thing. We're all into like, Obsessed, St. Vitus, Trouble, Witchunter, bands that sounded like Sabbath, ya know? That's what we were into. Fuckin' Phil was doing the Pantera thing, Pepper was in North Carolina doin' COC, I was doin' Eyehategod, and Kirk was doing Crowbar. We got together in '91, man, and we made this demo tape, and it's fuckin', from then on, it's been crazy, it's been weird. It's just good ol' fuckin' true rock n' roll with no bullshit, ya know?
DV: After the first record, which, based pretty much on underground credibility, sold over 300,000 copies...?
JB: Yeah, yeah, it did real well. We only played nine times, we only did nine shows.
Kirk Windstein: We didn't even remember the color of the bus.
JB: !@#$ no. We DON'T remember the color of the bus.
DV: They don't remember the color of the bus, make a note of that.
JB: If you can remember, please tell us.
DV: After seven years, did you guys know you would come back and do this again?
JB: Oh, we always knew we'd do a second DOWN record; it was all just a matter of time. Everybody's schedule was so busy that sometimes it's hard to try and fit it in. You go, "well, maybe we can fit it in next month," ya know? But Pantera's doing a world tour for two years. It's just the way !@#$ happens. We were all together in Australia with COC and Pantera last year, and we said let's do it this November. Called Kirk, he was cool with it, and that was it.
DV: Now, for this time around, tell me about the recording, and what went down in Nosferatu's Lair, as it's been dubbed...
JB: Uh, lotta yellow jackets. [Laughs] Basically, we wanted to do this kinda record where we could - you know, Zeppelin always went places, went to the vibe, and recorded, ya know? And so that's what we tried to do. You know, Phil's got this big old barn, built like, a jam room in there, and !@#$ rented a buncha bullshit, rented a buncha stuff outta this place in Nashville, and just started recordin' man. Did it in 28 days. It was crazy man, because nobody left, ya know? We were just eatin' whatever we had; people would go to the store for us whenever they came around. We were pretty out there.
DV: I heard something about $6000 in booze, in 28 days...
JB: Yeah and I don't even drink.
DV: That's gotta be some kinda record.
JB: That's Kirk's serious problem. Kirk and Rex have a serious problem, and Pepper.
KW: Me, Rex, and Pepper drank it all.
JB: Put it this way: me and Phil don't drink. So, you can add that up. Me and Phil don't drink.
KW: The weed bill wasn't cheap either...
JB: Yeah, the weed bill was about $1500 or so.
DV: Any off-the-wall, crazy stories?
JB: Weird stories? !@#$... Carl Turley the football player came out while we were doin' the record, played guitar for a little while. Kirk fuckin' passin' out, taped to a chair, in the pitch black - we got no night vision. You can't see a thing; he's just taped to this chair. Anything that friends who've known each other for 15 years would do if you were locked up in some place, and you had all the drugs and beer you wanted. Ya know, what would you do? Probably take your pants off, ya know? We did everything shy of taking our pants off, actually. Kirk DID. [Laughs]
RR: We heard something about him humping a sand pile...
JB: He DID hump a sand pile, with a confederate flag hangin' out of it. Put his dick in sand.
DV: The name, A Bustle in Your Hedgerow, is that a direct reference to Led Zeppelin, or, what's the meaning behind it?
JB: Take it however you wanna take it, ya know? We felt it was just a good title, kinda explain how we felt about music, how we feel about music today. I dunno, it just seemed like a proper statement.
DV: When I listen to the record, I would describe it as sort of a modern classic, is that what you set out to do? To show everyone out there today, 'this is how it's done?'
JB: No, because we'd be kinda, like, assholes if you had took that approach. I mean, man, we know what we like, and we don't like, I'm sorry, no offense, but we don't like any of the new music that's out there. We'd rather pick up an old Allman Brothers than listen to some new record by Korn, ya know? I'm sorry, it's just the way I am. I'm bein' honest, I mean, I listen to Willy Nelson. Ya know, so knowin' our influences, that's the kinda record we were gonna make going in. We're not influenced by...rap metal.
RR: That's one of the things about Down and all the other bands you're all in respectively - you stay true to yourselves instead of following any trend that's out there at the time...
JB: Yea! Dude, I mean...Phil, if you wanna talk about trends, if there's any trend goin' on, Phil fuckin' set it, ya know!? So, there's no reason for him to second guess himself at all.
DV: Exactly. Now, being that the record is that complex, and it is the way it is, were you worried about perhaps losing a "core" of people - like Pantera fans, or COC fans?
JB: No, man, we just wrote songs. We'd finish a song or something, put it on, kick back, and smoke a joint or something. It's not something like, well, what's goin' on here, ya know? It's not fuckin' math metal. You know, it's just a record full of soulful playing. We were just tryin' to put more feeling into the record than we were tryin' to do anything else. A riff is a riff dude. Riffs are a dime a dozen, but it's what you put into it, that for me, makes it count, ya know?
RR: It's there, too, if you listen to it.
JB: Yeah! Right, right. We had a really cool vibe going on there. Anybody could have walked into where we were, the vibe we were in, and written a great record. It was just a cool way to record.
DV: Do you think there could come a day when DOWN becomes priority #1?
JB: I dunno, maybe. We'll see, let's see.
DV: Onto the touring front, how's the reception been so far?
JB: It's been great man; it's been way better than we thought it would be. The fans have been really supportive. We've been slammed with people after the show hangin' out by the bus, and I've never had that happen to me in my life. So, it's all new to me. It's crazy. It's just cool to have that many people into something you did. It makes ya feel good.
DV: After this, you head out for Ozzfest
JB: Nope, we're going to do a Superjoint tour in June - me and Phil. I just read it on the thing out there we're comin back here, June 15th I think. Then we'll do Ozzfest.
DV: There are a lot of younger bands on Ozzfest which are pretty much the polar opposite of what you guys have done.
JB: That's their problem. [Laughs all around.]
DV: Do you have an attitude like, 'let's go in there and show 'em how it's done?'
JB: No, I have an attitude like, 'that's their problem.' That's their fault, they wrote their stuff, I didn't. But dude, we didn't make this record to fuckin' say, rap metal sucks. We didn't make this to say this is how rock should be. We made this record because we wanted to come together as a buncha dudes and make this record. If we can go out, show up at Ozzfest and be our fuckin' five selves, be ourselves and have a good time, hey, that's cool man. We're not knocking any other band, what they're doing, that's their thing. And just because I don't like it doesn't mean it's not good, it just means I don't like it.
DV: After Ozzfest, any plans? Pack up and go back to the other bands? Anything?
JB: Maybe go home and take a nap. No, I dunno, I'm sure we're gonna have to go try and do some international stuff. Maybe go to Europe, or Japan, or Australia.
KW: That sucks.
DV: Can we expect another record?
JB: Oh, dude, yeah. We signed a three record deal, so we got two more coming after this one. Yes, you can definitely expect longevity from DOWN!
I'm your God mother fucker...can you fucking love me? I'm the one who'll promise you Eternity