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Registered: 01-2005
Location: Being Cozy In Lars' Pocket.
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Down Interlude


I think this is an interview from 2001 or 2002.
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The musical !@#$-slap of the century has just been laid across your face leaving a handprint so hot that you could light a Marlboro with it. Just as you start to grip what it was that hit you, you hear a Southern dialected cackle and tires laying rubber down the Interstate. Now that you understand you realize that what just got you is bringing the same surprise to the next bunch in the next town, you have just been DOWN-ed and you couldn't feel any better.

Even the limpest of biscuit-headed bands managed to get worse last year and this year wasn't looking so good either until DOWN's "BUSTLE IN YOUR HEDEGROW" dropped through the mail slot anyway. I mean, this thing is "ZEPPELIN IV," "PARANOID" and "MASTER OF PUPPETS" all cracked out and looking to fix and Lord does it fix, more than a dozen times at that.

Anyone worth their Metal cred knows that DOWN is comprised of a pair of guys from PANTERA, (Phil and Rex), another two from COROSION OF CONFORMITY, (Pepper and Jimmy), and the nastiest !@#$ from CROWBAR, (Kirk). What you might not have known is that they are about to actually commence a real tour this time out, not only as headliners on the club/theater circuit but as featured attractions of this years Ozz-fest. You don't need a calculator to do the math here, DOWN along with BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and ANDREW W.K. ruining the day for all the posers, could be the best Ozz-Fest yet, bring your own bandages.

At an ungodly early morning hour for any self-respecting Rock and Roller, (and on a Sunday no less!), guitarist Pepper Keenan took a call so as to forecast how much damage is likely to be done by DOWN both on their headline tour and on this summer's Ozz-Fest.

DAVID LEE: How the hell do they get Pepper Keenan up this early to do interviews on a Sunday morning?
PEPPER KEENAN: "(Laughing) I get up pretty early actually. I have been up since eight so everything is cool and I have this damned drag car thing that I have been working on and we was out racing it last night and got in real late but I'm cool."

That's right, you are a motor-head. The last time we spoke you were working on your pickup so that you could go and get some groceries or something.(laughs)
"Yeah, I am always toolin' around with some !@#$."

Well, business calls, you know, I didn't really expect to be hearing another DOWN record but here it is and a damn good record it is too!
"Well yeah, you know, when we did the first DOWN album it was just five buddies jammin' and we were just kind of trying to create a CD of something that we could listen to ourselves because what we could hear in our heads didn't really exist. We just said, "Let's make a damned tape!" and so we did. When we first got together to jam we were all busy with our different bands, COC was doing its thing and Phil was doing the PANTERA thing and everybody was doing their own !@#$ and everybody was doing good for a bunch of wrong side of the track kids from New Orleans. We used to get together and jam when we were younger but when we got together for DOWN and jammed, something happened that was really cool. We wrote "Bury me in Smoke" in about three minutes and it was as heavy as lead and it all just felt really right. All of our different influences combined to make a really cool thing. We made a demo tape of it and, do you know all this already?"

Some of it but please go on.
"Well at the same time Phil and I were really heavy into underground tape trading and we decided that we would make a three song demo tape of us and carry it on tour and trade it with kids after the show and stuff. We would turn 'em on to this band called DOWN and not tell 'em we were in the band. "Hey man, check this !@#$ out and tell me what you think." So out of curiosity we wanted to see how far these things would get because as a kid I remember getting MERCYFUL FATE demo tapes from Denmark or wherever and I would be like "!@#$!" That was the way that we heard about music then, tape trading. The next thing I know is that I am in Sweden and some kid walks up to me with a !@#$ DOWN tape after a show and he says, "Hey, have you heard this band called DOWN?" I am like, "Naw, lets hear it." (laughs) I wanted to see how many times it had been dubbed and you could barely hear what was going on so that was so killer and I didn't say !@#$. Then the same thing happened to Phil and it just went from there and it was just so really cool because it was complete word of mouth. That tape was going around the world so we knew that the underground still existed and that the music was killer because we wasn't going off of our names for it."

So all this from you guys going completely incognito?
"Well then we made a few more tapes and then we played a live show in New Orleans once we had a enough songs and a few covers like a ST VITUS song and a Robin Trower song and somebody videotaped the show and by doing that the word got out who was in the !@#$ band, it was kind of blown from there. Then Elektra approached us after that and we went in and made a god damned crushing record and like I said before we just wanted to make something to please ourselves, something that if we were not in the band we would still trip on it."

Well it was definitely something that was against the grain for the time, !@#$, it still is!(laughs)
"Hell, we don't even know what the grain is!(laughs) We don't even have a !@#$ clue but we know what cool !@#$ is and, I mean, we have dedicated our lives to playing this type of music in our other bands so it was basically just to go in and make some cool !@#$ !@#$ that felt like it was DOWN but that is where the thing took on a life of its own, that is where it all became crazy. I mean, !@#$, we only did thirteen shows back then and the thing just didn't die. I told Phil when this record was done and all the artwork was done and all that this is a staple Heavy Metal record. We listened to it and it was like, "!@#$! This is one of those desert island kind of Heavy Metal records!"(laughs) Even if we separated ourselves from the band to listen to it, it just felt like that and I think a lot of other people thought that about the first record because it just kept selling and Elektra wasn't pushing it, it was doing its own thing, still is."

Well, Elektra must have been happy enough with what happened to give you all money to do another one?
"Well, yeah! That is why we got into this one, that and we all couldn't go on tour without someone asking us when we were going to do another one and it is six years later. People really cared about this imaginary band and it is very killer."

Between the last record and this one you lost someone "Strange" (origional bassist Todd Strange) and picked up a Texan.
"(Laughing) Yeah, right."

So, how is it that a Steer-humping Texan can get into a band with a bunch of Louisiana boys?(laughs)
"In a nut shell, me and Rex were joking around but he came over and it was all pretty simple, we jammed and said, "All right, lets go!" I mean, he ain't no slouch when it comes to playing the !@#$ bass and then he barbecues better than anybody I fuckin' know!(laughs) This son of a !@#$ would just kill us with these !@#$ barbecues and so I said, "We got to get this son of a !@#$ in the band!""

Have you all exchanged recipes for opossum and such?(laughs)
"(Laughing) Yeah, he's got the chicken on a can recipe! Shovin' a can of Coor's Light up in a fuckin' chicken and it is fuckin' unbelievable so we got him in the band."

Well, I see that you guys are now playing in the respectable spot on the Ozz-Fest this summer?
"You are damn right we are!"

So you will get to play this record in front of a decent crowd . . .
"And we are going to floor 'em too!"

No doubt but it does seem a little unfair because, and I know you ain't gonna want to talk !@#$ about anyone but there is a definite limp element to these Ozz-Fest get downs.
" Yeah? Well, I don't really know much but I think that one of the purposes of DOWN is to up the standards of whoever we are playing with. I don't care a !@#$ who we are playing with, we are going to show these people out there what the hell they have been missing. I t is not a goal but it is a mission. We will basically play with anybody but I think that they will feel sorry after we are done.(laughs) I mean, you know how Phil is Dave, and the rest of these guys, it ain't going to be no mercy in this Hard Rock type of way. It is not all about beating the E chord to death, which has seemed to really have gotten music lost lately. It is just the same !@#$ thing and sometimes somebody has got to come out and just turn the !@#$ rules around and get this thing back on track."

Well you guys managed to make one of the heaviest records in a long time and you used some Hammond Organ in the process which is incredibly cool in and of itself, who is that playing the Organ?
"Yeah! This guy named Wayne Lore, he is this old school cat, old Louisiana guy, but he plays the living dog !@#$ out of that. He did that song, "Stained Glass Cross" in one pass. He was like, "Oh man, I am feeling this one. Why don't you all let me have a pass at this one?" And the whole way that we recorded that record was so laid back and "If it feels right, do it" kind of attitude and he just blasted this solo on there. We were like, "Bam, perfect, better than we could have done on any other instrument!" Having that attitude made the record very cool sounding, to me, because it was right and we are not going to have a producer second guess the pitch of the fuckin' Hammond or anything like that. It felt cool so it went on the tape!(laughs)"

**Continued Next Post**

Last edited by BurningKarma, 1/12/2006, 1:50 am


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1/12/2006, 1:46 am Link to this post Send Email to BurningKarma   Send PM to BurningKarma
 
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Location: Being Cozy In Lars' Pocket.
Posts: 404
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Re: Down Interlude


*grumbles* Damn bodylenght...


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And it was a real Hammond, right?
"!@#$ yeah it was!"

Well now you got this song, my favorite by the way, with this big Hammond solo on it and I am guessing you ain't bringin' the guy along for a whole tour just to come out and play the one song, so what are you going to do with it?
"(Laughing) I don't know what we are going to do! It is on the set list so we are going to have to figure something out but we are definitely not going to use a sampler or nothing like that. I mean, these songs can be deconstructed and re-written in many forms so we can do the thing with a guitar solo in the middle with some fucked up peddle or something, I don't know. I have used leslies and simulators on guitars before so we will see."

You have a headlining kind of set time to play so is it going to be all DOWN tunes or will you throw in some other stuff, covers and things from PANTERA or COC?
"No, no, strictly DOWN music for that. We are doing a tour before the Ozz-Fest thing and that is basically "An evening with DOWN," there will be no opening bands. We had discussed, intensely, "Who the !@#$ is DOWN going to bring on tour?" And we thought about it and there wasn't !@#$ anybody so we said, "!@#$ it, we ain't bringin' !@#$ nobody, hows 'bout that?" We just will go and play until we can't see straight and it will be !@#$ killer!(laughs) We didn't want to take the chance of having local bands opening up and having some dude in a space suit jumping around on stage!(laughs) It could really happen too so we were like, "!@#$ it!" We told all of the promoters that there is no opening bands because we don't want to set up that kind of vibe. I am not trying to be snotty or anything but !@#$ man, we ain't toured in six !@#$ years and we just want to create our own !@#$ thing!(laughs)"

The title of the record and some of the "acoustic Metal" kind of stuff is somewhat reminiscent of LED ZEPPELIN, was that a conscious thought to go that way?
"To a degree. You know how the record was done in a barn and all that right?"

Yeah.
"Well, it was all really intense and the "Bustle in your Hedgerow" thing came from Phil and I talking about some !@#$ and it wasn't like we were trying to be LED ZEPPELIN but I think the way that we were recording that record might have had the same kind of feel to it that ZEPPELIN had when they were doing their earlier records. It was just so off the cuff and just straight playing music and not over-thinking !@#$. We were trying anything and if it felt good it went on tape and it was just all about songs and songwriting and it was very comfortable It was nice for us who have all been in these other crazy bands to not have any big name producer and to be in our own territory and just do what the hell we wanted to. It had this cool vibe and we had all of these songs that we would play back like, "Learn from this Mistake" and we played it back and we were just like, "We are really on to something here." It was so exciting and it felt to me what it might be like for SABBATH to be doing their second record or some !@#$, when they knew that they were on to something. We felt so completely alone and that we knew that there was no one dong anything like this and it felt really !@#$ cool.."

I know that everyone in the band plays guitar so is some kind of five way jam, kind of like what BLUE OYSTER CULT used to do a possibility?
"Oh yeah. On this Ozz-Fest thing we are talking about doing something that is going to be even more off the cuff than the way we recorded this DOWN record so if we can pull it off it will be awesome but yeah, it won't be some kind of camp-fire thing necessarily but. . ."

Bonfire?(laughs)
"(Laughing) Yeah! Exactly!"

Alright, I hate to go and !@#$ up all the fantasies and stories that will come from Phil's "Kool Aide" thing on the record but what was that all about?
"(Laughing) That was some whacked out !@#$. Once we all got into the recording of this record we all knew that it was going to be hectic and we knew that we were all going to slowly start losing our minds because we really were pushing the parameters of what was humanly possible to do. It is kind of like "APOCOLYPSE NOW," the further up the Da Nang river you got to your ultimate source of who it was you were to search out, the further you got away mentally. It was getting so !@#$ crazy and we had taken Jimmy's drums and put them inside this big old gigantic building that had a swimming pool in the property and I threw one of Jimmy's kick drums in the pool, that is what the big splash is. He got all pissed off and it was just a big PINK FLOYD/acid trip kind of thing really. That is just what the album was like to record, there are so many stories."

Cool, hopefully you all will bring that to Ozz-Fest, it'll need it.(laughs) I know you are a big time SABBATH-head, how do you feel about finally playing with Ozzy?
"When I was fifteen years old, playing Punk Rock and listening to SABBATH if I had ever thought that I would be doing this, man, and here we are. It is a !@#$ honor man. I will tell you one thing, every body in DOWN is very excited about being where they are at and not just being in DOWN but I mean we were all just a bunch of burn-out kids from New Orleans who had no scene or nothin' and it is just killer. I can't complain about a damn thing. I am very happy to be able to play music for a living and to be able to play with Ozzy Osbourne is just !@#$ killer, more than I could have ever wished for."


Last edited by BurningKarma, 1/12/2006, 1:50 am


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