Kirk Windstein - Crowbar


Can you believe it has been 25 years since you started Crowbar? What was your aim when you started the band and are you happy with where you are at now?

I didn't really expect to be where we are now, well I guess I did and I didn't. We just wanted to do something that's never been done before, something different that's heavy as fuck, drop tuned and kinda create our own sound, our own style, our own genre and I think we kinda did that so that was really my goal and to have longevity, I'm the kinda guy. I love this job, it's hard and I'm 49 years old now and it's not getting any easier but in a way it is easier. I'd rather have ups and down and in's and out's and still be here 25 years later than die after 3 great years and end up working in a pizza place.


There's quite a few bands like that nowadays where they hit the scene with a good album which is followed by a bad one and then they are forgotten about.

No disrespect actually but I feel for them because I guess if we had a whole lot of success to begin with then maybe the band wouldn't exist anymore but I wouldn't have quit until I got what I wanted.


You seem to be more focused than ever before to write and play music with Crowbar. What has been the main reason behind this new found motivation?

Mainly it's just that it's all that I'm doing and that makes it easier to put all your focus and effort into it. There's no distractions and my attention is undivided, it's not divided anymore so it's a lot easier for me to just focus on Crowbar and I'm really happy with where I'm at with it, we all are.


I wasn't going to ask anything about you leaving Down but was that the main reason for you waning to leave them and to focus on Crowbar or were there other reasons for that?

It was a little bit of everything, it's nothing personal with the guys. Just the way I'd like to tour and the way they would like to do it were different. Phil put it perfectly 'Kirk likes to simplify life' and that's the truth because that is exactly what i did. I don't have to open up my computer and be like 'I get home on this date then I have to leave with Down 8 days later'. It just got to be overkill. It's my fault, I took on too much and you know ten years ago or whatever that was fine but things have changed so much that there's just not enough time to put 100% effort, focus and devotion into everything.


So does the whole thing with Kingdom Of Sorrow come into that as well then?

No, we will do another Kingdom record because Kingdom Of Sorrow is a true side project. We only do it every once in a while for fun and we only play a few shows here and there and we love it. It's a great break from our normal routine. It's a break from Crowbar for me and it's a break from Hatebreed for Jamey but with Down behind my main focus for like 13 years it hasn't allowed much time for Crowbar and with my family situation and everything  it just got to the point where it was all too much and it seemed like I was never home and tours seemed like they lasted forever even though they weren't long there were just so many days off between shows. I enjoyed being on stage as that's what I love to do but I just didn't enjoy the rest of the journey.


Is it because with Down there's not as many headline tours and that it's more one off shows compared to how you would tour with Crowbar?

In the states Down are more of a higher profile and bigger band. The last tour I did with Down, for me was, and they could tell, I was absolutely miserable, depressed, lonely, drinking way too much and really just didn't want to be there. Not that I didn't want to be on stage but it was a situation where we travelled so much because it was so many bigger gigs, I think we did 23 flights in 22 days and we has 11 of 22 days off. They enjoy doing it that way and that's fine for those guys you know. I love them to death, the new record kicks ass, I'm happy for them and that's from the bottom of my heart, it really is but for me I can have control of my life. I can decide when I tour, where I tour, how long I get and still have my family at home and have Robin come out with me, do merchandise, help out with band business. It's like a family business, from the time we get to the time we go to bed it's all that we focus our time and effort on and for us it's paying off really well and we are happy. The band is kicking ass, the new record kicks ass so we're happy man.


During the whole writing/recording process for the new album you said that this album would be heavier than anything before. Do you feel that you have achieved this with 'Symmetry In Black'?

To a degree. Certain songs on the album are heavy, certain aspects are as heavy as anything we've ever written but to me its our most diverse, most cohesive record. It's the best album we've done from point A to point C or what ever you wanna call it, from 1 to 12 it's a complete piece of work.


So would you say it's the most complete, ultimate Crowbar album to date?

Tome it's got bits and pieces from our 25 year career so in that sense we've definitely accomplished what we were wanting to do.


Where did you get the album title from and what is the concept/meaning behind 'Symmetry In Black'?

I think I started going through the lyric book and was thinking of something for a title. A lot of times the title has nothing to do with a song or anything but sometimes there is a title track. Sometimes it can be a line from a song. We wanted that simple black cover type thing and the song 'Symmetry In White' was written first and we glanced at the lyrics and I was like 'why not Symmetry In Black'.


                                                                                   


Obviously in the past big bands have had black in their album titles like AC/DC and Metallica so are you hoping that this has a similar effect on yourselves?

You know, I'm not trying to compare ourselves to 'Black In Black'  or the Metallica Black album but it was just one of those things where we are at this point in our career where we can do what we wanna do. We just wanted a simplistic album cover and let's let the music do the talking.


Can you shed some light on how the writing/recording process works with Crowbar?

Well Matt and Jeff live across the street from Robin and I so they might call saying they've got a riff so they will come over, cook some food and we will fuck around with the riffs. Even if they come up with the first riff, I will usually take it and run with it. In Down, Phil is the arranger and the vocalist and I'm pretty sure he was that way in Pantera too so thats what my role is with Crowbar. Matt may write two riffs and I will write a song off of his idea. Without his idea i wouldn't have been able to do the rest of it. My brain starts working like where does it need to go from here, double time or half time, sometimes it might need a drum fill or a key change or a fucking melody. I had a whole song written and Matt came up with the opening riff which is one of the cool riffs and then Matt started playing this harmony thing and I was like 'stop, what is that' and I said that's going to be the chorus so let's use that bit there so contrary to semi popular belief, I'm not against any ideas that other people have. You know if Tommy played guitar or if you came up with a riff, I just want the best final product that we can come up with.


How has Jeff fitted into the band and was it an easy transition period for Crowbar?

He was pretty much in the band before he even played a note


So far this year you have been extremely busy on tour. Is this the plan for the rest of the year and will we see another UK tour this year?

For sure. Not before the end of this year because we still go back to Europe two more times and we have already done a UK tour at the start of the year but probably early next year it will be time to do another full UK tour. We will be playing Bloodstock in August which will be great. It's great little festival, they run it really well so we're excited about that. I'd rather 10 or 12 shows in the UK then go and do 18 in Europe. We tour more than we used too but I guess for not as long anymore.

 

Where did the Nola sound come from? It's a very distinctive sound and different from anything else?

We don't really know because none of us sound alike even though we have something in common. If you take Soilent Green was actually one of the first of the bands around and EyeHateGod came out out pretty much around the same time. Even bands like Goatwhore, even though their more of a black metal band they still go into parts that sounds like it could be from one of the other bands. Obviously you've got Down and actually what a couple of people have said about the third track off of the new record 'The Taste Of Dying' is that it could actually be a Down riff. I might write a riff that sounds like an EyeHateGod riff a little bit and vice versa you know. There's no planned thing its just that all of us are obviously in the same environment, the same culture and we all grew up seeing the same shows,listening to the same bands so I guess we took what we liked from those bands and created our own thing. Even though there is a Nola sound, I don't what it is but it's a bunch a different shit, well no shit but killer shit all under one umbrella. It goes from one end of the spectrum to the other and everything in between but it's all part of New Orleans you know. I've played with Phil, Pepper, Jimmy, Tommy, Sammy, Pat, I've pretty much played with everybody. Pat joined Crowbar from Goatwhore, Pepper was in a band called Graveyard Rodeo who are one of the fore runners of the whole Nola thing. Even the first few EyeHateGod practices I played like bass or something because they needed someone to play it.


Did you expect the whole thing/sound to kickoff worldwide like it has done?

No not really. It's so weird that these guys and I'm one of the older guys being 49, to be over 25 years later and it's still going strong. I was this close to be being the bass player for Exhorder, I tried out for the band a few times and I was told the job was mine if I wanted it and I was really thinking about it because Crowbar was kinda broken up, there wasn't really a band there then I received  a phone call from a little record company saying we really love your demo,we wanna put your record out and we want to sign you so I'm like thank you very much so I called Craig Nunenmacher who went on to play with Black Label Society and you got Down on tour with Black Label Society and their doing Pantera songs together you know, what the fuck is that. It's crazy man. As long as everyone is happy and playing music then that's what it's all about at the end of the day.


If you could choose any old member of Crowbar to come back and play a one off show with you, who would it be and why?

That's a good question man. I guess it would have to be big sex T, Todd Strange. He retired from music when he left Crowbar and he's such a nice guy. He probably hasn't touched a bass in like 15 fucking years so probably just for the fun of it, even though he's lost a hundred pounds we might be a little disappointed but if we got someone back for show then it would probably be Todd. We have had so many guitar players in the band like Jimmy Bowers was in the band two or three times but just for nostalgia and fun, it would be fun for me to move from the middle over to the side again. Jeff, you could just sit on the side and drink beer but you would be back the next night so don't worry.


Thank you for your time, it's much appreciated and I look forward to the show later.


'Symmetry In Black' is available to buy now


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