Kirk Windstein (Crowbar)
Interview with Kirk Windstein from Crowbar
by Katrina Cannon at 29 August 2005, 9:20 AM
Crowbar, the NOLA Stoner Death Metal kings, finally came through after 4 years. Even though I had to go through a little bit of pain to get this interview, it was well worth it. Being able to sit down and talk to one of the scariest looking, but yet one of the nicest guys I could ask to meet was a definite honor. Though he was getting over the flu, Kirk Windstein (vocals & guitar) sat with me over some beers and talked about the new Crowbar album and band, the future of it, and even gave me some parenting advice.
During the show, Kirk went out of his way to show this little boy, about 8 or 9, just how nice a Rock star can be. He leaned over and gave the boy a pick, twice. Then after the show, he let the boy come on stage and take pictures and Tommy (Buckley - drums) then gave him his set of drum sticks. There couldn't be a bunch of nicer musicians. I guess it's just that NOLA Southern hospitality.
How was the tour?
Very taxing on the body but very good, we all had a really good time, so that’s great. I’ve never met the Alabama Thunderpussy guys, but obviously I know the C.O.C. guys real well and Suplecs is from New Orleans as well. We had Weedeater on and they were great. So we pretty much threw down, had a good time cuttin’ up and partying, everybody jamming, the crowds have been really good, so that’s cool. The European tour went really good, we supported Hatebreed through half of it, through England, Scotland, and Ireland. Then we did a couple of weeks on our own and that was really good. We did a couple of big festivals, not The Open Air, but we had some pretty good size venues, 3000 seat venues, so that was really good. We played with a lot of good bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, we went on right before them at one of the festivals, but there were a lot of good bands on these festivals. The Hatebreed stuff was pure chaos, Jamey’s \[Jasta - vocals] crazy. We’ve known each other for a long time, we call each other like 20 times a day and text message each other all day, so playing together was fun. We had a great time.
Lifesblood For The Downtrodden is the first Crowbar album in 4 years. How did it feel to go back into the studio and how did the recording go?
It felt really good. The recording went great and the main reason we took the time off was because of the Down project which is me Phil \[Anselmo - vocals], Rex \[Brown - bass], Pep \[Keenan - guitars], and Joe \[Bower - drums]. So, that kind of put Crowbar on hiatus for a little while. Then my wife got pregnant, then we had our daughter in March of ‘03. So it was cool to take some time off while she was pregnant and for the baby being born and being able to hang out with he for the first few months, it was really cool. Basically I had Rex playing with Pantera, I talked to him almost everyday and when I told him that we were going back into the studio with Crowbar he asked me who was playing bass and I said well me, I usually play bass on the records and he was like fuck that dude, I’ll play. So we got Warren Ricker involved, he produced the Down II record and it just kind of blew up from there. Craig Nunenmacher from Black Label Society came in on drums, he used to play for Crowbar but he’s been with Zakk Wylde for awhile.
So me, Rex, and Craig all went into the studio. I had already pretty much written all the riffs, we didn’t even rehearse, we just kind of went in and I told them what to do and we went for it. So it was really cool, very smooth, I mean, I’ve known those guys for a while and we’ve worked together in the past. We’ve all been on and off in Crowbar for years. After the Down experience when we lived together in a barn on Phil’s property for 28 days and wrote the whole thing and recorded, I mean we did not leave the woods and the barn. You can’t imagine the tension and the fucking boozing and partying that went on every night, we’d sleep 2 or 3 hours a night, tops. It was going on 24 hours, it was crazy, so after doing that, this was a breeze doing the Crowbar with Warren and Rex. We ended up doing it in an old studio in New Orleans and brought in a bunch of gear ourselves, it worked out really cool. There was a 3 bedroom apartment upstairs, so me, Rex, and Warren each had our own room. We had a big kitchen and we kept the groceries stocked, we were cooking everyday, everybody took turns cooking, it was great, we lived there for a whole month, it was a really cool experience. At least the Crowbar experience was good, Down was crazy. Phil lives like 20 miles from the first convenience store, there’s nothing but woods, but he likes that shit, being at home in the woods or whatever (Laughs).
So, we didn’t leave, we didn’t even have a local bar that we would hang out in, we just stayed at the compound. We had people run to get groceries, beer and everything we needed and bring it all to us, so we just stayed there for 28 days, never hardly slept but it was cool. So the Crowbar was much easier than that.
Is there any particular theme being Lifesblood For The Downtrodden?
The title’s basically like music for the wounded soul or whatever. I meet so many kids and get so many e-mails and some of it is serious stuff. I mean, my wife will call me and be like You gotta e-mail this kid, he’s in Israel and wants to kill himself and he needs to talk to you about lyrics and songs or something like that so some of it is like whoa and it trips you out. So many people have told me that the music and the lyrics have helped them really get through really difficult times in their lives, whether it’s from friends dying or parents dying or divorce, just bad things. So, this is kind of like my gift to the fans, if it can help them get through tough times in their lives, then that’s a cool thing, and that’s what it’s about.
You’ve filmed a video for Slave No More. How did that go?
I was drunk (Laughs). Not as bad as The Dead Sun video shoot, which was a 3 day shoot and it was chaos. But it went really good, it was a pretty basic video. What we did was the guys who did it came out to the Fort Lauderdale show and the Tampa shows and filmed us, so there’s a lot of live stuff mixed in it, we have a shit load of footage. This was really the only opportunity we had to do it, because Tommy had to drop off the tour on to go on tour with Soilent Green, his other band. So, we would have waited until he got back from that to do it and that’s too long. It was like right now is the time to strike. We did the Uranium thing we did the Headbanger’s Ball thing, we did the tour with C.O.C., so it was the time to do it.
There was almost a 3 year gap between tours. How was it to be able to play out again after such a long period?
It was great with Crowbar. I did the Down tour, so I was still busy. But it was Crowbar, it’s still my baby, so it was great to come out with the new lineup and the new album, so it was good to be able to get that happening. Our first show was in Holland in the summer of 㤌. At the time we didn’t even have a deal, we just went over there and did some big Open Air Festivals in Germany and Austria. We were really nervous because we had never even played together and our first show was in Holland, but it ended up being great. Then we did the With Full Force Festival which is like the highlight or whatever. We had done it with Crowbar back in 㤉 and it was great, but this one was really good, there was like 40,000 people, it was great. We got to play with Rose Tattoo, one of my favorite old bands.
With all the lineup changes, has it been difficult to keep everything solid and consistent?
Yes and no. Like everybody in the band has brought something to it. I mean, I basically write all the lyrics and the music, and I sing and do most of the studio stuff, so usually it’s really no different who I’m playing with as long as I have good musicians. But with these guys, this is like the best musical lineup Crowbar has ever had, so I’m excited to write with these guys and get them involved more, then what’s happened in the past. We had Sammy Duet play but he was so busy with his band Goatwhore that he never really had time for Crowbar, so everything kind of got left up to me, which I don’t mind. So, I’m looking forward to getting these guys involved.
So, what about Crowbar doing a live DVD. Are there any plans for that?
Actually, we’re talking about that now. We recorded the show in Lauderdale with Pro Tools and a dat and we had the ambient mics as well. We filmed the whole show from 4 different cameras and all different angles, so we wanna use some of that stuff and mix it in with footage from the With Full Force Festival. Which that was like 7 cameras and they had the 30 foot swing arms and dollies and shit running around. I’ve seen the copy of two of the songs that we did and it’s amazing, it looks crazy, it was like Woodstock with all the people, it was really cool. We wanna use that footage and the stuff that we did with this and put the videos on it and what not. We’re supposedly gonna get a film of us just fucking off backstage, but we’re too lazy, so we haven’t been doing it. (Laughs)
With most New Orleans bands, they have that distinct NOLA sound. Can you elaborate on why that is, why the NOLA sound is different from everywhere else?
I think it’s that New Orleans is such a small place, it really is, geographically and otherwise. It’s a really small close knit scene. Basically all the guys, like say in Crowbar, Down, Pantera, C.O.C., EyeHateGod, Suplecs, Soilent Green, Goatwhore, we all share members, but we all knew each other and basically grew up listening to the same shit and everybody’s taken those influences and have put their own little touch to it. There are elements of all the bands that are similar but none of us sound like each other. We still have some of the same elements because of the juggling of band members. Like with Soilent Green which is totally the opposite of Crowbar, there’s riffs here and there that sound similar and vice versa. We all grew up going to the same shows, seeing the same bands, listening to the same kind of music and we all took all that shit and put it in a blender and came up with our own and brought our own elements in which is really cool. It’s not like the L.A. Hair Metal days where every fucking band sounded exactly the same, none of us sound like each other, but there’s something that binds us all together, which is cool.
What are Crowbar’s near future plans?
Tommy’s taken off with Soilent Green. I got another band called Valum Nob, I think we’re going to England for a couple of weeks in October. When Tommy’s done with Soilent Green, Crowbar’s gonna go to Europe at the first of the year for like a full month for a headlining tour. We only did like 2 of weeks last time of headlining, then like 2 weeks with Hatebreed, so we wanna try to get a full month at the first of the year, then maybe try to go to Japan or something like that. This is our second pretty much full U.S. tour. We did a full U.K. and mostly Europe tour so we’re gonna take a little break, let Tommy get out with Soilent Green, get the video out, try to keep things rolling a little bit. But we need a break from time to time, we’re old, three of us are married, two of us have kids. We love to tour but you do need to get a break, especially the older you get and the longer you do it and with having a wife and baby and stuff like that. We still get tanked with the guys and fuck off but we all got old ladies, I mean look at us (Laughs)… we’re not the hottest dudes around so it’s not like it’s wild women chasing days, those are history. It’s just a bunch of dudes getting loaded, talking about bullshit and music, watching music DVDs on the bus, getting tanked, and just have fun. We’re gonna try to do Europe again around the first of the year, maybe Japan, and then try to do something else here again as well. We’re gonna try to keep busy, but we’ve been busy since the first of this year.
I have a 2 year old as well, so I know about those much needed breaks.
(Laughs) Yeah, mine turned 2 on March 19th and she’s really giving my wife hell. I felt bad because every time I call I can just hear her screaming in the background (Laughs)… and then when we played New Orleans we had the next day off, so I spent it with them, we just bought a house so we went and checked that out and went to lunch and the baby is just so good with me its ridiculous. She’s always like daddy, daddy and then she’ll like hit my wife. They always take everything out on the mom but if she’s having a bad day, she’s daddy’s girl and shell try to beat up my wife. (Laughs)
Well, I don’t feel so bad now. I guess I’m not the only one who’s kid is mean to them.
No, trust me, because Steve \[Gibb], our other guitar player, has a little girl that’s like 3 months older than mine and they go through the same damn shit as well.
That’s good to know, because I was beginning to get my feelings hurt.
No, its normal for kids to be mean, especially to moms (Laughs).
Any last words?
Thanks to all the fans for supporting us for 16 years. If you don’t have the new album yet, then you’re a fag and go buy it. No, really, thanks to everyone and thanks to the guys that we toured with. We’ve had some good times and looking forward to more.
Links: # Crowbar’s Official Website, # Candlelight Records