Down har som en del andra band beslutat sig för att spela in EPs. Fyra stycken är planerade och så här långt är två klara, där den andre, ”Down IV – Part two” ligger på en skivdisk nära dig just nu. Soundet har liknats vid obskyra Black Sabbath-låtar och är fortfarande tungt, förutom en låt, ”Bacchanalia”, som bjuder på lugnare tongångar. När Rocksverige ringer upp trummisen Jimmy Bower i ett soligt New Orleans, berättar han bl a att just det, är något han gärna ser bandet utveckla.
– Hopefully with the next two, we´ll be able to get a little more mellow and get more weird, I guess.
How much stuff have you recorded for these EP´s?
Jimmy: Right now, just the songs on this EP. Obviously we have some ideas and stuff for other songs, but it´s just mainly riffs and not full songs.
What was the original plan for these EP´s?
Jimmy: The idea was to put out four EP´s. To us, Down is the kinda band that has more than one style. We could go mellow, we could go heavy, we could do southern rock like Lynyrd Skynyrd type songs and stuff like that. Originally the idea was for each EP to reflect the different styles the band does. The first one was just basically all out heavy. Those songs were, not old, but left over from the “Over the under” sessions. On the new EP, Kirk (Windstein) had left the band so it was the first one we recorded with Bobby (Landgraf) and just another at the throat EP, kid of. Hopefully with the next two, we´ll be able to get a little more mellow and get more weird, I guess. (laughs)
I read that Phil likened this latest EP to obscure Black Sabbath. Do you agree?
Jimmy: Totally! We had a great time and the first couple of songs we wrote, really had that sound and feel to them, so yeah, I would completely agree with that.
The last track, “Bachanalia”, the name apparently has something to do with old Roman mystery cults. What made you write a song about that?
Jimmy: I don´t know! That´s Phil, man. An interesting thing about that song is that it was written in like 20 minutes. We were just sitting around and Pepper´s (Keenan) got this little four string ukulele, that he uses to play songs for his daughter. He had that one and just started jamming and we just said “Dude, put a mic on it!”. We did that and he put down the plucking track. It was really cool to sit back and just watch that come together. There´s no drums on it though. (laughs) It would be cool to do a whole record with stuff like that.
The first song released from this EP, “We knew him well”, is it about Kirk?
Jimmy: No, it´s not about Kirk. I could be anybody.
How´s Bobby fitting in?
Jimmy: Bobby´s awesome, man! I was a little concerned, because about the guitar. If it was still gonna sound cool, because Kirk was such an important part of the band and I think Bobby´s guitar style fits really good with Pepper´s. They have like that Stevie Ray Vaughn vibe. It was really cool to sit down and write with him. He really jumped right into it and a couple of the riffs in there are his.
Did you audition a bunch of players or did you just go with him right away?
Jimmy: Nah, we just went with him and let it roll from there. He´s been our stage manager for probably about five or six years and his other band, Honky, has toured with us a good bit, so we knew his chops and we knew he could play, so it´s more about getting a brother. He´s a good player.
What was the real reason for Kirk leaving? Down is a much bigger band than Crowbar.
Jimmy: He felt that in order to kinda take Crowbar to the next level, he needed to focus full time on it. Kirk´s a family man and wanted to have more of that and he wanted to do something different and you can´t really deny a friend that. You can´t be mad at him. It´s cool.
If Crowbar doesn´t take off within the next couple of years and Kirk comes back, would he get to play with Down again?
Jimmy: I don´t know, man! I don´t know. I think we´re doing pretty good right now.
As a drummer, who were your early influences?
Jimmy: I started playing when I was really young and I didn´t really think about it. I was listening to Sabbath and so on, so obviously Bill Ward. I listened to a lot of old outlaw country music, like David Allan Coe and the guy that played on the earlier records with Hank Jr. I think he´s a studio musician. I´m not that into heavy metal. I also think Mardi Gras has a lot to do with it. Growing up with parades and seeing these large bands. It´s such a cool vibe and groove.
Speaking about New Orleans. How much has the city changed since Katrina happened?
Jimmy: Katrina really screwed up the city bad and so did a bunch of other hurricanes in the past. It hurt the economy a bit and all that, but it´s a strong community and it´s handled it pretty well, considering the way we handled Katrina. We´ve stuck together.
With the stuff that has happened, do you worry a lot about something similar happening again?
Jimmy: Of course, but you can´t walk around being paranoid.
What´s the music scene like there these days. A lot of metal?
Jimmy: Yeah, metal is definitely more accepted, which is cool. There´s a lot of jazz and so on, but I´m starting to see more metal down here. Cool bands like EyeHateGod, that were on the show “Tréme”. I guess it´s a generation thing. The kids are growing up and taking it that much further.
What about EyeHateGod? There´s a new album coming out in May?
Jimmy: It definitely sounds like EyeHateGod and it´s a special record for us since we lost our drummer Joey LaCaze, but we were fortunate enough to have him track on the record. It´s really important for us.
You became a father for the first time last year. Has that in any way changed you as a musician and a person?
Jimmy: Of course it has, but you still play music and what´s cool is that I can pass that on to her. I´m not really the guy that goes out a lot to party, so I was already grounded. It´s good and it´s a beautiful thing!
Have you found yourself becoming more soft?
Jimmy: Yeah, man! It´s like menopause. (laughs)
I have to ask you about a record I really like, My Uncle the Wolf? You produced it and played on it as well.
Jimmy: It kinda fell apart, but I think there still around. It was a cool record and I´m glad you like it. It was fun and I´d love to do something like that again.
What´s the plan tour wise, with Down and EyeHateGod?
Jimmy: We´re doing some US dates with EyeHateGod and when I come home from that, I go out with Down on a American tour with Black Label Society. It´s all about scheduling and you have to make sure in advance. Yeah, I won´t be seeing my own bedroom that much, but it´s all good.
Av: Niclas Müller-Hansen