DOWN’s PEPPER KEENAN Discusses ‘IV – Part Two’ EP On ‘Metal Hammer’ Radio Show (Audio)
March 12, 2014
During this year’s Soundwave festival in Australia, Metal Hammer editor Alexander Milas conducted an interview with DOWN guitarist Pepper Keenan for the “Metal Hammer” radio show on TeamRock Radio. You can listen to the chat using the SoundCloud player below.
DOWN will release a new EP, “Down IV – Part Two”, on May 13 via Down Records/ADA Music. Tracked at Nodferatu’s Lair — iconic vocalist Philip H. Anselmo‘s home studio — and produced by Michael Thompson, Anselmo and DOWN, the new EP is the eagerly anticipated sequel to “Down IV – Part One”. The new offering from DOWN is packed with the quintet’s signature gargantuan riffs, swamp blues leads, crashing drums and hypnotic howls, upholding a certain tradition that countless fans celebrate, expanding their own musical mythos as they leave its pillars intact and untouched.
In support of the upcoming record, DOWN will take their renowned live show on the road this spring, joining BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and DEVIL YOU KNOW on a North American tour. The tour, which also includes DOWN headlining shows and festival appearances, begins at Iron City in Birmingham, Alabama on May 2, and ends at Rocklahoma in Pryor, Oklahoma on May 25. The run also includes an appearance on May 24 at Emo’s in Austin at the “Rock the Heart” concert, a benefit for the late Mike Scaccia‘s (RIGOR MORTIS, MINISTRY) “Heart Rock” foundation, with the goal of raising awareness about heart disease.
When Anselmo, Pepper Keenan, Jimmy Bower, Pat Bruders, and Bobby Landgraf retreated to Nodferatu’s Lair at Anselmo‘s Lousiana home in the fall of 2013, things had changed a bit. For the first time in the band’s storied career, Kirk Windstein wouldn’t be handling guitar duties alongside Keenan. Instead, longtime “family” member, stage manager, and HONKY guitarist Landgraf took the reins.
“He was immediately at home,” affirms Anselmo. “Bobby had always been that guy in case of anything. Knowing his personality, he really locked in with what we do and took it to heart. He made himself belong. Honestly, the first day he came down he contributed a very strong riff to a key song. There’s that Southern element, which is imperative. I also catch a real old heavy metal vibe from this record. I can’t stress this enough. He took it all on, and he did a fucking awesome job.”
Keenan adds, “Even with the lineup differences, it’s interesting how the songs still sound very DOWN. Bobby and I have always locked in. It’s not just physically either, but mentally as well. We see eye-to-eye, and he’s been watching for a long time.”
“It was a big deal for me,” beams Landgraf. “I drove ten hours up from Texas that first day, cracked a beer, and plugged in. We jumped right into the room, and I played this part. They all smiled. That was the moment for me. I’m a longtime fan, and I knew we were friends, but being a part of the writing and working towards something together was just incredible. As a guitar player, one of my goals was to be in a group like this. I want to make everyone proud.”
The fans will undoubtedly take pride in this collection as well. Making good on DOWN‘s promise of a series of EPs, the second installment sees a pronounced progression amongst the individuals themselves as well.
“We wanted to back up our word as far as releasing these EPs,” Anselmo goes on. “Everybody was fixated on that. This is the shortest period of time between our releases, and every one stepped it up and upped his game. Keenan, Bower, Bruders and Landgraf all contributed some excellent riffs. Having all of this fresh input makes for a different listen and a new perspective on what DOWN should and does sound like. All of that yields a unique record off the bat.”
For the future, DOWN‘s sights are set on endless touring. Landgraf made his formal stage debut when the band headlined Anselmo‘s first annual Housecore Horror Film Festival in front of a packed audience of the faithful in October 2013. Now, it’s just about bringing that inimitable sound everywhere possible.
“Down IV – Part Two” track listing:
02. We Knew Him Well
05. Sufferer’s Years