Down’s set ends with a full on stage invasion of the Down family: the support acts and the technicians. They seize Down’s instruments and take over the grinding outro riff of Down’s classic track, ‘Bury Me In Smoke’ from their debut album ‘NOLA’ . The band members – free of their instruments – stomp about the stage throwing fists in the air and giving out copious man hugs. It’s an emotional end to an epic evening of classic heavy rock.
Down are a band that have been on the lips of metalers since ’92 when the rumours of the new ‘supergroup’ from New Orleans spread. A group that was made of members of two big bands: Crowbar (sludgy and grinding); Corrosion of Conformity (a sharp, riff-heavy metal outfit) … and one huge band : Pantera – The Cowboys from Hell – one of the 90′s most successful heavy bands. During the 90′s all three bands had been regulars on the global touring scene. You could find any of them on stages at arenas and heavy metal festivals all over the world. But it was Pantera that reached true global stardom, with arena shows such as the 1991 Monsters of Rock performance in Moscow, to over 1.5m people .
The original line up of Down consisted of Pantera’s front man Phil Anselmo; Crowbar’s bass player Todd Strange; drummer Jimmy Bower; and guitar player Kirk Windstein and Corrosion of Conformity’s Pepper Keenan. Rex Brown (of Pantera) took over from Todd Strange after their first album ‘NOLA’ and was Down’s long term bassist, until relatively recently Patrick Brudders took over on bass.
Down’s debut album ‘NOLA’, finally came out in 1995 and was welcomed by fans and critics alike. The band toured once before going on hiatus alowing the members to focus on their respective pre-existing bands. Over the proceeding two decades Down have released albums when they could, toured sporadically and as a result of their ‘lack of profile’ become a huge cult underground rock band.
My day had started at 3pm with the photographer in the Camden Monarch, prepping to interview Down’s guitarist Kirk Windstein.
Already therewas a plethora of Down fans taking root in Camden. At the allotted time we headed back stage at the nearby Roundhouse to meet Kirk.
Kirk greets us with a smile, he’s easy to talk to and keeps strong eye contact as I get into my questions. I’ve read comment after comment online from fans commending his beard, but in the flesh its truly magnificent! A lion’s mane. We talk about touring and the formation of Down. He laughs often and is clearly happy to discuss the band at length.
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