Kirk Windstein has spent the last thirty-five years carving himself out a niche in metal’s history. As the frontman of Crowbar and the guitarist of Down, he’s become a recognizable face and his bluesy tones have set the standard for a generation of sludge metal musicians. So why has it taken until now for him to release a solo album?
“It’s something I felt I had to do. It actually took two years to complete it since my schedule is so busy. That made it very refreshing, being pressure free.”
Dreams In Motion drops on January 24th. That’s not a moment too soon, because if the pre-release singles are to be believed, the album will be a monster. Most surprising to longtime Crowbar and Down fans is the inclusion of a certain cover: Jethro Tull’s. 1971 hit “Aqualung”. Kirk laughs at this.
“When I was a kid, I loved classic rock radio. Well, it wasn’t classic at the time, but I loved (Aqualung), especially after I became a guitarist. Breaking that song down, seeing how involved it is, it’s unbelievable how many things are happening in that there. In my version I threw a little Crowbar into the guitar solo. It’s very hard…I can’t believe their guy did it in one take.”
Kirk has seen a lot over his three-plus decades in the music industry. His most famous (or at least best-selling) record is still 1995’s NOLA, Down’s debut and one of the greatest metal albums of all time. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, NOLA remains a testament to all things doomy and harsh. Some masterpieces take years to write, but not this one. Kirk remembers the inception of Down like it was yesterday.
“Phil (Anselmo) was still living in Arlington with Pantera and Pepper (Keenan) was living in North Carolina. I remember Phil calling and saying ‘We wanna put together a classic rock type band. Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, that kind of stuff.”
“We literally picked up Phil at the airport in Todd (Strange’s) old Pontiac, picked up a bunch of beer and Jagermeister and drove to our buddy’s garage. The first day we wrote “Temptation’s Wings”, “Losing All” and “Bury Me In Smoke”. The next day Phil and Pepper had to fly back. I don’t think we did BBQ, but it felt a bit like that.”
For something that came together so fast, it’s almost a miracle NOLA has stood the test of time. Its songs are timeless, but there’s one Kirk likes playing more then any of the others
“Bury Me In Smoke’ is always fun because we bring up lots of guys from other bands to finish it. I think the only person to ever play the whole song on drums was Mike Bordin from Faith No More. It was at Roskilde Festival in Denmark and he blasted through the whole thing without Jimmy (Bower). Crazy, man.”
Put that in your pipe and smoke it!
Kirk left Down in 2013, ahead of Phil Anselmo’s infamous moment at Dimebash 2016. For a while it seemed like Down had gone the way of the dodo (i.e. gone). But Kirk says not to count your chickens before they hatch.
“I have not heard anything about (a new Down record). But anything they do for the 25th anniversary of NOLA, I’ll be in on it. I guess I’m considered a member again.”
With the mighty Kirk Windstein back onboard, there’s no telling what Down might have cooking up. But does this mean we won’t ever hear Kirk’s solo material live in concert?
“I think we’ll do a short tour here and there. Some New Orleans stuff, you know. I have some guys in mind for the backing band. You’ve definitely heard of them. But I’ll keep it hush for now, since there’s something else in the works involving those people.”
We don’t know about you, but that sure sounded like a teaser to us!