The mighty Crowbar released their latest riff-filled masterpiece, “Symmetry in Black,” earlier this year via eOne Music and the fans responded in a HUGE way. In it’s first week alone, the record sold enough to land at #68 on the Billboard Top 200 chart, which was the highest debut in the band’s history! That led the “riff lord” to say this, “Wow! Great job by eOne Music and everyone on Team Crowbar! An even bigger thanks to all the Crowbar fans for buying the record and making this possible, we could not have done this without you all.”
Riding high from the album’s success, Crowbar has since lived on the road bringing the new material to fans everywhere, and they recently destroyed Saint Vitus Bar here in Brooklyn! Before the crushing set, I got to speak with Kirk Windstein about the new material, the fan’s response, their long career, and much more! Read the chat below, and if you haven’t yet, pick up “Symmetry in Black” today!
Metal Mark: We are here at Saint Vitus Bar in Brooklyn on your current headlining tour with Unearth and Black Crown Initiate. How’s the road been treating you guys so far?
Kirk Windstein: It’s been absolutely killer man. We’ve known the Unearth guys for a while now, so it’s always great to hang with them. This was my first time meeting the Black Crown Initiate guys, and now that their van issues seem to be under control, they’ve been the perfect act to open up the carnage, as they say (laughs). I’m really excited about tonight, because it’s a sold out show in Brooklyn, and that’s what we like to hear!
MM: Tonight is extra special because they are airing the director’s cut of the “Nola” documentary as well!
KW: Totally man. I haven’t even seen all of it yet, so it’ll be cool to see that in it’s entirety.
MM: I’ve seen the online episodes, and it was spectacular. Everyone at Noisey did a phenomenal job on that. How cool was it to be a part of that whole film?
KW: I had a blast filming that man. It’s a strange thing with all of us Nola boys. We all just kind of grew up together, and the fact that we are are still kicking ass today is pretty unique. None of the bands from that area really sound the same, but there is something definitely similar with each group. I don’t know if you want to call it sludge or whatever, but there is an underlying common factor, even though our sounds are completely different from one another. Phil Anselmo and I always say that there’s something in the water down there, so that may be a reason for it (laughs). It’s still pretty crazy to think about now that it’s twenty-five years later, and we had a documentary on us about the scene. We still haven’t really changed man. We just love writing and playing music with our friends, and that’s what it’s always been about. It’s all love with everyone down there.
MM: Well as long as you keep releasing material like “Symmetry in Black,” the fans will surely keep supporting you!
KW: That’s the idea right? Our community supporting each other. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
MM: Definitely man. With this new record, you had the highest debut on Billboard ever, which is pretty amazing after the long career that you’ve had. Do you feel that the Crowbar name is bigger than it’s ever been?
KW: It’s weird to say yes, but I think it’s pretty obvious to us that it’s true. We’ve been playing this “sludge metal,” or whatever you want to call it, for years now, and we are still going strong. We’ve seen all the trends come and go, and continue to put out our heavy music, and for whatever reason, it’s really been clicking with people for the past five to ten years more than ever. Nobody really knew what to think of us when we came out, because it was so different, but it’s what we wanted to hear, and that’s stayed true to this day. Maybe we were ahead of our time when we started out, I don’t know, but things are definitely the best they’ve been right now, and I think it’s just awesome. We are survivors, and we will continue to bring our music to people as long as we can.
MM: One thing I really enjoy seeing is young kids buying Crowbar merch with their parents, and stuff like that. I’ve already seen three younger kids upstairs at the booth buying all they can, and that must be awesome to see after being around for so long.
KW: I absolutely love seeing kids and parents at shows man. That’s the coolest thing in the world. A lot of these shows are all ages, unlike the last tour, so we’ve definitely seen a lot more of that. Hell, I’d be doing the same thing if I wasn’t on stage playing ya know. It’s about keeping this music alive, and spreading it’s name. It’s great to see young, pimply faced kids with their eyes wide open after our set. That means we did something right in my mind.
MM: I’ll never forget one of my interviews with Jimmy Bower, where he described the “generational” metal from Nola. How he sees a grandfather bring his son, who brings his son, and how special that is for a musician to see. It seems like Crowbar is just like that.
KW: Totally. I agree man. At the beginning it wasn’t like that though. We had that different sound, but all that was out there was thrash and death metal bands, so we had no choice but to tour with them. We always stuck out on those tours, and it was kind of a deterrent, but now I’m really proud of those shows. Once a genre is hot, the market explodes with bands that sound the same, and I get it. It’s a business after all, but that only lasts for so long. Now I’m really proud that we are our own thing. Even if you want to say sludge or doom or whatever is hot right now, we’ll still be playing this music ten years from now God willing ya know. This is what we do. We kick ass every night, and stay as busy as possible. Every day is a new adventure. Every show is a new adventure, and as long as we keep treating our fans with total respect and putting out our music, we can’t be stopped. My dream was to never be a rock star, do all the drugs and bang chicks every day. It was just to play music for as long as possible. I’m in it for the long haul, and couldn’t be happier.
MM: It’s great to hear such positivity from you, and those are lessons I think younger acts could really learn from. As 2014 comes to a close, you have had a lot to be happy about. The new record, the great tours and more. If you could describe it in one word, what would it be?
KW: Awesome. Just awesome. We started touring in March, the record came out in May, and we’ve just been kicking ass and taking names for most of the year. 2015 looks to be just as busy as well. Are you ready for some news? We will be heading to Europe in February and March, possibly touring back here in April, and then off to the Summer festivals. We will definitely have a lot to do, because we are also going to start writing for the new record in January too, so it’s go go go right now.
MM: Wow. Are you constantly writing on the road? How do you continuously keep pushing the legendary riffs out?
KW: I never write on the road. Okay that’s a lie (laughs). The only song I remember writing on the road was “December’s Spawn” off “Odd Fellows Rest.” I actually wrote that on an acoustic guitar somewhere in Indiana if you can believe it or not. Now it’s a hell of a lot easier I guess. You got the iPhone and all that, so you can record whatever here and there, and I’ve been doing that a lot more recently at home, so that’s one thing about new technology I like (laughs). My memory isn’t what it used to be, so now I have no way of forgetting riffs or parts or anything. We write so many riffs during the writing process, it makes it so much easier to go into the studio with a videotape or recording, and that way we can put things together faster. We are a very “off the cuff” band when it comes to writing, but it works for us.
MM: Well it’s definitely worked for over twenty-five years. Kirk, thank you for your time. Do you have anything else you’d like to say to the fans?
KW: As always, thank you all for your undying support. You guys keep us on stage, so make sure to come say hello, shake our hands, and be prepared for a busy 2015. Crowbar is alive and kicking my friends!