The mighty DOWN will be unleashing their new EP, “Down IV – Part Two,” next week on May 13th via Down Records/ADA Music. It goes without saying that the whole metal world is excited to hear the new music, and as you read in my review, it is absolutely awesome! Even though it is only six tracks, it has the feel of a full length record, and every song is absolutely heavy as hell. Whether you’re a fan of DOWN for the vocals, riffs, solos, or the powerful rhythm section, “Down IV – Part Two” has it all, and you should pre-order your copy on iTunes or Amazon right NOW!
Last week I had the honor of speaking with Jimmy Bower on the phone about the new EP, and you can read the transcript of the interview below! Enjoy!
Metal Mark- Jimmy, thank you for taking out the time today to discuss the new EP from DOWN. How is everything?
Jimmy Bower- Everything’s good brother. Just getting ready to get back out on the road, and bring the monster known as DOWN back to the stage where it belongs. Writing the new music and recording it is fun ya know, but we live for that stage, so we are ready to get that going. Touring with our brothers in Black Label Society is going to be a blast too. It will be a run of good vibes and friendship, which is what us DOWN guys are all about ya know.
MM- Hell yes, I can’t wait for the New York City show for sure! Today we are here to discuss the upcoming EP, which is absolutely awesome man. The four EP’s were promised to cover all aspects of DOWN, and this one does exactly that. Other than the fact of Kirk leaving the band and Bobby joining the group, what was the biggest difference between putting this one together compared to the first “Purple” EP?
JB- We did things a lot different actually. The first EP, except for a few of the songs, were parts that we didn’t use on “Over The Under,” and this new material was all fresh to us. The fact that Kirk left the band did change things dynamically I guess you could say, but Bobby came right in man and absolutely killed it. It was kind of a new start in a way, even though we’ve been a band for so long, but it really made the writing process exciting and was one of the easiest records DOWN has ever made since “Nola” in all honesty.
MM- I know Bobby’s been on the road with you guys for a while, but it seems like the transition into a band member went as well as possible.
JB- It really was man. Bobby’s worked with us for the past five years or so, and we loved the stuff he did with Honky, so it just seemed like the natural fit. We could have done the whole tryout thing like other bands do, but this just made the most sense. Being in a band is more than just being on stage too, especially with us. You guys have to get along, want to live on the road, get the vibe of the band and more, and so Bobby was, without a doubt, the guy for the job. The work he did on the record, and the live shows so far we’ve played with him have been so much fun man, so we are just ready to bring it to the States.
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MM- I know the States are ready for it. We’ve already heard the “We Knew Him Well” single, but out of the six, do you have a personal favorite you can’t wait for fans to hear?
JB- Oh wow man, can I just say them all? (laughs) That’s tough my friend. I really like “Conjure” a lot right now, but I really do like them all. Obviously we wouldn’t put it out there if we didn’t like it, but to choose one is pretty tough. The whole writing process makes each song special in it’s own way too. It was nice to go in there with no riffs written and start fresh. It reminded me a lot of when we recorded “DOWN II,” in how we had nothing ready for it. We had the motto of getting in there and getting it done in a month, so there was the added pressure, but it also made it more fun in a way. We really saw what we were made of, and I think the end result speaks for itself.
MM- You mentioned “Conjure,” which to me is one of the best DOWN tracks I’ve ever heard. In my opinion, that’s the song that people are going to be blown away by, because it’s just so ridiculously powerful. How did that track come together?
JB- Nice man. Patrick actually wrote that song, and we all kind of jumped on it and made it something really special. It’s really a sad and dark song, but how it all comes together and flows is what I think I enjoy about it the best. It’s a really dynamic song. The mellow part of the track is awesome, because I think when DOWN does that type of stuff, it’s really powerful. We don’t do it that much, but when we do I really enjoy it. Of course we got to kick it up a notch in the middle of the song, and end with that sick outro, but all in all, that’s definitely a song we are all super proud of putting together.
MM- Well with every new release, new tour dates are next, and you are heading out in support of Black Label Society. Obviously the fan favorites will be a must on the set list, but how much of the new material can we expect to hear?
JB- As of today we have three rehearsed, but I don’t know if they will all make it on the set list for the BLS tour. We only have a forty-five minute set I believe, so it’s going to be tough putting the songs together. We do have a few headlining off dates, which we will be able to play more new stuff on, but as of now I would say two if I had to guess. “We Knew Him Well” is definitely one I think. It’s hard to play three new songs, and play all the others as well. It’s a lot easier when you only have one album out (laughs). Honestly, we’d love to play the entire EP and just walk off the stage, but we know what the fans want to hear, so we aren’t going to let them down. We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for them, so you will definitely get the hits you love on the BLS run.
MM- Speaking of the hits like “Bury Me In Smoke,” “Lifer,” and others that DOWN is now legendary for playing live, do you still get the rush playing these songs live after all these years?
JB- Totally. Maybe even more now than ever man (laughs). When we first wrote them, they were so fresh and new to us, and we were still a relatively new band, so it was all new in a way. After playing them for so many years now, we’ve really perfected it, and have been able to add our own little style here and there to keep it fun and exciting. That and the fans response to those tracks just never gets old. “Stone The Crow” and “Bury Me In Smoke” are ALWAYS fun to play, no matter what. We absolutely love those songs, as do the fans, so it’s becomes more like an experience when those hit the speakers, than a concert to us. So expect the hits like I said, but we are excited to bring the new material to the audience too. It’s going to be a non-stop party as every DOWN show should be (laughs).
MM- You mentioned how long of a career DOWN has had, and you’ve seen the “supergroups” come and go, but why do you think DOWN has been able to last this long and still have the huge impact on fans that you do?
JB- As far as the band goes, we are all still the best of friends man. We grew up together, and the relationships get stronger with every record. Obviously we’ve had people leave the band through the years, but we still love those guys and support them as DOWN family. The biggest thing for me about DOWN as a band that I love are our influences, and how we are able to incorporate them all into our songs. It’s really cool man. We all listen to different stuff, but when DOWN comes together, we are able to use what we love and still create a sound that DOWN is known for, and I think that’s really unique.
As far as the fans go, I think it’s turned into a kind of “cult” like following really. Once you are a DOWN fan, you are a DOWN fan for life ya know. One of the main reasons we’ve had this success as a band is that people pass down our music to their kids, and it spreads to new generations. We do these meet and greets all the time with parents and kids, and that’s just awesome to me. It’s really cool that a parent thinks so much of our music to pass it on to their children, because that’s what it’s all about. That’s definitely a huge factor in our staying power.
MM- Speaking of staying power, your career has been absolutely non-stop for many many years now. From DOWN to EYEHATEGOD to Superjoint Ritual to other projects, you seem to constantly be putting out music. What still drives you to perform and write music to this very day?
JB- I do it because I simply have the opportunity to do it, which is a huge blessing. I don’t take it lightly either. I’ve seen great musicians come and go, and to be able to continue my career, support my family, and have fun while doing it is something that’s hard to put into words. Nothing against a 9-5 job, but that scares me like cancer (laughs). I’m lucky because I have the opportunity to perform in these different bands, and learn from them, and continue to become better and better every day. I get to take what I’ve learned and bring it to the projects, and it’s just a non-stop growing process around what I love. I don’t think I could ask for anything else really. We call ourselves musicians right? So that’s what I do (laughs).
MM- Very cool man! Again, thanks for taking out the time today to speak with me. Do you have anything else you’d like to say to the fans out there?
JB- Yea man. First, thanks for the interview man. All of the support is much appreciated as always. To the fans, we can’t thank you enough. Because of you we get to do what we do and bring the DOWN machine all across the world, and we are eternally grateful. I hope you enjoy the EP, because I really do, and see you on the road. If you’ve seen DOWN before, you know what to expect. If not, get ready!