Kirk Windstein is a legend in the rock and metal world, that is an undeniable fact, through his work with Crowbar and more recently with Down and Kingdom of Sorrow, the man has built up a reputation and back catalogue that speaks for itself. We caught up with him at Bloodstock 2012 to discover his trio of bands, playing the festival itself as well as his thoughts on the closure of Roadrunner UK and the music industry as a whole.
You guys absolutely killed it on the main stage today. How was the show for you?
It fucking kicked ass man. The crowd was great, great response, the weather has held up thank god, you know how the UK weather can be. We were over in Europe in July and we had three or four mud fests in a row, I’m talking up to the knees, that sucked, but today’s been great, great show, great festival, a lot bigger than I expected, very well organized, we’re very happy to be here.
When you play these festival shows, especially on a day like today when you’re playing with different types of bands like Mayhem and Testament, is there added pressure or do you just go and do your thing?
We just go and do our thing really. When Crowbar started there weren’t many bands in the world that sounded like we sounded, so we took tours with bands like Morbid Angel and Suffocation, we like to think that we are heavy, we are honest and we’re real and that we can fit in, we saw a couple of kids in the crowd wearing corpse paint rocking out and shit, that’s always a plus. We always stick to what we do, I’m not going to completely change what we do to fit in with a certain festival, we just do what we do. If Sade was headlining it would be like telling Machine Head and Testament to play all their mellow stuff, you don’t do that.
You just have to roll with the punches I guess.
Yeah, exactly man.
This is the first time we’ve seen you guys since the release of ‘Sever The Wicked Hand’ other than the mini tour you did post release. What was it about the Bloodstock Festival that attracted you to it?
I know Alan and he was like ‘I’d love to get y’all’ and I spoke to our management and they said ‘It’d be a good fit for you guys, the lineup is really good this year, it’s a great festival and it’s on the rise, so let’s do it’ so here we are.
One of the things I wanted to ask you, obviously with both you and Hatebreed here, was there ever an attempt to get Kingdom of Sorrow on the bill as well?
I’m sure there was, we said no. Me and Jamey (Jasta) are going to do shit next week at Summerbreeze Festival, we did some Kingdom songs.
What is the current status of Kingdom Of Sorrow?
We’re doing some stuff next week, then we’re on the Soundwave tour in Australia the beginning of next year, and at some point obviously we’ll do another record, its just a case of scheduling.
I was going to say, how long are you out with Crowbar before diving straight back into the Down stuff?
The second I get home I go straight into the Down stuff, I get home a week from Monday, take Tuesday off to rest then we start filming our new video on the Wednesday for “Witch Tripper”.
Down are back over here in October what can we expect from you guys this time out?
The new EP and just ass kicking man, we did a nice little run in May and we had a lot of fun which is important at this stage of our career, we are just going to bring it, we’re gonna be Down we’re gonna be tight, we’re gonna have a good time, bring a positive vibe and just jam man.
Like only you guys can.
That’s right man.
The new Down EP ‘Down IV – The Purple EP’ is coming in October. It’s part one of a four part series. Is there a significance behind the colour in the title and are they all going to be coloured?
Hepburn usually does the artwork, so you’d have to ask him, I have no ideas. (Laughs) I like that it’s purple though.
You guys couldn’t think of a title so you just decided to name it ‘The Colour Purple’ (Laughs)
Not the movie starring Oprah Winfrey though (Laughs)
Just to clarify (Laughs)
No, it’s “Down IV”, part one and I know that Philip (Anselmo) likes that its purple, as far as I know all the cover art for all the parts are going to intertwine into one big thing, so maybe later on will be packaging it in one big thing, so who knows.
I know the last time I spoke to you back in 2010, you guys had just started writing Down IV. At which point did you guys decide to split it into EPs?
Probably not too long after we spoke. We started talking the way music is nowadays and the lack of record sales with people buying shit off Itunes instead of having to buy 13 or 14 songs, so we thought if we put 6 great songs on each EP then they will buy the whole thing, it’s just trying to break new ground and be leader in a new direction as far as the industry is going. Bands are scratching and tearing to make a fucking dollar these days, other than touring its very difficult because nobody sells records anymore, it’s really a thing of the past so we’re trying a new approach and hoping it works out for us.
You talk about the state of the industry and bands having to scratch and tear. Does that affect someone like yourself more being in 3 bands than say someone who is in just the 1 band?
Yeah, I would say it affects me 3 times as much (laughs)
You see 3 times less money than anyone else (laughs)
Yeah, right. That’s why I’m in 3 and I’m doing an acoustic thing as well on the side.
I can’t imagine you doing something acoustic man.
Yeah, trust man it’s gonna be good, so that’ll be the fourth thing I’m involved in, anything I can do to make music and enjoy myself, if I’m enjoying myself at the time,and it’s honest, I’m making music, and I’m making money then it’s all good.
Obviously you have had a legendary career, it speaks for itself, Do you find now as time has gone by that you have to give fans a bit more incentive to buy music now by offering special packages/collectible things?
Yeah, we’re talking about that now as well, special packaging and all that stuff, memorabilia and collectible things, you have to do that now, you have to give them that incentive to, there are no record stores anymore, people are getting shit off Itunes and Amazon etc. so there needs to be that incentive to buy the package.
As a Roadrunner artist with Down, how did the closure of the offices in the UK and Europe affect you as an artist and do you see that as sign of a shift in the industry?
I dunno, we’ll see man. Bands are scratching and tearing. The hardcore fans want to support you because they know its your career and your job, but most people are lazy and don’t give a fuck, they have no problem getting your shit for free and expect you to keep giving them shit that makes happy and you aren’t getting compensated for it.
In closing, because I know you’re a busy man. Have you got a message out there for the fans who are going to be coming to see you?
Yeah, I’m going to be quite busy with Down over the next couple of months, then back in with Crowbar, but thanks for all the support over the years with all 3 of my bands. So get ready for the new Down to drop, then the tours, so just get ready because we’re coming.