Formed from the roots of the band Shell Shock, Crowbar debuted in 1991 with the album Obedience Thru Suffering. The New Orleans band’s 1993 self-titled full-length was produced by Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo and two of its videos achieved airplay on Beavis & Butthead. Crowbar has remained steadily active in the 28 years since its self-titled album, even though frontman Kirk Windstein had also participated in other bands, including Down, Volume Knob, and Kingdom Of Sorrow.
2016 brought the eleventh and most recent full-length studio release from Crowbar, The Serpent Only Lies (read our review here). Currently, Crowbar is on the road with Corrosion of Conformity, Mothership, Weedeater and The Obsessed. The remaining tour dates run through February 27th with the tour set to wrap in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to the end of the tour is a show on February 20th at Toronto’s Opera House.
We had the pleasure of doing some Q&A with Kirk Windstein himself about the past, present and future of Crowbar. Highlights from that phone chat are below, while more info Crowbar can be found online at .
This is “The Cemetery Angels” from Crowbar. A hellacious tune!
I first wanted to ask you about the Canadian tour that you’re up to right now. For somebody that is coming out to see one of these shows, what is the setlist like? Kirk Windstein: Oh it’s a little bit of everything, it’s kinda tough. We actually only have forty minutes and they allow us to go over a few minutes every night. We’re only able to play about eight songs. When you’ve got eleven records that’s not a whole lot (of time). We do a bit of everything... A bit of old stuff, a little bit of new stuff and then that’s all we’ve got time for, really. But the shows have been fantastic and we’re kicking ass, sounding good.
Speaking of the new stuff, your latest album came out a little over two years ago. Have you already started writing the next one? Windstein: We have some ideas but we still have two European tours and one Australian tour still to come. Probably when we get home from this tour, we can start working on some ideas and then when we finish out by the end of the summer, it’ll be time to hit the studio and go into full 100 percent writing and recording mode.
You’ve always been very active with side projects. Are any of those still going? Or is Crowbar everything for you at this point? Windstein: Oh, Crowbar is everything at this point. I am doing a solo record, which I describe mainly as if Crowbar were mellow. It’s not an acoustic record or anything, it’s just mellow, mellow but dark and moody type stuff, so I’m excited about that. I’m almost done with the music basically, 95 percent done with music, so I’ve got to get on some lyrics when we get home. But other than that, no. I mean, I’m always up for anything but as of right now there are no plans for any other side projects.
I’m curious about the trajectory of Crowbar, as to when you realized that this was going to be totally a band and a career. Was there a particular moment in your career when you realize that it wasn’t just one album but it was going to be your life? Windstein: Pretty much from the beginning. I mean, even before Crowbar, when I made a decision after high school to not go to college or any further education or learn a trade or anything like that, I was like, “This is my trade. This is just what I want to do all my life and I’m not taking no for an answer...” In my mind and body and my heart I’m past the point of no return, there’s no stopping. It just has to work.
The ripping album, The Serpent Only Lies, was released on October 28, 2016, via eOne.
Yet a lot of the bands that you started with kind of gave up or became part-time musicians. What is it that always kept you going? Windstein: I was actually doing an interview yesterday and the guy kind of asked the same question. What really keeps me going is that I’m still not where I want to be. I think it’s a blessing in disguise that we’ve never been a really popular band because people are so fickle, unfortunately. Bands are hot for a couple of years and they fall off the face of the earth, and they might make it a little comeback. But you know... Guys like me, the whole attitude is, “slow and steady wins the race.” So as long as we continue to do what we’re doing then we’re all good. But what keeps me going on is that I’m never going to be satisfied and I’m just as hungry today to get on-stage and kick ass as I was thirty years ago.
That brings up an interesting point where you said you’re not where you want to be per se but you’re still pushing forward. Are you the kind of guy that lives off of checklists and to-do lists? Windstein: Not really... It would never happen in a million years, but even if all of a sudden Crowbar became a big band, I still wouldn’t be satisfied. I’d want it to be bigger. I’m the kind of person where I believe, you know, in a career like music, it’s not like sports, you know what I mean? People are doing this as they get older. Judas Priest and Saxon and Accept and Iron Maiden and whatnot, these bands that I grew up on are getting up there in age and are still all doing it at a super-high level. So as long as you’re around and you are able to perform and play music.
To me, to make a goal and achieve that goal, then you’re still going to be hungry. How can you still be fighting for something when you’ve already achieved it? So that the journey is the ride, and the journey is what is important, so I don’t ever want the journey to end... One of the Hatebreed quotes, or rather the album title which I think is a brilliant title is Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire. And it’s true. Once you become satisfied, then you’re done. In my opinion, you just have to keep on keeping on, keep kicking ass.
Here is the video for "Falling While Rising" off of The Serpent Only Lies.