Kirk Windstein Explains Down Departure

Kirk Windstein

Ex-Down guitarist and current Crowbar frontman Kirk Windstein gave an in-depth interview to the Devil Horns podcast, and the fine people at Blabbermouth transcribed it for all of us.

How sweet!

So, Kirk…why’d you bail, bro?

“The easiest way to put it, really is… My life’s changed a lot in the last year,” starts Kirk.

“With being married, I wanna concentrate a lot more on my family first and foremost. And Down, with us getting older and Philip’s [Anselmo] voice and now Down has to take a fair amount of days off in order for Phil to rest his voice properly, which is totally, absolutely understandable and well respected. It’s just, for me, I like to go out 15 shows in a row and get it done. With Down, a lot of the [touring], especially internationally, is fly dates and things like that and there’s so many days off.

“And really, for me, to be blunt, on those off days, man… I mean, show days are great, I have a responsibility, of course I love every second being on stage, but on those off days, I have absolutely nothing to do and it just ends up turning into drinking too goddamn much and wanting to not be there.

“It’s like, I wanna be at the gig every day, but I don’t wanna sit in a hotel room in Europe 34 times now — and I feel very blessed to have done that with Crowbar and with Down as well. I feel blessed to have done that, but for me personally, I’m an in-out kind of guy — give me 15, 18 shows and I’m fine. But I wanna do ‘em and get home and get back to the other half of my life. That’s just being honest. The guys could see I was kind of not really getting into it, they could see me on the off days hitting the sauce harder than I should have been — no doubt about it.”

Told you it was in-depth.

“On show days, it’s fine, like I said — I have a responsibility and I love being on stage and playing and I love playing with my friends; there’s no doubt about that. It was just, with the 25th anniversary of Crowbar coming up and with the way my life has changed, it just seemed like the obvious decision for me. It was kind of a mutual thing — no hard feelings or anything whatsoever like that. There’s absolutely zero drama, zero gossip that I know of, at least from my side. I doubt there’s any from their side. I’ve spoken to the guys. In fact, Bobby Landgraf from Honky, that’s taking my spot, is a very good friend of mine; he teched for me for awhile and he’s been teching for Pepper [Keenan]. I spoke to him the other day and he can use my rig that I used with Down for [the band’s appearance at the Housecore Horror Film Festival] coming up, and he’s actually gonna come and me and him are gonna jam a little bit on some tunes. He’s got a few questions.

“He’s an amazing guitar player, but it’s hard to get every little lick down of somebody else’s stuff, so he asked me if I could pop by and jam with him a bit. I said, ‘Absolutely. Anything I could do to help out would be great.’

“It’s just kind of one of those things… I’ll be 49 years old in April, and for whatever reason, it seems like Crowbar is bigger than it’s ever been, even though we don’t do anything. It’s kind of those things, man, where if I don’t give it a full-on 200 percent everything I’ve got promoting it, writing the heaviest, best damn riffs I can possibly write and just really giving it my all as far as touring properly, touring extensively — not long periods of time, but a lot of short tours and just hitting all the countries we can hit and stuff like that. If I don’t do that, I’m never gonna forgive myself, because I’ve never given Crowbar a proper chance.

“Since 2001, which is 12, going 13 years ago, my main priority has been Down. I’ve had to put a lot of things on hold, which it totally understandable — putting Crowbar on hold. Even Kingdom of Sorrow, which I still do with Jamey Jasta, and when we get a chance, we will do another record eventually and do some touring with that as well. But Jamey is very involved with Crowbar’s business — kind of helping manage and things like that — so he understands my position with Crowbar being my first and main, and basically only priority, just like Hatebreed is with him. And when we get a chance to do Kingdom, we’ll do that as well. But it just works out better for everybody. They have that new spark in Down, which is wonderful feeling. We have the new spark in Crowbar, which is wonderful feeling. It’s our 25th anniversary in 2014 with Crowbar and I feel like I can finally, while that window of opportunity is still open, I feel like I can finally give Crowbar my undivided attention. Of course, I’ll be feeling proud of what I accomplished with Down, what we accomplished together, all the great times that we had — those things are wonderful. And I look forward to getting to hang out with the guys again when we all have some time to chill and getting over there and working with Phil on the [upcoming] Crowbar live [album] as well for [Philip’s label] Housecore.”

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