DOWN guitarist Pepper Keenan recently spoke to Guitar World magazine about the band's upcoming EP, "Down IV - Part Two", which will be released on May 13 via Down Records/ADA Music. The effort was tracked at Nodferatu's Lair — vocalist Philip H. Anselmo's home studio — and produced by Michael Thompson, Anselmo and DOWN
Asked when DOWN started working on the new EP, Pepper said: "We were touring a lot, and we did a bunch of killer shows in Europe and the band as a whole was very excited about where we were heading. And then we had some issues with Kirk [Windstein, guitar] and him wanting to focus more on CROWBAR — and that happens sometimes in bands, you’d be a fool to deny it. We were just going in separate directions, and that's okay — I mean, we only wanted the best for Kirk, but DOWN wasn't going to waste one second, and he understood that. But I understood where Kirk was coming from — CROWBAR is his baby. So, during that period, me and Jimmy [Bower, drums] and Pat [Bruders, bass] were just in the jam room constantly, coming up with ideas and running them past Phil [Anselmo, vocals] to make sure that we were all on the same page. And then basically our ace in the hole became Pat. He had been in CROWBAR all these years, but he never really had a chance to write much of anything. And he started coming up with some amazing ideas, and that took some of the pressure off of us. We do it pretty old-school — just beatin' it out in the jam room."
Keenan also elaborated on DOWN's split with Kirk Windstein and addition of Bobby Landgraf, telling Guitar World: "I knew we were losing something [when Kirk left], but I couldn't quite figure out what it was. I just knew that something was going to be gone. I'm pretty prolific when it comes to riffs and songs, so it wasn't that much of a concern — but Kirk and I had been doing this together for 20 fucking years, so that aspect of it was gone."
He added: "We were gonna go on a nationwide search for guitar players and all that, but sometimes that ends up biting you on the ass. The truth is we're really not the easiest band to get along with — we kind of have our own language and way of doing things — so we wanted someone we knew we could hang out with, and Bobby was right there. After we got him in the game, everything started rolling. It reinvigorated us to have some new blood in the band. We're happy as clams right now. Everybody's heads are clear — nobody's stumbling around, and we're ready for the next couple of years for sure."
A new DOWN song, "We Knew Him Well", is available for streaming using the SoundCloud widget below.
In support of the upcoming record, DOWN will take their renowned live show on the road this spring, joining BLACK LABEL SOCIETY and DEVIL YOU KNOW on a North American tour. The tour, which also includes DOWN headlining shows and festival appearances, begins at Iron City in Birmingham, Alabama on May 2, and ends at Rocklahoma in Pryor, Oklahoma on May 25. The run also includes an appearance on May 24 at Emo's in Austin at the "Rock the Heart" concert, a benefit for the late Mike Scaccia's (RIGOR MORTIS, MINISTRY) "Heart Rock" foundation, with the goal of raising awareness about heart disease.
"Down IV - Part Two" track listing:
02. We Knew Him Well
05. Sufferer's Years