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Down’s Pepper Keenan: ‘We’re Going Back to the Garage’

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Down aren’t an incredibly prolific band, which goes with the territory when you are a supergroup featuring members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity and Eyehategod. Service in multiple bands means not a lot of ‘Down time.’ Fans have come to accept that Down release music when they’re able. Right now, though, the band is jamming in the garage just like the old days.

“Down takes it own sweet time,” guitarist Pepper Keenan acknowledged to Noisecreep. “We are jamming and we are going backwards. Our last two records were studio-heavy, but we’re back in the garage. It’s time to go backwards and it’s time to be honest. It’s going to be dirty and raw.”

Down’s New Orleans swamp rock is slathered with a liberal dose of sludge, which is something that the band wants to return to with new material. “There is some powerful stuff that can come from a demo,” Keenan said. “A demo can sound better than your actual record, so we are trying to keep that mentality, where there is not so much pressure.”

The members of Down still reside in their beloved NOLA. They even named their debut album after their geographical locale. Keenan himself is a business owner in New Orleans and noted, “The city is turning around. We’ve got a new mayor and everything seems on point. There [have been] no hurricanes so far this year. So each year we don’t have one, the levies get stronger and the attitude is good. We’re crossing our fingers.”

Keenan owns a bar, Le Bon Temps Roule, which he describes as an “old NOLA juke joint. It’s got live music and I got involved with years ago, and it helps keep NOLA musicians going. It’s just one of them joints in New Orleans where we try and keep that old school tradition going.”

Down will release the ‘Diary of a Mad Band’ DVD on Oct. 5. The live concert will be released as triple a gatefold vinyl, which should entice collectors and die-hards. It’s also another piece of evidence that Down are returning to that raw, dirty vibe that defines their past. “Putting something out on vinyl is just like going back to the garage,” Keenan said.

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