Kirk Windstein: Crowbar Eight Songs Deep Into ‘Fantastic’ New Record
Guitar great Kirk Windstein was the guest on Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show. This time around, Windstein is promoting his first ever solo record, Dream in Motion, and Jackie speaks with the guitarist about the importance of doing this record now.
Windstein also is most known for his work in Crowbar, and Jackie gets the lowdown on the progress of the band's next record. Plus, she speaks with Kirk about his return to the supergroup Down, who will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of their classic NOLA album this year. Check out the chat in full below:
We're here to talk about your first ever solo record, Dream in Motion. You've had a prestigious career with Crowbar, Down and Kingdom of Sorrow. What was important for you to express with a solo album that's never come out through all those other bands?
I really think the important thing was I listened to so many styles of music and I listened to a lot of stuff that's more mellow I guess because I'm always playing heavy music and when you're on tour it's always, especially with festivals and stuff, it's nice to get a little breaks.
I listen to a lot of different stuff and it's just something I've been wanting to do for a long time. It's really just another side of my writing personality, just a more mellow side. It's still emotional and dark and it's heavy on its own, maybe not sonically, but it's heavy in its own way. So it was just something I needed to get it out of my system so to speak.
Songwriting is very much about being a craftsman, envisioning something then shaping and refining it into a finished piece. What fulfills you most about the process?
I'll come up with one simple little riff or something, one simple idea and then it just grows. The song kind of writes itself around the initial idea. I think the most fulfilling part of hearing the finished product is when you say to yourself, 'Wow this didn't exist, yesterday or two days ago or whatever it might be.' This piece of music didn't even exist, and now I'm listening back to it and I couldn't be happier with the way that it came out. So I've always enjoyed writing and recording and that, to me is the fulfilling part. It's just coming up with that one simple idea and then watching it grow into the final product.
Kirk, other than drums, everything on your new record Dream in Motion is you. What changes about the process when you're not collaborating with a band?
On some of the earlier Crowbar stuff, I did everything but the drums, but this was much different, you know, it was really just like you said, I'm not not collaborating with a band. It's just me. And it was, not that there's pressure doing it with the band. It's just when you're writing with a band, especially in a situation with Down where everyone in the band was a writer -- even Jimmy Bower who was the drummer, it was a collaboration all the time and there was just a different approach.
It was like I could do whatever I want to do and I'll have the final say so on it. Not that I want to be some dictator about it, but it made it easy. It made it easy to not have to compromise, and there's nothing wrong with that. A lot of times when you're writing and collaborating with other members, at first you might not think the idea they have is all that great. But then when you dive into it and keep listening to it and really thinking about it, you realize that it is a great idea. But you know, it was just simple doing it where it was just me.
Kirk Windstein, "Dream in Motion"
There's a new Crowbar album in the works. What do you find most challenging about maintaining that particular style without becoming repetitive?
I don't know. I just think Crowbar, that's just what I was meant to do. The new record's coming out amazing and it's writing itself. Of course I have a lot of help from Matt Brunson, our other guitar player. And then even our new bassist Shane Wesley's contributed a lot of cool stuff to it.
I worry about it like, 'Oh God, when am I gonna run out? When are my ideas going to dry up? Am I gonna run out of ideas about how to do Crowbar?' Thankfully, as I can say, it's coming out fantastic.
We're already working on song eight. So we're actually way ahead of schedule at this point, which is a good feeling. We can take our time on the final two songs, which we have a lot of riffs for it but they still need to be written.
I do worry when it's like, Oh God, it's time for a new Crowbar [record].' I mean it's the 12th Crowbar record and that's a minimum of 120 songs. It's probably at least 125 songs or something in the Crowbar catalog now. When you think about that it sometimes is kind of scary. How is this going to happen? What challenges am I going to face or are we going to face trying to put together a Crowbar album? But, so far, this new one is coming out fantastic.
Down was a side project that took on a life of its own. What are you looking forward to most about playing those songs again with those people?
Exactly what you said -- playing those songs again with those people. The guys of course have all been great friends of mine. We've all been great friends since we were young. That was the whole idea and it really did start out as a side project. Of course, once again Down is a side project, but you know, after seven years, really seven and a half years of not playing with those guys, I'm looking forward to it. Whatever we end up doing, if it's a lot of shows, that's great. If it's not, that's great. Just, just to be able to play some shows with them will be a lot of fun.
We honestly did about 80 shows or 80 days worth of touring, split into two tours with COC in 2019. So Pepper [Keenan] and I were able to really hang out and we got probably closer than we've ever been. A lot of it might've had to do with the fact that we were both in two different bands instead of being in a band together, so we were just on tour together, but we hung out every day and had a real blast. We really did. We've been hanging out a lot since, since we've both been home from touring. So I'm just looking forward to, after all these years, to get back with these guys and doing some shows to celebrate what, in my opinion, is a true classic record, which is the 25th anniversary of the Down NOLA record.
Down, "Stone the Crow"
Thanks to Kirk Windstein for the interview. The 'Dream in Motion' album is available to order here. Stay tuned for Crowbar album info, and be sure to catch Kirk with Down on tour. Find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie's weekend radio show here.
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