DOWN’s KIRK WINDSTEIN: ‘People Don’t Realize That Things Are Worse Than Ever In The Industry’

Alison Richter of the Music Industry Examiner recently conducted an interview with Kirk Windstein (DOWN, CROWBAR, KINGDOM OF SORROW). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Music Industry Examiner: Over the course of twenty years, have you ever come close to calling it a day, especially with the current state of the industry?

Windstein: When I’m at home, I see my daughter on weekends, I love doing yard work, my fiance works for a friend’s freight company and goes in to work really early, so I get up between 5:30 and 6 in the morning and I’m in bed by 9 at night. I don’t go out to clubs or bars or anything like that. I do that when I’m on tour. When I’m at home I like being a regular guy, and there are times when I’m like, How long is it going to be able to last with the state of the music industry? Am I going to have to throw in the towel and take a forklift-driving class or some shit? But I don’t give up. I don’t get discouraged. I don’t think I’ve ever come close to saying, “Fuck it,” but the thought does cross my mind at times. Honestly, a lot of times new bands ask my advice and I’m like, “Quit!” New bands starting out: Quit! People don’t realize that things are worse than ever in the industry, with record sales and the whole thing being at an all-time low. Honestly, if I were a young musician, I would probably make music for fun, play on the weekends with friends, but I don’t think I’d try to pursue it as a career if I weren’t already twenty years into it. If I were 18 years old and had a new band, I think I’d play music for the love of playing music but not for making a living.

Music Industry Examiner: [DOWN is] working on an EP series. What is that about?

Windstein: We looked at one another and said, “Do we really want to do another long stint in the studio, doing 14 or 15 songs, for nobody to buy it?” We feel that it gives us an opportunity. Each individual one will be centered around one part of DOWN’s sound. Our first one is our heavy stuff. There’ll be maybe an acoustic one because we like having a lot of elements in our sound. We don’t want to be cornered into being a heavy metal band. We want to be able to do what we want to do. We play rock and roll with a little bit of metal in it, and with the state of the industry, we feel that it’s a good idea to do four EPs. We can get the product out there quicker and it’s cheaper for the consumers to buy it. Even if you want to download the whole thing, it’ll be five bucks instead of ten if you go to iTunes. Pepper [Keenan, guitar] usually does the artwork for the records and T-shirts, and he’s working on a concept where the artwork for all four EPs will tie in with one another as one big piece of work. The same with merchandising. So we think it’s a fresh, different approach to what’s going on. We’re honestly just trying to survive in today’s industry. We think we have a good chance, a better chance, of that happening this way.

Music Industry Examiner: You’re doing everything yourselves.

Windstein: Oh yeah. It’s totally old school. I think we’ll do the drums at a real studio in New Orleans, but everything else will be done at Phil’s [Anselmo, vocals] in the swamp. He’s got 16 or 17 acres of land about an hour and 15 minutes north of New Orleans. It’s ideal because it’s out in the middle of nowhere, so I’m kind of at peace and there’s no outside distractions. We get out there to work and record and it seems it’s always very productive because we’re literally in his barn that he turned into a studio, we’re writing and we don’t keep track of time. You’re in that world and it’s a great environment to create. It’s our version of when ZEPPELIN would take the mobile to a castle in the English countryside in Wales or someplace and just do it. That’s our version of that, basically.

Read the entire interview fromMusic Industry Examiner.

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