I had the pleasure to talk to Jimmy Bower from Down about their new EP Down IV – Part Two, their new guitar player Bobby Landgraf and even about Eyehategod.
Access: Hi Jimmy, how are you?
Jimmy Bower: I’m good man, and yourself?
Access: I’m fine too except it’s snowing like hell outside.
Jimmy Bower: Then I won’t tell you how our weather is like (laughter).
(Moment of silence)
Access: Jimmy, you’re releasing your new EP Down IV – Part Two May 13th, what can your fans expect from it?
Jimmy Bower: For one thing, we have a new guitar player because Kirk (Windstein) left the band last year.
We wrote the entire EP with our new guitar player Bobby (Landgraf). Usually we have a couple of songs leftover from past releases but with Part Two we didn’t have anything written and it’s actually one of the smoothest recordings we’ve done. The writing was really fast and everybody seemed to be on the same page and we’re all excited having Bobby in the band.
Access: So, how come you picked Bobby as your new guitar player?
Jimmy Bower: He plays in a band called Honky and they are like a three piece ZZ Top, like a blues rock band, so we knew he could play. Bobby has also been our stage manager for the past 5 years, probably longer, so he knows our songs. We were jamming and doing soundchecks with him so it just made sense having him in the band. Bobby brings in another style of guitar playing in Down, like a Stevie Ray Vaughan player. He and Pepper get along very well which is really important in a band like Down where the riffs mean everything.
Access: Why did Kirk leave the band and how is your relationship with him nowadays? Are you still in contact with him?
Jimmy Bower: Kirk wanted to concentrate on Crowbar a hundred percent of his time and he felt that he couldn’t take Crowbar to the next level while being a member in Down. It’s just the decision he made and we were like “Cool dude, we’re gonna miss you but go ahead and do it.” I don’t think it’s anything Down hasn’t been through before. Rex (Brown) left the band a couple of years ago. It kind of renewed the band and made us refocus on it.
Kirk will always be our friend, we don’t talk that often cause we’re getting older and have families but we’ll keep contact on Facebook (laughter)
Access: As long as you’re friends on Facebook your’re friends in real life.
Jimmy Bower: Right, that’s the evolution of humanity (laughter).
Access: It’s the same thing with relationship statuses, if you don’t have it on Facebook you’re not together with the person.
Jimmy Bower: Yeah, well mine says that I’m married so hopefully that’s true.
Access: As long as your wife knows it…
Jimmy Bower: …she was cool enough to accept my friend request (laughter).
Access: Who were your biggest inspirations for Part Two? Cause I can hear some Black Sabbath and especially Witchfinder General in there?
Jimmy Bower: Bands like that and bands like Witchcraft and Graveyard. I think Down has a lot in common with Swedish music.
Access: Jimmy, how come it’s been like two years since you released Part One?
Jimmy Bower: I don’t think there is any real excuse for that. We did a lot of touring for the first EP and stayed pretty busy. We are planning on going back in the studio in September again to start on the third one. That’s what I meant with “a new life to the band”. It made us focus more on it and yeah, I hope we’ll get into the studio a lot more often than we have.
Access: You think you will release all four EP’s before your 25th year anniversary? (In two years).
Jimmy Bower: Well, we’re gonna try to have the third one come out anytime next year and then go back in the studio again and record number four. It depends on touring schedule and stuff like that.
Access: 25 years with Down, how has it been working out with all the great musicians like Philip (Anselmo), Pepper (Keenan) and Kirk (Windstein)? It must have been one hell of an adventure?
Jimmy Bower: Yeah, it’s been awesome dude and I think that it’s now that it’s getting good. I’ve always said that Down is probably the biggest music work I’ve ever had in my life. I don’t take it lightly you know? It’s a cool thing and I feel extremely blessed to be jamming with people I get down with. As long as Facebook is cool we are cool (laughter).
Access: I guess you’re going out on a tour to support Part Two. Will you come to Sweden?
Jimmy Bower: Yeah, as a matter of fact in late July/early august we’re supposed to go back to Europe and hopefully we’ll be visiting Sweden, maybe a festival.
Access: An off topic question Jimmy, what’s the status for your other band Eyehategod?
Jimmy Bower: We have a record coming out in May as well and it’s our first in 13-14 years. Our drummer passed away last year but we were fortunate enough to have tracked his drums for the record. So, that’s why it’s really special to us, that and that it’s been way to long since we’ve put out a record. You think Down’s bad (laughter).
Access: That’s all Jimmy, thank’s for the chat and have a nice day.
Writer: Jonas ”Madman” Persson