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 CROWBAR - Angels Of Truth

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Messages : 8762
Date d'inscription : 14/04/2009
Age : 58
Localisation : Saint Céré

MessageSujet: CROWBAR - Angels Of Truth   Mer 29 Déc - 22:56

CROWBAR - Angels Of Truth

By Aaron Small

When New Orleans sludge metal masters CROWBAR release their new album, Sever The Wicked Hand, on February 8th in North America via eOne and Februrary 14th in Europe on Century Media, it will have been exactly six years since the release of the band’s last album, Lifesblood For The Downtrodden. “A lot’s happened. Not necessarily with Crowbar, but I’ve been busy as hell. It’s really good to have this done; I’m especially proud of it. We put absolutely everything into this,” says Crowbar vocalist and guitarist Kirk Windstein.

A lot has indeed happened since February 2005. Kirk and his other band DOWN – with Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown of PANTERA, Pepper Keenan of CORROSION OF CONFORMITY and Jimmy Bower of EYEHATEGOD – released their third studio album, Over The Under, as well as a live DVD/CD, Diary Of A Mad Band. Kirk also formed a third band, KINGDOM OF SORROW, with Jamey Jasta from HATEBREED. Together the duo issued a pair of albums, their self-titled debut and Behind The Blackest Tears. Now Kingdom Of Sorrow and Crowbar have crossed paths in yet another manner. KOS guitarist Matt Brunson has joined Crowbar, replacing Steve Gibb. According to Kirk, this personnel shuffle “didn’t really change anything. Matt’s a great guitar player and brought some really good ideas, but most of the stuff: riff-wise, lyrics, vocally, is all me.”

Crowbar entered the studio on August 27th 2010 to begin recording Sever The Wicked Hand. “We didn’t finish up until October 12th,” recalls Kirk. “Reason being, Tommy (Buckley) and Pat (Bruders) – our drummer and bass player – both have day jobs when we’re not on tour. Instead of doing what I’m used to, which is working noon to midnight every day ‘til it’s done, it was mainly an evening and weekend thing. It wasn’t even an everyday thing. It was like; we’ll do it Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So it was based over a longer period of time, but the actual hours of recording weren’t that much. It’s the first time I’ve done a record this way, but it worked out real well.”

Did having days off during the midst of recording cause you to listen to what had been done and then re-record it, or is the album mainly comprised of first and second takes? “That’s a really good question! Nobody’s actually asked that. Nothing was re-recorded. I produced it – and by producing I mean I oversaw everything – I’m not an engineer. Zeuss did a great job mixing and mastering. As producer, it was my job to oversee the performance, the arrangements, and the overall outcome of each song, to give the thumbs up on the individual tracks. I didn’t second guess anything. I kind of like to work spontaneously – lyrically and vocally, none of the stuff was written prior to the music being completed. Like I’ve always done, I’d wake up really early in the morning, a lot of times before the sun was even up, just go downstairs where it was quiet and listen to a disc of the song I was going to sing that day, whatever came to my mind is what I wrote down. Go into the vocal booth with my notebook and a pen and scratch and rewrite stuff, just go for it. What came out is the best work we could do.”

The song ‘Liquid Sky And Cold Black Earth’ contains the following line: “Will to live was sinking slow, I had fallen far below.” That’s rather ominous... “It really was due to the downward spiral of the heavy drinking. Alcohol is a depressant; a lot of people don’t realize that. A lot of it’s metaphorical; it’s not necessarily to be taken literally so to speak. It’s not like I was suicidal or anything. When you’re living with a foggy mind – let’s put it that way – whether you want to admit it or not, when alcohol or any drug has control over you… it was just time for me to get away from this and do a complete lifestyle change. I never say I’ll never drink a beer again. People always congratulate me on sobriety, I say thank you; but people fall off everyday. For me, this is a whole awakening and it’s so much better. I was up at 9:02 this morning, on the telephone, on the computer, doing business. I have a whole different outlook and I’m much happier – fatter but happier. Work and eating has kind of become my obsession. Even though over the last five or six years I’d shed quite a bit of weight, I’ve added it back. It’s getting a little out of hand, but it’s better than being addicted to alcohol and being drunk. I’ll take what I can right now.”

It came as a surprise when Kirk skipped Ozzfest with Kingdom Of Sorrow this past summer to attend AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings. Kenny Hickey, formerly of TYPE O NEGATIVE, filled in as a last minute replacement. “People that don’t do this for a living, it’s probably difficult for them to understand it. But it’s extremely easy when every single day that you’re working, you are surrounded by alcohol; it’s everywhere! It’s easy to fall prey to it and let it consume and control you. That’s basically what happened to me little by little by little and then it was just boom! This is it; that’s enough. I’ve got to dry out and detox. I’ve got to get my brain screwed on straight. It was really weird how, even with the writing process for this record, we entered the studio August 27th; I had quit drinking August 2nd. The last week before we entered the studio, I literally threw away four songs and wrote four of the best songs in two days – including (first single) ‘The Cemetary Angels’ – because of the clarity in my mind and creativity. When you’re under that cloud of any kind of substance abuse, you think that what you’re doing is good. But when you really do see it with a clear mind, you know you can do better than this. That’s what I’m enjoying."

"Every night gets a little better. Every night gets a little more comfortable. I’m enjoying playing these shows completely sober, it’s great! I don’t like to dwell on all of it because I’m not really a program person. I don’t want to be thought of as all that because I’d be lying to myself and everyone else if I said that I was. For me, I drink O’Doul’s, or whatever the non-alcoholic blend of the day might be. That helps me get through it. I’m a beer drinker. Always was, always will be. Right now, thankfully it’s beer that doesn’t have alcohol in it, 0.5 percent. You drink five or six of ‘em over the course of two hours, it’s nothing. I have a couple before I go on stage, and sip a few of those on stage, whatever. For me it works. That’s pretty much where I am with that whole thing. I’ve never been one for the business side of things, but I’m loving it – that’s my new addiction. It’s so positive in so many ways. You’re doing something that’s good for you and good for your career. It’s nice to be able to wake up without a damn hangover… waiting until booze o’clock as I used to call it. I can concentrate on having a productive day and playing the best damn show I can play.”

Zakk Wylde of BLACK LABEL SOCIETY recently got sober as well. However, Zakk was forced to stop drinking as he was put on medication for blood clots in his leg. He was also suffering from pancreatitis, an ailment that affected Down bassist Rex Brown as well. Zakk went to an AA meeting and commented, “I didn’t say a word and listened to all of these fuckers bitching, moaning and whining, I didn’t go back a second time because I have far too much to do to waste my time like that. There’s one step: stop!” A point of view Kirk easily understands. “I totally see where Zakk’s coming from. Everyone has the same disease – whether it’s alcoholism, drug addiction, whatever it may be. I went to AA meetings, not religiously but for the first month. Kate, my fiancée, and I live with my sister, who’s been sober over four years and who is currently going to university to be a psychologist so she can do substance abuse counseling. So I know the routine. I know the game. The literature is in my house."

"I know where Zakk’s coming from because a lot of people need to be in the program, like my sister. If she was not obsessed with the program, obsessed with sobriety and obsessed with helping other people stay sober, she wouldn’t be able to do it. To each his or her own; it’s up to you. I have friends who are sober who are total program people. I have friends who are sober who are not, it wasn’t for them. With the Rex thing and the Zakk thing – God bless both of them – for them it was a health issue. For me it is too because not only are you tearing up your pancreas, your liver and the rest of your body, when you’re drinking that heavily, there’s also a good chance you might not wake up. You might pull a John Bonham and choke on your vomit. It’s no way to live. Knock on wood and thank the Good Lord, for me, I didn’t have to be hospitalized or forced into it. Seeing what was going on around me, knowing how I felt, it was time bro. That’s one thing I will give AA – when they tell you ‘one day at a time’ – they’re not kidding. It can be one hour at a time, one minute at a time. You just have to realize, that’s not going to fix anything. It’s only going to create problems again.”

Returning to the new album, when compared to its predecessors, visually, Sever The Wicked Hand features quite a different piece of artwork adorning the cover. “Honestly, Mike D from KILLSWITCH ENGAGE did all the artwork for us. He’s a big Crowbar fan. I met the guys over at With Full Force Festival in Germany over the summer. We had to catch a flight to Finland so I wasn’t able to see their show, but we hung out and they were really nice and they’re a great band. He had emailed me about doing some shows and then he said, ‘by the way, I’m a graphic design artist on the side. If ya need any artwork for anything, let me know.’ I said, dude, that’d be great. So it’s really on him. Mike D and Jamey Jasta basically came up with the idea behind what it was, even the (new) logo. We still use the old logo on merch and whatnot, Mike just wanted to update it a little bit and I like what he did. I think the artwork’s very cool. This is a new beginning for Crowbar absolutely. It’s like a born again kind of thing as far as I’m concerned. There’s nothing wrong with starting fresh.”

Did you give Mike the title Sever The Wicked Hand, or did he come up with this piece coincidentally? “Actually, I had a bunch of title ideas and Jamey had come up with a bunch too. That one just kind of popped out at first, just as a song title. Then it was a pretty strong phrase that can mean a lot of different things. For me personally, going through what I was going through at the time, it fit perfect. It’s kind of self-explanatory – The Wicked Hand is anything that’s bringing you down, whether it’s a bad relationship, drugs or alcohol. It can be anything; people who are food addicts – bulimics or anorexics, whatever, they’ve got fucking hoarders now. But it’s real issues and real problems. That’s what Sever The Wicked Hand means, get rid of the negative shit and move forward.”

These days, bands are releasing several different versions of the same album: regular and limited edition, Best Buy exclusive, iTunes exclusive, then of course there’s the Japanese bonus track. Crowbar chose not to facilitate this marketing strategy with Sever The Wicked Hand. “There’s only one version,” verifies Kirk. “We didn’t record anything extra. It gets to the point where we have 51+ minutes of music, you’re either going to buy it or you’re not. You’re either a fan or you’re not. Is it really an incentive to buy it because we recorded a song live in Beijing in 1993 that we just found in the vaults and we’re going to add it on there? No. If you’re a fan and you like it, come get it. If you don’t, that’s fine.” Adding such bonus tracks is often viewed as a cash-grab because die-hard fans end up purchasing four different versions of the same album just to complete their collection. “Absolutely, it’s true! The die-hards want it all and it’s not fair to them ‘cause they’re the ones that are really supporting you. We don’t want to make our hard core fans feel like they’re being forced into buying all this extra stuff in order to have everything. I think we’re doing it the right way.”

A complete list of Crowbar tour dates can be found at
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