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Crowbar’s Kirk Windstein Talks ‘The Serpent Only Lies,’ Band Releases ‘Falling While Rising’ Video

Ethan Miller, Getty Images
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Crowbar mainman Kirk Windstein was the latest guest on Full Metal Jackie’s weekend radio program. The vocalist / guitarist discussed returning to his musical roots for ‘The Serpent Only Lies,’ the return of original bassist Todd ‘Sexy T’ Strange, life on the road versus life at home and more. Check out the chat below, followed by Crowbar’s new video for ‘Falling While Rising.’ 

How ya doin’?

Doing great, thank you.

We’re here to celebrate the new Crowbar album, The Serpent Only Lies. You’ve said, Kirk, that you intentionally listened to old Crowbar albums to make this. Why was it important to revisit the past?

I guess in a way I thought I just grew away from what the initial idea of what Crowbar was. Not that I’m not extremely happy with the last few records, because I am. In a way we were bringing a lot of new elements on Sever the Wicked Hand and Symmetry in Black.

But I kinda started listening to all the band that influenced Crowbar when we first started and that kinda made me go back and listen. Like most other guys, I don’t listen to my own music. So, this is our 11th record so up until now we had 10 previous records, 100 and something songs.

I went back and listened to songs and it kind of gave a whole new perspective of where my head was at back then. I think it helped kinda keep things true to what the initial idea and sound of Crowbar was about. But it also, 25 years later we made it a lot more mature and fresher. So to me it was just time to do that.

How would Crowbar be different if you hadn’t been exposed to so many different styles of music there in NOLA?

We wouldn’t be Crowbar. It’s weird, because you take Crowbar, you take Eyehategod, you take Down, you take even Goatwhore and Soilent Green — we all listened to the same — Graveyard Rodeo is one of the early bands Pepper Keenan was actually in — we all listened to the same music, we all went to the same shows. We all played shows together, but somehow we don’t — even though we have certain things in common, we all have our own sound. If it wasn’t for the bands here that we listened to and influenced us, we wouldn’t have Crowbar.

How has time and maturity changed the way you want to express yourself musically, especially with this new album?

It’s not hard to answer, with time it’s like – I always want to stay based in the roots of what got me started playing music and what got me creating Crowbar in the first place. I guess over the years, all the music I listened to is so important because I do listen to pretty much every style of music. It’s so important to me to have that diversity in everything but over the years, just being grounded and rooted in what the initial idea of what Crowbar was and not straying away from that has enabled us to continue with just maturing in my opinion.

We continued to write better songs as the years went on. It comes with maturity and it comes with writing for so many years and writing so many songs. It keeps us grounded but at the same time it lets us grow and mature.

Kirk, Todd [Strange, bass] goes way back to the beginning of Crowbar and he recently rejoined the band. How does it affect the music and the band dynamic when a former member comes back years later?

It’s been magic. It’s a very strange situation. Todd left the band on great terms back at the end of 1999. He did his own thing and we lost touch for so many years and he just started coming out and hanging about the last two years. He had picked up the bass recently because he had quit playing forever. It was just one of those things, everything — I’m one of those firm believers that everything happens for a reason.

Things just didn’t work out with Jeff [Golden] and Todd just happened to be there almost 17 years later. His life was in — his personal life, it was like the stars lined up. He was ready, things weren’t working with Jeff and when I talked to him about the possibility of it he said, “I’m all for it.”

Not many people get a second chance at something that they loved doing. The first rehearsal was just magic. He gets it because — we’ve had a few different bass players of the course of our existence. With Todd he obviously gets it because he was there from the very beginning and helped create the whole idea of what we were going to be. From the first rehearsal it was just magic and it clicked. It was him being from NOLA, him being part of the scene in the early days. It just works. It’s full on, it’s awesome. It’s a great feeling and it’s refreshing that he’s back in, just a great thing.

You guys tour quite a bit. Touring can be a very hard life. What do you do to not lose touch with the normalcy of regular life?

I guess I’m either one zone or the other. I’m either on tour with Crowbar, we try to play pretty much every day. If it’s 30 shows, we may have a day or two off. When I’m on tour I get locked into the touring zone where, it’s a structured thing every day. When I’m at home, I’m the exact opposite. We try to have structure at home as a family and just — we constantly do business every day. Whether it’s social media, interviews, whether it’s rehearsal, whatever it might be. We’re constantly working on Crowbar. It’s a 24/7 – 365 thing to all of us.

But when I’m home, it’s kind of like the exact opposite of being on tour. My wife and I try to make sure everything is family. Just normal stuff. It’s a completely different lifestyle than we have when we’re on the road. We try to keep it completely separate and it works.

Kirk, can you tell us what your plans are? Tour?

We leave Halloween day for Europe as main support for Overkill and we’re really looking forward to that and then we have a tour in December and I’m pretty sure, I don’t want to be fibbing here but I’m pretty sure it’s confirmed as Crowbar and Goatwhore. We’ve played shows with them over the years, great friends of ours. Sammy [Duet] used to be our guitar player for a while, so we’re looking forward to that. That would be in late November and December leading up towards Christmas and then we’re working on stuff for after the first of the year. Those are the things that are solid now.

Thanks to Kirk Windstein for the interview. Grab your copy of the sludge legends’ new record, ‘The Serpent Only Lies’ at Amazon or digitally through iTunes, and check out their video for ‘Falling While Rising’ below. Keep up with everything Crowbar is doing by following their Facebook page and find out where you can hear Full Metal Jackie’s weekend show at this location.

Watch Crowbar’s New Video for “Falling While Rising”

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