Thank you so much for carving out time for an interview Kirk.
K: No problem man!
Looking at your new release, “Zero and Below”, what does the album title illustrate?
K: I came up with the album title from the tenth track of the album. I thought it was cool, and really doesn’t have any particular meaning. The thing is with me lyrically, along with the song titles and shit like that, I do most things in metaphors, or like I call them one liners. A lot of my songs are open to interpretation. To one person it may mean one thing, and to another, a completely different meaning. We all agreed that “Zero and Below” was going to be the title.
It’s been almost 6 years since the last release, with “The Serpent Only Lies”. What went on during that time?
K: Well, a f***load of touring, for sure. And then the pandemic shut everything down. So, not everyone knew this, but, “Zero and Below” was written, mixed and mastered, and turned into the label in 2020. So, we had to sit on the record for two years. But, prior to that, a bunch of touring, then we had enough of that. So, we went into the studio after the Corrosion of Conformity tour in August of 2019. We started writing, then recorded in January of 2020. By February, it was ready.
What are the main differences between the new album and the previous ones?
K: The production is amazing. Things got easier. As you get older, and you hope for that matter, with more experience, things get better. You become more of a musician, more experience in the studio. And things can move faster through the process.
As for the album, I felt it wrote itself and recorded itself. We just showed up, and did our thing. The core of this band has always been Tommy, Matt and myself for fifteen years now. Then when Shane joined, it was a great thing. Technically, this has been the strongest lineup the band ever had. Everyone riffs and flows. Put it this way; we don’t even have to look at each other, you just feel it, everybody plays together great. We’re all in the pocket together. Those are the kind of things that make a great band, and I hope we show that with our music.
You’ve also signed to a new music label MNRK Heavy – or is eOne Heavy in a different name?
K: Well, MNRK bought eOne, for a lot of money (laughs). But yeah, they’re treating us great. And we’ve had more interview requests for this record than any of our records to date. Big shout out to Liz. (admin’s note: Liz rocks!)
You also worked with producer Duane Simoneaux. How did this cooperation affect the final outcome?
K: Great pronunciation dude (laughs). I hate to say it, but I can’t imagine doing an album without him. I did my solo album with him, and I’m doing my second solo with him again. With all of us, he’s really become a close friend. He’s amazing. He gets it. We’re very simple. We’re stripped down, and not fancy. Just meat and potatoes. No fancy pants BS. He gets what Crowbar’s about. He knows what we want to capture, and he accomplishes it. We’ve had more positive comments about this album, the tones, bass and drums. And that’s a good thing. He’s a very important part of what we do.
This tour with Sepultura, Sacred Reich and Art of Shock. How did this come to fruition?
K: Well, Crowbar and Sepultura did a run of twenty five shows in a row in 2010, we got along great with those guys. And, Sacred Reich, believe it or not, took Crowbar out, and at the Rave, in 1993/1994 for two and a half months. So, we’ve been friends with them since then. And the package came together years later.
When you do a tour, you really don’t want all the bands to sound the same. With this tour, you get a little bit of everything. You get thrash, melodic metal, hard driven metal and some really technical stuff. Which makes this tour a full package.
When we toured with Morbid Angel in the nineties, I wondered why they brought Crowbar along. They said that I’d rather have something unique on the tour, than four or five bands that sound like us. By the time Morbid Angel would play, the fans were burnt out with the sound. And that makes sense. Versatility on a tour makes a great show.
“Bleeding from Every Hole”… well, I’m nervous to ask the meaning of the song….
K: It’s just a metaphor. I mean, it kind of relates to purging, and at the same time, being at the lowest. If you were bleeding from every hole, you would die. It’s being at the lowest of lows. And at the same time, gathering what you can, learning to live again, bleeding from every hole, and that’s kind of the purging idea. Out with the bad, in with the good. You can take the lyrics, twist it, and make them your own. But that’s where I was when I wrote it. I know I mentioned live, that I would probably f@cked up a bit, and I know I did, but it was great to play it live.
Being a musician myself, I have a deep interest in what makes a song that ends up on the record. What’s your process when you write?
K: To be honest, one of us came up with an idea. And it goes from there. We take the idea and run with it. One great idea, lends itself to easily writing off of it. Crowbar is one of the few bands that have no hidden Crowbar tracks. No lost songs. No Easter Eggs. It’s either a killer and belongs on a record, or we toss it out. For us, we know we have a winner, or it’s gone.
What’s the most obscene/ obscure thing that happened on tour?
K: There wasn’t just one thing; but Dimebag (Darrell) was involved. In fact, we did the Hulk shit at the Rave. We were with Pantera in the nineties. He said, “I’m gonna paint you up like the Hulk, and you’re going to smash some shit, and I’ll pay for it”. He never paid for it, God bless him, he didn’t. Down played it. Then they didn’t want to pay us, because of damages. Phil (Pantera) was like that, but I didn’t do it. Dime was paying for it. He never did.
I see that your rig is Randall. What else do you add to your sound?
K: That’s it. I read one of our reviews, and this guy was complimenting my tone. It’s like the guitar tone of a 17 year old. Simple. Direct. And that’s what I do recording wise and live. It’s the Crowbar sound.