DOWN Interview - Jimmy Bower

This interview was made in Lyon the 19th of April 2008.
OS has met Jimmy Bower the drummer.

Could you tell more us about this new European tour? You were in UK, Ireland, Germany, a show in France… How was it?

It's been great! The show in Paris was awesome, I think it was sold-out. Every time we play in Paris it's hard as hell. I mean it was really cold outside but for some reasons the shows are always hot. That was a great show and the tour's been great, we can't complain at all. People are coming out to support and having a good time.

About your new album, "Over The Under", after five long waiting years, how was in general, the response from the fans and the medias?

They're happy about it. Obviously it took a while because of hurricane Katrina, Phil had to get back surgery and things like this you know. So it took a while. But it's been good, people seem really happy about the record you know, everybody's been really supportive like the press and stuff, a lot of interviews… so it's good, it's good to Rollin' again you know!

For you what are the most differences between this record and the others?

We spent a lot of time on this one you know, we spent a lot of time writing, recording, we got focused and really try to write the best songs we could and we spent some times in the studio. While we were on studio we went on tour with Heaven & Hell in Canada and when we came back we did more studio, then we went on tour in Australia with Heaven & Hell so it was good to sit back and it reflects on the record, to have time for analyzing.

According to me, Phil's voice is more bluesy on this new record and in general the record is less brutal with more swing into it…

That's what we intend to do anyway. We're basically a heavy blues band. I think, the way Phil's been singing is incredible. He totally gets is own style, he sings like a chief every night man. As opposed with some of the other styles of voice that he has, this is the one I prefer the most, when he sings. He sings great you know!

Like 70's old bands, like Allmans Brothers Band, this kind of voice…

Yeah, yeah, I mean 70s style vibe you know.

About the artwork, the cover album and all the design is very interesting with lot of old esoteric symbols "like the Tetragrammaton sun circle", can you explain more this concept?

I didn't help for the artwork, but it's just basically a bunch of symbols that mean something to us, like Phil, Kirk and Pepper worked on the artwork to. They picked up the symbols they want to make it the way the record is. That's all I know about that you know! (Laugh) But I think it's done very well, it looks creepy…

About the Lyrics, this album is more poetic, with a "global concept", can you tell us more about the philosophy of the lyrics ?

I think the lyrics are beautiful. As opposed to sing about a bunch of negativity he turned all into positive and came with a well thought out smart lyrics. I think they're great man!

You're going to tour with Metallica in July. What's your feeling about touring with such a legend?

Since I'm 15 I Love Metallica, when Master Of Puppets came out, I was like "whaouuu!". I really liked them and to open up for Metallica is like a dream come true, it's awesome man, a great opportunity. Any band would jump on that you know…

About you now, you're doing music for more than 15 years…

Well, I've been playing in bands since like 86 but I didn't start touring until 93... Oh no I toured in 88 once!

And you play drums and guitar. With all your bands, Eyehategod, Crowbar, Superjoint Ritual, Down, and the Mystic Krewe Of Clearlight side project, you are a big influence for lots of bands, which tell that you are the "Godfather of Southern Metal", what's your feeling about that?

Yes, somebody said that one time. It's flattering, but there's a lot more peoples that are just more important than me, or influence in terms of sound. But it's cool as I think New Orleans does have a really unique sound so it's cool to be recognized. People understand what New Orleans bands are trying to do, so I least, I hope they do.

Difficult question now, what is your favorite: guitar or drums?

Ooh shit, right now it's drums you know. I like both, I don't really have a favorite you know. With drums you can express your emotions in one way, and with guitar you can express emotions in another way you know, it's cool I try to learn piano to, keyboard, stuff like that, I'm a musician so I mean, I just try…

I read on the web that your biggest influences are "the most mighty marijuana plant", Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin. This year it's the come back of Led Zeppelin, with all the original members except Bonham of course...

Bonham is the most important dude in the band I think, and I think it's great those guys could come back together enjoying playing their songs again as one you know…

Did you ever seen them ?

Only a dvd 2002 right. I love Zeppelin man!

I've felt a little bit of Zeppelin in Down's music, this 70s style…

Yeahhh, you can feel it's like a whole movement, it's been coming from years I think you know.

You also played with Black Sabbath?

Yeah, with Heaven & Hell with Dio, it was really cool, aah fuck it's amazing man you know, we sat down to watch Tony Iommy at the sound check you know, he's just like a big god, so loud, they were all really nice, and treat us very well, that was a great tour!

And we know that Kirk Windstein and Jamey Jasta have a new project call Kingdom Of Sorrow, Could you say something about?

I think it's good, I'm happy for Kirk you know, he's been doing it for a while so… yeah it's good, I like it a lot. I didn't really have the chance to analyze the record but for Kirk it's awesome.

Would you have something to say to the kids who's gona discover DOWN at this show ?

Aahh Fucking… There's a lot of bands you don't know but you really need to, bands Trouble, The Obsessed, Black Sabbath, Capitain Beyond, Wishbone Ash, Lynyrd Skynyrd, David Allan Coe… there's a lot of bands, if you know about them, that's cool! If you don't check'em out because that's where our influences come from.
The music had a feeling into it, more groove…

Interview O.S.
Translation Manu