It has been said that in order to understand Down, you have to see them live. Using a video of their own history in lieu of an opening act to rev fans up for their show, Philip Anselmo, Pepper Kennan, Rex Brown, Kirk Windstein and Jimmy Bower — members of former acts such as Pantera, EyeHateGod, Corrosion of Conformity and Crowbar — released their third CD, Down III: Over The Under last fall, and are currently touring in support of it. buzz checked in with bassist Rex Brown about album recording, constant touring and Hurricane Katrina’s effect on the band:
buzz: For someone who has never heard your band, how would you describe your music?
Rex Brown of Down: Its southern good rock and roll, and we take and throw in stuff we listened to as kids, like some ’70s rock. Together [we’re] five different guys that all played in bigger metal bands [Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity, EyeHateGod and Pantera], but our roots are in Southern-style rock.
buzz: Are you all from New Orleans?
Rex: All except me, I’m the outsider. I live in Texas.
buzz: How would you compare Down to Pantera?
Rex: You can’t; it’s two different styles of music completely. There’s still the influence, of course, because we wrote all of that stuff, but it’s just a different flavor all together.
buzz: Is it true you going to re-record your first release since you were not the bassist when the first album came out in 1995?
Rex: That’s what we plan on doing, putting out different packaging and combining this one and the original. [We were going to add] original demos that were made and make it into a limited-edition kind of deal.
buzz: Are you going to re-release your second album, Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow as well?
Rex: We are promoting the new record we have out [Down III: Over the Under]. At some point in time those will be re-released, but right now we’re trying to promote this thing; turn people onto one thing.
buzz: For Down III: Over The Under, would you say there’s a theme to the record? Did the title come from something in particular?
Rex: We all went through a lot of tragedy through the loss of loved ones in Hurricane Katrina and through the process, we made this record that was more positive, getting over the hump, and getting through it. It’s a much more focused record than what we’ve done before and it’s where we’re at right now.
buzz: Would you say you get a significantly different crowd reaction in different parts of the states? Is there a particular place you get the most enthusiastic fans?
Rex: No, I think because we have a really strong fan base, it’s a kind of ‘takes no prisoners’ deal. There’s not one part of the country — Down fans are pretty much all on the same page and they all go fucking nuts.
buzz: What’s your favorite part of playing a show then — the adrenaline of the stage? Or the crowd?
Rex: All of the above. Once you get out there and you play your song for people, it is a show, and that’s what it’s all about, baby!
buzz: When you go and record a record, do you usually do the lyrics first or do the instrumental aspect of the music first?
Rex: Lyrics always come last. We get the structure of a song down the way we want it and if we need different things and have different ideas, we’ll come in and put more stuff in, but definitely the music comes first.
buzz: Why does the music come first?
Rex: Most bands usually do it, but we ain’t most. That’s just the way we do it.
buzz: If there was just one thing you could let people know about Down, what would it be?
Rex: We’re just trying to put out the best music we possibly can. Why don’t you come out to the show and see it? You will understand completely. If you hadn’t seen us this year, you need to come out to the show. This band is on fire and if you don’t catch it, you’re losing out.
Check out Down Saturday, Jan. 26 at the Canopy Club in Urbana featuring members from legendary metal acts including Crowbar, Corrosion of Conformity, EyeHateGod and Pantera. The show starts at 9 p.m. and is $20 in advance.