The inherent problem with forming a supergroup from members in successful working bands is finding the time for any of the normal things a band is supposed to do.
Down is the poster child for that problem. Over the past 22 years, Down has released three studio albums, a live set and a recent EP (and a promise of more), with sporadic tours to support each. But more often than not the quintet has endured long lapses between active periods while its high profile members take care of their primary businesses.
Down coalesced in 1991 when longtime friends Phil Anselmo (of Pantera), Pepper Keenan (Corrosion of Conformity), guitarist Kirk Windstein and bassist Todd Strange (Crowbar) and Jimmy Bower (Eyehategod) decided to create a band around their love of Black Sabbath, Saint Vitus, Trouble and Witchfinder General.
The fivesome recorded a demo and circulated the tape anonymously, which built interest to a fever pitch. Down’s 1995 debut, NOLA, was a critical and commercial triumph. Strange was replaced by Pantera’s Rex Brown for 2002’s Bustle in Your Hedgerow, which was a hit despite unflattering reviews, followed in 2007 by the much-improved Over the Under.
In 2011, Brown left Down after years of health issues and was replaced by Crowbar’s Pat Bruders. Last fall the revived group released The Purple EP, their first new music in five years. And Down’s first full U.S. tour in four years commenced just as Anselmo prepares to release the first solo album of his 30-year career.If you’re a fan, you’d better see them now; there probably won’t be much downtime for Down again any time soon.
DOWN performs Wednesday, Jan. 30 at Bogart's in Corryville with guest Warbeast. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.