Metal!

Crowbar Is Ready for Life on the Road

Crowbar plays the Oriental Theater on Sunday, March 6.
Courtesy of Crowbar
Crowbar plays the Oriental Theater on Sunday, March 6.
Kirk Windstein, the founding frontman and guitarist of seminal New Orleans metal band Crowbar who has “riff lord” tattooed across his knuckles, is ready to hit the road again. After a two-year touring hiatus because of the pandemic, Westword caught up with Windstein before the band left for its current run on Sepultura’s Quadra North American Tour, with Sacred Reich and Art of Shock also on the bill. The bands play the Oriental Theater on Sunday, March 6, and if you're a metal fan, you won't want to miss the show.

“We’re looking to do it big-time,” Windstein says, adding that Crowbar has toured with Sepultura and Sacred Reich in the past and it’s always a good time. “This is a long one, so for us, we’re super pumped. … It’s cool to just get out there and play for as many people as you can. All you can do is try your best, kick ass every night and give the fans everything you've got. That’s it.”

The band’s latest album, Zero and Below, drops on Friday, March 4, and Windstein says he and his bandmates will be playing at least two tracks from the new record — singles “Bleeding From Every Hole” and “Chemical Godz” — on the upcoming tour. Although the album was finished in February 2020, the pandemic delayed its release. But Windstein says it was “well worth the wait."

“It’s really a killer record. There’s a lot of diversity,” he adds, while discussing the band’s plans for a headlining tour later this year. “The hype on the new record has been fantastic. Everybody’s been loving it.”

Zero and Below is an unmistakable Crowbar album. The band's sound is as unique as the French Quarter, with elements of doom, hardcore punk and groove. Down-tuned and dirty, Crowbar helped create the “sludge” subgenre, though Windstein admits he never really cared for that title. He just wants people to listen to Crowbar — especially the new album — and enjoy the band for its distinctive brand of heaviness.

“I always just call [it] 'Crowbar music.' I really don’t like the term ‘sludge’ and all that stuff. I would say number one is that I hope [our music is] original-sounding. I don’t think we sound like anyone else, which was one of our biggest goals in the beginning when we formed the band. No matter what, we want to sound like us. We don’t want to be mistaken for another band. We want to be Crowbar,” he says. “[The record] is heavy, but it’s also got some melody. It’s got some doom, it’s got some upbeat aggressive stuff — it’s a good mixture of everything that Crowbar is.”

After being in several bands, including fronting Crowbar for over thirty years, Windstein has become an elder statesman of the New Orleans metal scene, which has produced groups like Eyehategod, Exhorder, Acid Bath and supergroup Down — a crushing collective of notable Crescent City musicians, including Windstein on guitar. It’s a certain “attitude or feel,” he explains, that makes the NOLA sound recognizable, even though all of those bands play a blend of several genres.

“Everybody just started out at the same time, because we were going to shows and forming bands at the same time. I don’t think we really sound like each other, but then again, there’s some common element that nobody seems to be able to put a finger on, which is the New Orleans sound. But none of the bands sound alike to me. I think that’s a really good thing,” he says.

Windstein’s excitement to get back to doing what he loves is evident. He says that he and his wife had just had a conversation about how he had booked so many concerts throughout the year, including a string of Down shows in May.

"I said, 'Well, babe, you know what, we’re definitely not burned out from touring. We’ve sat around for two years,'" he recalls, adding that he was burned out on the uncertainty of pandemic life, if anything. “Normally, I probably wouldn’t take on so much at one time. Because I haven’t done it in so long, I’m like, fuck it, let’s make it happen.”

Windstein is confident that Crowbar will be playing some unforgettable shows after two dormant years: “We’re fucking ready, for sure.”

Crowbar plays the Oriental Theater, 4335 West 44th Avenue, at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 6. Tickets are $25. Zero and Below can be streamed on all major platforms starting Friday, March 4.