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Going Down? COC’s Pepper Keenan & Pantera’s Rex Brown Represent

By Frankie Perry, Contributor
Monday, February 18, 2002 @ 3:31 PM

COC’s Pepper Keenan & Pantera’

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Back in 1994, Phil Anselmo (Pantera) was on break from his hectic tour schedule. He called his best buddy, Pepper Keenan (COC) with an idea. He thought it would be cool to record a balls-out rock record and pass it out to the kids. They wanted to see if the underground still existed. They gathered their fellow musicians up and recorded.

Once done, they passed out the CD at their concerts. No one had any idea, who was on this CD, but the kids took hold and bootlegs were running rampid. Some time went by and the guys got together in their home state to perform, for the first time in public. Someone videotaped it and then everyone knew who Down was. Elektra approached them with a one-time deal and released the finished product in 1995. From there, everything went up. Their self-titled debut moved more than 300,000 units. Then there was silence.

Seven years later, Down has re-surfaced with members Phil Anselmo (Pantera), Pepper Keenan (COC), Rex Brown (Pantera), Jimmy Bower (Eye Hate God) and Kirk Windstein (Crowbar). Expecting to release their new CD on March 26th, 2002, Down is back up and running. This time they recruited another brother of the New Orleans group, Rex Brown (Pantera).

KNAC.COM: What took you guys so long?
PEPPER: We’ve all had tough schedules, but now we all had the time off.

KNAC.COM: Did you guys think you would ever do another album?
PEPPER: We had always wanted too. Music like this needs to be heard, it’s back to the roots of rock. It’s sonically perfect. Kind of an “organic” sound to it.
REX: This isn’t pussy rock!

KNAC.COM: How did you guys come together? And how did Rex get into it this time?
"It was 26 days of drugs, nature and whacked out creativity!This isn’t pussy rock!"
PEPPER: We had all grown up together, but we all went in different directions. Phil called me up one day with an idea of a garage band. Being we were both curious if the music underground still existed. You know, where kids trade cool shit they get a hold of. We did a 3-song demo in Phil’s basement. We gave the demo away on our tours. It was funny, this kid came up to me and said, “Have you ever heard of a band called Down?” I laughed to myself. We saw kids with homemade Down t-shirts and tapes. It was this big deal, because no one knew who the players were. It was a big secret. Finally, some people figured out who Down was. We played locally and someone videotaped us the bootlegged it. Elektra caught wind and the rest is history. As for Rex joining us? Well, we are all from the same place, New Orleans, and of course Rex is in Pantera with Phil. Just made good fuckin sense. Plus, we all think alike. We’re a bunch of dirt bags!
REX: I think that I may have gotten five hours of sleep. Pepper is a madman!
PEPPER: We did the album like Zeppelin did in the old days of the castle. We got a barn in the swamps. Ordered the equipment we needed and a big-ass tractor-trailer came and delivered the stuff. We got black chalk paint and painted the whole interior with it. Of course we had help from many forms of mind-altering friends.

KNAC.COM: What did that do for you? The paint, that is.
PEPPER: Well, we went in with not much at all written. We wrote as we went. So we used the walls to write the music on. The entire room was covered with riffs pointing to others. Then we would organize it. We were constantly jamming.
REX: We did this whole thing in 26 days. That includes arranging and recording. And 3 cases of ramen noodles!
PEPPER: Yeah – We didn’t sleep. We became insanely creative. No one leaves, no women, porn maybe - only letting the music take control of what we were doing. It was 26 days of drugs, nature and whacked out creativity!
"We all think alike. We’re a bunch of dirt bags!"
REX: Pepper won’t let you sleep. I think the most I got was five hours.

KNAC.COM: Sounds like a total music frenzy! And you guys are alive, so I guess you survived. Is this better than going to the studio everyday and doing your parts or would you do it this way again?
PEPPER: We don’t care about being fancy. We wanted no one to bother us. We did have a producer and engineer there. Got to have that, and my good friend Jack (Daniels).
REX: I would do it this way again! This is better than going everyday to do tracking. We had free reign. You can’t ask for more than that!

KNAC.COM: Did you get what you wanted, once all was said and done?
PEPPER: We didn’t want to make a dinosaur rock album. This is the kind of stuff you can play from start to finish. There is a little intermission piece in the middle so you can roll your joint.
REX: We did 15 songs in the swamp. It’s the killer rock record. It’s bluesier, heavy, but still sounds new. It’s fuckin killer! We used old gear to get the sound.

KNAC.COM: Will Down be able to tour on this record? I know last time it was just a release.
REX: We will tour! But, as of yet, we have nothing booked. We are weighing the possibilities and we are getting good offers, but we have to make sure it is right.
PEPPER: Oh hell yeah, we will tour! Down – it ain’t what ya think!

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