Crowbar is an American sludge metal band from New Orleans, Louisiana, characterized by their extremely slow, low-keyed, heavy and brooding songs that also contain fast hardcore punk passages. Crowbar is considered to be one of the most influential metal bands to come out of the New Orleans metal scene. Their slow, heavy, and brooding style of metal is known to be influential in the sludge metal, doom metal, and stoner metal genres.
The band dates back to 1988, when Kirk Windstein joined the premiere hardcore punk band Shell Shock in New Orleans. He met Jimmy Bower, who was their drummer, and both quickly became friends. The band collapsed when Mike Hatch, their guitarist, committed suicide in late 1988 (some Pantera fans believe that this was the inspiration for the song "Hollow" from their 1992 album Vulgar Display of Power). The band, replacing Hatch with Kevin Noonan, carried on as Aftershock, where Windstein and Bower began to play low-tuned hardcore punk mixed with doom metal. Under that name they released a demo in mid-1989, and then renamed themselves WREQIUEM, with Mike Savoie, their bassist, leaving the band (He went on to direct music videos for Crowbar, Down, and Pantera), and Todd Strange joined them. Then in 1990 they renamed themselves The Slugs, and released a demo in mid-1990, but the band collapsed. Kirk considered becoming the guitarist for Exhorder. But Kirk and Todd reformed the band, with Craig Nunenmacher as the drummer, who was later replaced by Tommy Buckley (Soilent Green), and Kevin Noonan again on guitar. The band renamed themselves Crowbar in mid-1991.
Crowbar's debut studio album, Obedience Thru Suffering, was released in 1991, but failed to achieve notoriety. By 1993's self-titled (Crowbar) album, personal friend Phil Anselmo (Pantera, Down and Superjoint Ritual) produced the record, which eventually led to national promotion on MTV's Headbanger's Ball. In addition, the videos for "All I Had (I Gave)" and "Existence is Punishment" were played on Beavis and Butt-head. Following this success the band went on to record music videos, embark on major tours with Pantera, and record more albums.
Their stage antics, immortalized in the Pantera "Home Video 3" and Crowbar's "Like Broken Glass" home video, became infamous. The band continued recording and touring. In 1994, the Pantera video for the song 'I'm Broken' showed Philip Anselmo wearing a Crowbar / Eyehategod t-shirt. Original drummer Craig Nunenmacher left the band in 1996 and was replaced by Jimmy Bower from Down and Eyehategod, and for their 1996 release Anselmo sang back up on a few tracks on "Broken Glass."
In 2000, after recording and releasing Equilibrium with Sid Montz on drums, original drummer Craig Nunenmacher rejoined the band, for the "Penchant For Violence Tour" with "the Brotherhood of Brewtality" Black Label Society and Sixty Watt Shaman. Half way through the tour, Nunenmacher replaced BLS's drummer Phil Ondich and pulled double duty for the rest of the tour, eventually joining BLS permanently.
The band continues to perform, borrowing members from New Orleans metal bands like Goatwhore and Acid Bath. In their recent 2005 release, Lifesblood for the Downtrodden, Pantera bassist Rex Brown lent his bass skills and keyboard playing. Down's producer, Warren Riker, assisted in production.
Also in 2005, "Existence" appeared on the Beavis and Butt-Head: The Mike Judge Collection No. 3 DVD.
On April 21, 2008, the albums Crowbar, Time Heals Nothing, and the Live+1 EP were reissued in Europe with bonus and multimedia tracks.
The band is also known for covering other band's material and putting a heavy spin on it. Crowbar covers Gary Wright's "Dream Weaver" on their Equilibrium album, Iron Maiden's "Remember Tomorrow" on Odd Fellows Rest, and Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter" on Crowbar.
On May 24, 2009 it was announced that Phil Anselmo's Housecore Records would be re-releasing Crowbar's back catalog.
In December 2009, Crowbar toured with Hatebreed, The Acacia Strain, The Casualties, and Thy Will Be Done as part of the Stillborn Fest.
As of September 2010, Crowbar is currently under contract with E1 Music in North America, and Century Media in Europe, and released their ninth studio album, Sever the Wicked Hand, on February 8, 2011. This date is the 6th anniversary of the release of their previous album, Lifesblood for the Downtrodden. The band embarked on a six date UK tour in January 2011.
Bassist Pat Bruders left Crowbar in September 2013. Bruders explained he wanted to focus on touring with Down. He tells Louder Than Hell, "It is better for all parties in Crowbar and in Down that I leave Crowbar. With Down's brutal tour schedule and overseas shows. It is better if I focus 100 percent of my time to Down. There are no hard feelings with my bandmates of Crowbar." Bruders was replaced by Jeff Golden. Golden formerly played with Six Feet Under, Thy Will Be Done and Goatwhore.
Crowbar entered the studio in late 2013 to begin recording "Symmetry in Black", which was released in North America on May 27, 2014 via E1 Music.
In May 2016, Jeff Golden announced on his Facebook page that he had been fired from the band. Golden later joined Portland-based metal band, Lord Dying. Shortly after Golden's departure, Windstein announced that founding bassist Todd Strange would return to the band.