Welcome to Lords of Metal, can you shortly introduce yourself?
Bobby Landgraf. Guitarist for Down and Honky.
You became instantly famous by joining Down, but how did it all started?
The fellas in Down would come and see my band Honky for years. We've all been friends and go to see each other’s bands every chance we get.
Cool! Can you tell us about your influences and who are your heroes of all time?
Gotta say: Al Di Meola, Randy Rhoads, Billy Gibbons, Dimebag Darrell, Tony Iommi and John Sykes.
Which bands are you currently listening to?
Believe it or not: Trouble and ZZ Top.
Are there specific musicians / bands you would like to work with in the future?
Well I think I just got lucky with Down. That gives me Philip Anselmo / Pepper Keenan / Jimmy Bower and Pat Bruders. Nice list right there huh?
Yeah, I think you are right in that hahaha. On all pics I see you are using Gibson guitars, is that correct and what other gear you are currently using?
All Gibsons, all the time! Got Lester Pauls and SG’s for Down and Lester Pauls and Explorers for Honky. My ultimate goal is to have a Randy Rhoads flavored Les Paul Custom. Been a Marshall guy my whole career until Down. Pepper and I use Orange Thunderverb 50’s and Orange vintage 30 cabinets. So killer to bust those heads wide open with our C Sharp tuning. They bark and sing.
Honky, how long does the band already exists, and who was the founder?
I'm actually not the original guitar player for Honky. Carson, Vester and J.D. Pinkus were the founders. I had a band Godzilla Motor Company that should play shows with Honky and when Carson quit, he asked me to take the gig which I gladly did. Pinkus and I been at it about eleven-twelve years now.
How would you describe the music of Honky, because in my opinion it is a mix between ZZ Top and Pantera. I'll take that answer. I don't hear Pantera in Honky. I think it's just my aggression that comes out. Honky is as straight up Southern Rock as it gets. Pinkus is from Atlanta and I'm from the South (side of Chicago). I moved to Austin Texas in 1983 so it has crept into my fingers. I am the biggest ZZ Top fan so I realize that part is in my fingers.
With Honky you already released three albums, but when can we expect a new album?
Oh yes. We are going into the studio in February to do our next record. It's going to be killer.
Cool, will check that one then. Also you are a great lead singer yourself, did you never had thoughts to do more with that?
Yeah Well, I guess you are talking about 'All For Nothing' on the Honky 421 record. Maybe after a few more Down and Honky records I'll record some of my more songwriter stuff.
We’ve met in W2 Den Bosch where you played together with Four Headed Dog, the project from Peter Pan Speedrock & Dr. No. How and when did you came in contact with these Dutch guys? Actually back in the day Pinkus and I had a house that was called the Honky Hilton. We would host everybody to stay at while they were on tour. SXSW is in Austin every year and we had everyone at one time to stay there. You could look around the house and see High on Fire / Nashville Pussy / Peter Pan Speedrock and 20 other bands would file through the house during the week. Good Times.
I think that must have been a great party! It must have been extremely difficult to keep it a secret that you were the new guitar player of Down? Did you have troubles with that?
Yes, at first. Kirk Windstein is one of my brothers and I wanted to do the changing of the guards with him as smooth and respectful as possible. He made it easy by giving me the love and the riffs he had to give me for the gig. I was not sure how it was going to go at first, but Kirk handed me the gig like a true brother would.
Nice! Can you tell us how it all started, did you already knew these guys and had you to do an audition?
It all started six-seven years ago as I was the guitar tech for Kirk / Rex Brown and Pepper Keenan. I moved up to stage manager soon after I started. They all knew me as a player and brought Honky out with Down twice on tour. I did this while I was the stage managing as well. I would not recommend anyone to do that, it resulted in some tough shows. I did it though and look where I am now. I will also say that I did expect that they would hold auditions for the guitar spot, but they did not. They trusted me and I brought it. They could have had anyone they wanted and the whole band chose me. That in itself is an honor.
I believe that. Even for a guy like you, is it still impressive to suddenly work with the great Phil Anselmo? It really is. I have to say that as we wrote the songs together in the Lair (Philips studio) Philip was constantly writing things down and directing traffic in the room with riffs flying all around. Once the music was written and recorded, it was really awesome to hear Philips lyrics and vocal performance bringing that whole other dimension to the songs. I will also tell you that he has one hell of an ear for guitar riffs and leads. He and Pepper helped me (for the most part) orchestrate my solos. It was an awesome learning experience to do a Down record. Now I am ready for anything we do as a band.
Did it take some time that you were feeling yourself one of the guys? Man, after touring with Down for six-seven years, I was already one of the guys. But to be in the studio on the first day of writing was a trip. They took my riffs and let me build the songs as if I was always in the band. Once again it was an awesome experience.
Good to hear! In the future will you continue playing in both Down and Honky or is that not possible?
Yes, I will continue to do both. Philip tours with the illegals and Jimmy tours with Eye Hate God. Pepper has so many musical skills he could do anything with and Pat as well. It's almost a prerequisite to have another band.
Hahaha. Did you had the opportunity to co-write on the new coming Down record?
Oh yes, and was honored to be a part of the writing. I got my hands dirty on every song. Amazing time for me. The fellas dig my style and let me fly.
The last EP went back to the roots from Down I, but what can we expect on this album?
It's a powerful record. Each song has a strong theme. Down (I believe) will always give one a sense of "old school" mixed with "nothing you have ever heard" so that is that. That is Down!
That sounds like Down right. Is it already clear what the title of the album will be?
I do not know the title yet. Each song is epic on its own.
Do you know already when we can expect Down for a concert in The Netherlands again?
Of course. Down is worldwide and everyone will get some wherever you live.
Thanks a lot for your time. I hope I gave you the opportunity to tell about yourself, Honky and Down what you had in mind. I’ll say goodbye for now, hopefully until the next time. Is there anything you would like to say to close the interview down?
Thank you for the opportunity to talk about my new role as Down guitar player.