Former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo Brings his Illegals to SA
Published: January 22, 2014
Phil Anselmo has survived it all—Pantera’s success and tragedy, the bitter ending of Superjoint Ritual, drug abuse and back and knee surgery. Now, he’s a practical man.
“I just felt inspired,” he told the Current from his home in New Orleans, explaining why he decided to embark on his first-ever solo tour behind 2013’s Walk Through Exits Only, the album he released as Phillip H. Anselmo & The Illegals. “If I feel inspired, I’m going to act on it. So I felt inspired, I did a record, and now we play shows. Nothing too scientific there.”
Neither pure death or black metal, Walk Through Exits Only is Anselmo’s straightforward attempt to disassociate himself from the average metal band out there.
“I sing about real things that happen to me and I carry no fucking invisible ideology around on my shoulders at all,” he said. “I see a million bands copying black metal over and over, and even some death bands do the same thing to some degree, so I wanted to do something different. I didn’t want to record speed for the sake of speed or double-kick for the sake of fucking double-kick.”
One of the things he sings about is the media, as exemplified by opening track “Music Media is My Whore.” Or is it?
“Look, in this album I was going very absurd with a lot of my lyrical content and titles,” he said. “The absurd thing about it is that, if you look at the lyrics, it’s nothing about the media. It was just something to grab attention. I have a great relationship with a lot of the press, but some are only interested in grabbing a juicy headline and write about fictional things or things that are controversial. So that’s my little kick back to the press, so to speak. It’s all a joke, really…” When I move on to the next question, I can hear him say, “…but not really.”
On Monday at Backstage Live, Anselmo and his Illegals (Superjoint Ritual’s Marzi Montazeri on guitar, 16 Horsepower’s Steve Taylor on bass and Warbeast’s Joey “Blue” González on drums) we’ll see Anselmo in apparently his best shape in years. During the interview, his mind is sharp and his body, he says, is ready to roll.
“I’ve been through a lot,” said Anselmo, who underwent back surgery in 2005 and knee surgery in 2009, and who, in 1996, was clinically dead for “four to five minutes,” after overdosing on heroin following a Dallas concert. “But physically, besides the obvious pains and aches of getting older, I’m fine and good to go,” said the 45-year-old.
Drugs are not a problem this time around either.
“It’s been 11 years [and] I haven’t used any hard drugs at all,” he said. “Honestly, the hardest thing I use these days is probably beer. Fucking beer is enough, man. I probably can’t finish a six-pack without having a fucking hangover.”
Despite his past physical and addiction problems, nothing was harder to overcome than the death of former Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, who was killed onstage by an imbecile named Nathan Gale during a Columbus, Ohio, Damageplan concert (Abbott’s band). Gale was killed by police at the scene.
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