ROCKET Interviews Philip H. Anselmo
June 26, 2015
Philip H. Anselmo’s career as a heavy metal vocalist is simply unmatched. For nearly three decades now, “The Kid” has delivered some of the genre’s most electrifying music. Whether it be PANTERA, DOWN, SUPERJOINT RITUAL or his solo project PHILIP H. ANSELMO AND THE ILLEGALS, one thing fans can always count on is getting their money’s worth from a man who will not let the passion he has for creating powerful songs die.
In 2015, Anselmo will throwdown a third installment of Housecore Horrorfest and play more gigs with a reunited SUPERJOINT. Let’s not forget Housecore Records, home to slamming underground acts like WARBEAST, KING PARROT and CHILD BITE. Anselmo’s label continues to push the envelope in terms of bringing the heaviest sounding bands to the forefront. Getting ready to turn 47 years old on June 30th, the legendary singer shows no signs of slowing down.
Philip H. Anselmo is still full of true grit and “Far Beyond Driven” determination, just as he was when first starting out in the biz. This is simply unheard of from someone that has already climbed to the top of the mountain and sold millions of albums like “The Kid” undoubtedly has.
THE METAL DEN’s Randy “Rocket” Cody has conducted a phone interview with vocalist Philip H. Anselmo for his loyal Den Headz around the globe.
(Phone rings three times before “The Kid” picks up my call…)
ROCKET: Hello, Philip?
ROCKET: It’s Rocket with The Metal Den. How are you doing?
PHILIP: What’s going on, brother?
ROCKET: Let’s discuss the Superjoint reunion. I was a big fan of both Superjoint Ritual albums. I saw y’all multiple times in Los Angeles around 2003. How did this reunion come about?
(Photo Credit: Joseph P Dorignac IV)
PHILIP: Well, man I’ll tell you this. When we were getting ready to do the Housecore Horror Festival, Part II, last year everybody was like the first one you played with Down… so it’s gotta be special, it’s gotta be special… and they were like you know what would be great is if you got Superjoint together and I guess that was something I had not thought about in a long time, because I had moved forward and I was thinking about other things. (Pauses) Actually The Illegals played the first year… and DOWN… Jesus, I double whammy’d it the first year! And so I was just like let’s please just do one band this time… and so since I did both The Illegals and Down the first year you know what else would I do? I mean, I have my pick of a few bands we could have done. But I gotta give credit where credit is due. Aside from my manager and partner in life, the co-founder of the Horror Fest, along with myself, Corey Mitchell, rest in peace. He was a major cog in the machine of trying to get my ass to do Superjoint. And believe me, I fought him and fought him to the bitter end. And then I went okay let me see where everyones heads are at. So I asked Jimmy and Kevin and they were all into it. We already knew we were gonna move on from drummers. We always knew Hank III was busy doing what Hank does best. That’s Hank. He’s fought long and hard to establish himself the way he has. My guys from The Illegals, bass player Steve Taylor and Blue, “Little Blue”, from Warbeast, who is a monster of a drummer in his own right… joined up with the band. They joined up with me, Jimmy and Kevin. And it was like we didn’t skip a beat. Actually it’s better now, because our heads are fucking clear! (Laughs)
ROCKET: When can fans expect new music from Superjoint?
PHILIP: Probably sometime next year. I also gotta embellish that it’s creative. And the fact that we are writing new stuff means that the wheels are chrurning, man. And that’s always a plus for me. You know? I’m a free agent. Yes, I’m still gonna be in Down. Absolutely. Is Down gonna do another EP. Yes. We are gonna do another EP. If Superjoint does another record, you know, will we tour that record? Damn right we will tour that motherfucking record. I’m a lifer, man. Count me in for a lot of shit! New Down, Superjoint, Illegals…
ROCKET: Your label Housecore Records has been busy. I love the new King Parrot album! It’s heavy!
PHILIP: I’m glad. Holy shit, you seen em live?
ROCKET: No, not yet.
PHILIP: They are a powerhouse. And that’s why this tour is awesome as well. Child Bite is fucking great, they are great live! Incredible musicians. And then you got King Parrot, who are absolutely true to their word and they rip your head off. The new record… I am very proud of it. They did a great job and we worked very well together. And Superjoint… so it’s all compatible. Nobody has this puffed up image. It’s one of those situations where you can leave the corpse paint at home and you can just show up in a T-shirt and some shorts and fucking go for it. Let the music do the fucking talking!
ROCKET: I see you will be putting on the third annual horror-themed film and metal festival that will happen in San Antonio, Texas this year at the Aztec Theater on November 13th -15th. What can you tell us about this year’s event?
PHILIP: Well you know there are always secrets that I can’t tell. But I will say this. By the time that lineup of bands in announced it is going to be one of the strongest bills that we’ve ever had. Just now the first batch of submissions for film are coming in so I always love that. The lesser known Directors of the Horror genre that I love so much. So we are working on special guests right now, and that’s looking killer. We have a good theme in mind. Then once that all comes together you guys out there in the media world will be the second ones to know, because I gotta find out for sure first. But it’s gonna be a fuckin blast, man.
ROCKET: Now I understand Metal Alllegiance is working on an album that you will be part of as well. How did that all come about?
PHILIP: What happened, man. Actually, that shit’s a wrap. I got Alex Skolnick from Testament reached out to me a few months back and said “Hey, man… we wrote a song with you in mind. Would you like to do it?” So I listened to it and I said this is easy work. I said fuck yeah I can do this. Nothing to it. I took one day to write the lyrics and half a day to sing the motherfucker. No skin off my back. Easy to do, and I think it turned out pretty good. But I’ll leave that up to you crazy critics! You know they are dudes I grew up with… doing our thing in the biz. I have a lot of respect for them, so you know it is what it is. That’s another one to add the old repertoire.. the ever growing Anselmo library.
ROCKET: What is this I heard about you doing a secret death metal project?
PHILIP: Well it must not be a secret anymore! (Laughs) But my thing is this I didn’t specify which one it is, because I got a couple if not a few in the mix that… uh… are very very intriguing, so to speak. They are coming from all over the world. It’s good for a cat like me. I want to give back to the genre of music that has been so kind to me. And to just be a part of it all today still, man, it feels good.
ROCKET: Who are your favorite death metal bands? Are you more into old school or technical?
PHILIP: I’ve been screaming the praises of PORTAL forever. They would definitely fall into the category of technical. But then again, I like SUFFOCATION, though I don’t consider them technical. I adore the Human Waste EP & Effigy of the Forgotten. And I absolutely adore older and earlier MORBID ANGEL. And then there’s bands like MORTICIAN. You know, I like what I like.
ROCKET: Last year you did the hilarious Metal Grasshopper web series with comedian Dave Hill posted on YouTube. Do y’all plan on doing more of that or was it just a one-off deal?
PHILIP: That was a lot of fun for everybody and anything is possible in the near future. I think Dave would second this. I’ll be the first to say it. If I get a chance to work with Dave Hill in any capacity again I think we will both jump at it.
ROCKET: Okay, now the only political question I will ask you is this one. There’s controversy going on right now…
PHILIP: (Interrupts) I already know what you’re going to ask…
ROCKET: Do you? Did you want to skip it?
PHILIP: I could skip it but I will say this. Right now in my life as a grown up man and a soon to be 47 year old in 5 days… that any type of propagating hate toward any race or any group of people is not my bag at all.
ROCKET: We’re talking about the Confederate flag, right? Alabama Gov. Bentley just removed all Confederate flags from their Capitol grounds. Can you share your feelings on this matter?
PHILIP: You know I didn’t invent the fucking flag. I was born in 1968. So I do see a lot of sides to this. I see where people can say, you know, when does it end? You know when is it good enough? When are we as a people ever going to be politically correct? The answer to that is really never. Because the world is made up of people with a lot of different ideas… telling us how to live and what we should do or shouldn’t do, you know? Or think or not think, you know.. that’s pretty extreme… it’s like you’re never going to make everybody happy.
ROCKET: Alright, back to music. Before I let you off the phone today, I wanted to ask you a few quick questions about PANTERA. Mayhem fest has gone on the record recently to state that all the surviving PANTERA members have been “approached” to do a PANTERA reunion concert in tribute to Dimebag. Is this true?
PHILIP: Well, if it is true then they are not the only ones. We been approached a bunch of times. But the truth is the wind only blows one way one time. You know the truth of the whole matter is I have moved on. And I move forward. And I think Vinnie Paul has done the same thing. And I think Rex has moved in his own direction. We could talk all in circles all day but the truth of the matter is that if you don’t have the willingness of the remaining living members, then it’s not there. We had plenty of offers. But Vince is doing what he wants to do and all we can do is respect that.
ROCKET: To end it all here, Philip, all I would like to say is that I created THE METAL DEN site 10 years ago after Dimebag was murdered on the stage, in honor of what he stood for as a heavy metal musician and a person. My wife Hope grew up in Fort Worth, TX and was sneaking into Pantera gigs at 14 in the 80’s at spots like Joe’s Garage & Savvy’s, and like so many others including myself, there is nothing more she would love to see than the three of you cats stand together for one more jam on the stage to truly put the Pantera legacy and these incredible songs y’all wrote together to bed the right way.
PHILIP: You are part of a large contingency that feels that way and I respect the fuck out of that. And I’ll tell you what, I would do it in a fucking heartbeat. If everybody was on board, I would do it in a fucking hearbeat. Because I think with the added truth that.. it would be in honor of our fallen brother Dimebag… that would motivate me to do it absolutely a hundred percent for no other reason, other than you and the contingency of people… who want to see it. Or the whole generation or two that missed out on it. I get all of that. I get all sides of it. So count me in jack! Believe me, if the phone call came tomorrow I’d be the first one doing pushups!
ROCKET: (Laughs) Thanks very much for rocking this interview out with me! It’s always an HONOR!! Any last words for your fans?
PHILIP: Nothing but love. Nothing but love. Time is short. Send my love to your old lady. Y’all be good. And let’s keep our fingers crossed!