Jay Nanda of the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner conducted an interview with Philip Anselmo (DOWN, PANTERA, ARSON ANTHEM, SUPERJOINT RITUAL) prior to DOWN‘s September 1, 2011 concert at Backstage Live in San Antonio, Texas. You can now watch the 37-minute chat in three parts below. A couple of excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On the progress of the songwriting sessions for DOWN‘s next release:
Anselmo: “We have between six and eight new songs in the can. I think there’s probably some fine-tuning that needs to happen. I think that I need to get on the fucking ball when it comes to writing some lyrics. Other than that, the song structures are there, and I know that there’s commitment within the band to start laying out the basics — going to the studio, laying the drums out and building the songs… We would love to have this new stuff out, I figure, no later than the very, very beginning of next year. If we could squeeze the time in — but we’re not gonna have time, because the touring… We go from here across the West Coast of America and in November we go to South America. So the window of time for actually recording right there is pretty limited. So, either way, early next year we’ll probably start laying the drum tracks.”
On how difficult it was for DOWN to part ways with bassist Rex Brown, with whom Anselmo previously played during the PANTERA years:
Anselmo: “It’s always difficult, man, but there comes a time… We’re not in our 20s anymore, we’re not young kids. Rex has to address a lot of things in his personal life, and it was a mutual thing, the split, because… You know, playing in a band and all that type of stuff, is a great portion of your life; it is a great importance in your life. Rex has two beautiful kids and he has obligations to his children and to his health, to himself, to his family, and that is always bigger than just being in the band. So, with blessing and with love… Like I said, the split was absolutely, 100 percent two-sided. Rex and I still talk today, we’re still brothers. And when you mention [Rex‘s replacement in DOWN] Pat [Bruders], Pat and I go back a long time, too. ‘Cause, you know, we’re both from New Orleans, and Pat was always around and playing in various bands. And obviously, he’s been in CROWBAR a long time. So, you know, if he couldn’t do the job, he wouldn’t be here, and I think, really, in Pat‘s case, playing in DOWN has made him a better bass player, and he has stepped up big time. As a matter of fact, he’s fucking solid as a rock and he’s doing fucking great. So all sides of the fence are pretty covered there.”
On his upcoming autobiography:
Anselmo: “I can’t say how far along I am because it seems like every passing day, it seems like there’s another chapter in life. So a lot has happened since [autobiography co-writer] Corey [Mitchell] and I’s original gameplan. I’m gonna be very truthful, I’m gonna be diplomatic, because I’ve learned to be diplomatic. I realize my eyes aren’t the only set of eyes out there. I’m gonna see things my way, I’m gonna tell the story my way, but when you have… I guess what I wanna say is within different chapters of your life, there are ups and downs, and there were times when I for fucking damn sure was not seeing 20/20. So I can always look in hindsight and kind of think about how I affected other people around me at the same time. So, once again, it’s a reflective book. It is gonna be an interesting read; there’s some very funny fucking shit in there. But as far as the timeline goes, I don’t wanna put any pressure on myself on this. I’m gonna wait for that to be a heads-down project, and then the pressure will come. After all this touring and Housecore [Anselmo‘s record label] work, which are part of a new chapter… Anyway, the book will be done when the fucking book is done, goddamnit!”
On whether he gets nostalgic when he thinks about PANTERA:
Anselmo: “No. Sometimes I’m sure nostalgia rears its head. But I’ve said it in so many interviews, and I really can’t exclude this one… I think about PANTERA more than I could ever put into words. It’s a daily thing. A lot of the time it’s hilarious stuff, funny memories, great memories, and then, of course, you do have your regrets. And then, of course, you do have your fantasy-wish, dream-world scenarios where [late PANTERA guitarist] Dimebag is still alive and there was this window opportunity to patch things up [between us] — which I do believe would have happened. And you look and think, ‘Golly, I would love to be with that group of guys again and touring and doing what we did back in the day.’ But that’s just wishful thinking. I’m doing different things now, and I’ve gotta put one foot in front of the other. If I stay too long in the past, it feels unhealthy, and I think it probably is. So ‘nostalgia,’ to me, is a bit of a shallow word for how I really feel about it. It’s a chunk of life that comes up in one way, shape or form every fucking day of my life.”
On his current relationship with Dimebag‘s longtime girlfriend Rita Haney and how their recently opened lines of communication have caused Dimebag‘s brother, former PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, to get a little bit upset with her:
Anselmo: “I’m fine with Rita. Me and Rita have always been cool. Sure, there was a fallout. But the way I look at it is, if it really is affecting someone to where they have to come out and say hateful things about me, untrue things about me, paint bullshit mystique about me, then, in their heart of hearts, they do care about me — that’s the point. Vinnie Paul‘s closed-door policy when it comes to me, that’s something he’s gonna have to ride around on his shoulders the rest of his fucking life. I know this: My door is always open, and always has been open — always has been fucking open. And it is a little frustrating when you have a loose end and you’re trying to tighten everything up. But you can’t make everybody fucking happy all of the time — you can’t. So, Vinnie Paul, he has no effect on my life at all — no effect at all. Good job, I’ll say to Vince — you’ve hurt me. And you keep on hurting me. Great job! Where is it getting you? That’s my question to him. My door has always been wide open, and I’ll leave it at that, because I think everybody else knows the rest. It’s fucking pretty A-B-C simple. He doesn’t want to… There is a fear in him of me. That motherfucker is so fucking terrified of me. But somewhere within that terror, somewhere within this invented — and I do say ‘invented’ — scapegoat fucking slapping redneck hatred of his, there is a love bigger than any of that fucking shit, and that’s why he’s acting the way he’s acting. So that’s that.”
Haney recently called on Vinnie and Philip to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, who was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.
Vinnie and Anselmo have not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag‘s death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag‘s killer.
Now Haney has spoken out about the long-running feud, saying, “Everybody still has resentment towards each other about things in the past. It’s easy to direct your anger at the wrong people. Philip didn’t murder Darrell and [he] would never have wanted that.”
Haney added, “Yeah, I resent Philip for becoming a jackass and a drug addict, and I’m a little sketchy about trusting him all the way yet. But some of the things he’s emailed and some of the thing he’s said — that’s the Philip I know, the ‘stronger than all.’ There’s always room in my heart for him — I love him.”
Haney admitted that Vinnie is not happy that she’s been in touch with Anselmo, saying, “I just hope some day he sees the light that I know Darrell is about, which is forgiving. I know it’ll come in time — you’ve got to let go to continue on.”