Back in January, WYKKED WYTCH vocalist Ipek conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current DOWN vocalist Philip Anselmo. The chat, which aired on the January 10 and January 17 editions of “Wytching Hour” show on Metal Messiah Radio, can be streamed in the YouTube clips below.
On the negative feedback he received from the PANTERA fans and the media following the murder of PANTERA guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott:
Anselmo: “I’ve spoken to the police officers who were there and handled the situation when Dimebag was murdered. And they told me clearly, that after an investigation and going back to the murderer’s apartment and digging through his notes that he had taken and threats and death threats that he had written down that any one of us [former members of PANTERA] were targets. I had a police officer tell me that on that particular night, had SUPERJOINT [RITUAL] been playing, or DOWN, or any of my other bands at the time, that I most certainly would have been the target. Not that it made me feel any better — it did not, it did not make me feel better at all. It did clarify in my mind that all of the negative vibe that I had received either from, I guess, media but also, in today’s world, where people can leave comments and this and that, I found it very, very insulting and also interesting that people could chime in on a subject that they knew nothing about, really. All they knew is what the media fed them. And you know the media — they’re dying to, I guess, in the past sell tangible magazines or get hits on their web site. So anything to stir the pot was… they most certainly did that.
“But honestly, this is all old news. I think that my actions over the past seven, eight years. Now it’s almost a decade coming up pretty soon since negativity has really controlled my life, or I allowed it to control my life. I do not let it control my life at all anymore. I am in control. And life is going to dish out negativity no matter what. At the time, I was doing everything possible to let negativity into my life. And that’s a tough lesson to learn — that you really are in control of certain aspects of your life. But life, like I said before, is going to dish out controversy, it’s gonna dish out pain, it’s gonna dish out sadness. And it’s up to all of us to handle it, I guess, the best way that we can and the most healthy way that we can. And, really, that’s where my head is at now. And sure, absolutely, I still think of what could have been. I think of the tremendous loss. I feel sadness more than I can even articulate right here. But if I were to allow that to control me, it would be absolutely unhealthy. If I were to dwell too much in the past, I know now very well that that is just an unhealthy practice — very unhealthy practice.
“Life changes you as you grow older; it changes your perception on many things. Some people would call that maturing. I’m not so sure I’m more mature, so to speak. And I’m kind of joking there. Honestly, life is what you make it, and right now I’m making it positive.”
On whether he, if he had been in Randy Blythe‘s shoes, would have gone back to the Czech Republic to stand trial on manslaughter charges and face the possibility of conviction and a long-term jail sentence:
Anselmo: “That’s interesting. I wasn’t sure where the question was going to go. But that’s an interesting question: would I face the trial? Believe me, I would have lawyered up and done everything possible in this country — America — to avoid having to go back to the Czech Republic. Because, honestly, I think it’s a bogus charge. I’ve seen the footage [of the concert in question] and I’ve done what Randy has done [on stage] a million times. And I think that, from the footage that I saw, there was a big, giant security guard pushing [a fan off the stage] in the same moment. Why don’t they go after the security guard as well?
“I think it’s a very unfortunate situation and by all right, when you’re a young man and you go to a heavy metal show with the intent of being active in the mosh pit and also stage diving over and over and over again, and on top of that being drunk, from what I hear… Or even… I don’t care if somebody’s bone sober, if you’re going to be active and you’re going to jump off a six-foot stage, you are always, always… honestly, responsible for yourself. So, to me, I think the ruling on this — and I’m no judge, but I can judge from afar as another human being — that this is an accidental death and it’s no one’s fault, especially Randy. And I just think that the powers that be there have no fucking idea what entails a heavy metal concert, that they have no fucking idea what entails the rules and the unwritten laws of the pit and stage diving and anything like that. Because you and I both know there are unwritten laws. We grew up in a time when the pit was a counterclockwise dance, so to speak, and if someone were to fall, you were to pick them up directly off the floor, and if someone were to stage dive, you were to catch them as they fall. Now, believe me, I’ve done this. I’ve been that guy in the pit — not even just my shows. I’ve seen SLAYER back in the ’80s where I lost a pair of shoes in the pit, it was so freaking violent. But did I stage dive? Fucking yes, I did. Did I continue to skank in the pit? Yes, I did. It’s your own choice. And what’s sad about this is we’re living in a world where no one is fucking accountable for their own actions anymore; you can put blame anywhere else except yourself.
“I think Randy Blythe is innocent of murder charges, of manslaughter charges, I think he’s innocent of anything like that.
“Once again, I’ll go on record and say that this is an accidental death. And the fact that Randy‘s been indicted is an incredibly unfortunate situation. And I really, really, in my heart, I’m sending out good vibes to him, because I hope that this goes away, man, in his life, because I know that things like this…
“Believe me, I’ve been involved in over a dozen of lawsuits throughout my life. And I know that’s not quite the same… Some of my lawsuits, they were for assault with a deadly weapon and stuff like that, and yes, I was facing jail time. But this is different — someone’s dead, they’re trying to put him in jail for murder. And I just think that this is way too far-fetched and absolutely unfortunate.
“[If Randy decided to not stand trial and was ultimately unable to tour Europe after being found guilty of manslaughter] You take the European touring these days — and especially these days — and that wipes out a lot of your income as a person that your job is to make music. And if they take away that part of his job, that’s the entire band — that’s the entire band that has families to feed, children to feed. And I think it’s unfair. It’s scary, really.
“In Europe, things are much more relaxed as far as confrontation goes or lawsuits or anything like that. If you get into a fistfight, it’s over. After you fucking scrap, it’s over, you can shake hands and give the guy a t-shirt and say, ‘No hard feelings for the bloody nose.’
“I brought it up before, but every person has free will. If people say, ‘Oh, he was talked into it,’ or, ‘Somebody was coerced into doing something against their will,’ of course, that exists, but still the end result lies on the single person’s action.
“There’s a man named Charles Manson that is sitting in jail because, apparently, he coerced people to murder. Did Charles Manson commit those murders? No, he did not.
“Somehow, as far as justice goes, and I use that word very loosely, laws and lawmakers and supposed, I guess, leaders of communities, they will jump to any conclusion that they think will make them look better in their constituents’ eyes, but in all reality, the fact that every person has free will, somehow that fact — that fucking absolute 100 percent true fact — goes out the fucking window, and that’s a sad thing. Nobody’s accountable for anything anymore. It’s always someone else’s fault. And it’s not fucking true.”