April 25, 2010

Peter Atkinson of KNAC.COM recently conducted an interview with Philip Anselmo (DOWN, PANTERA, ARSON ANTHEM, SUPERJOINT RITUAL). A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

KNAC.COM: What is up with DOWN at the moment?

Anselmo: Well, Kirk [Windstein, guitar] and Jimmy [Bower, drums] are in Europe, Kirk with CROWBAR and Jimmy with EYEHATEGOD. Rex [Brown, bass] is jamming and everybody's kinda doing their own thing. But we are always in touch and I guess we're looking at the end of the year, getting together. Pepper [Keenan, guitar] said he had some riffs, which is always good. So maybe some time toward the end of the year, early next year, we'll start rolling. We've got some shows this summer in Europe. We're not totally stagnant.

KNAC.COM: How's Rex doing health-wise after his battle with pancreatitis? I know he's done some studio work with ARMS OF THE SUN, but is he ready to get back to work with DOWN?

Anselmo: Yeah, he's really battling with the surgery. Some of these surgeries were very complex [he had his gall bladder removed and polyps taken from his pancreas] but he's a resolute guy. We're in touch quite often during the week. He's doing better, he's got his good days and bad days, but he'll be fine. I think he's having problems putting on weight. He's always been a skinny cat. So we're playing it by ear, we'd like to have him come back and do the shows in Europe with us, but only if he's in fighting shape, if you know what I mean.

KNAC.COM: You've certainly had your medical travails over the years. How's your health holding up these days?

Anselmo: Ah, I'm all right, man. I'm not keeping my doctors and surgeons as busy as I was (laughs). I had my last surgery about a year ago this time, on my knee. Something, somewhere on me hurts every day, but when you've done as much damage to yourself as I have over the years, you have to expect that. I tweaked my back again when I was rehabbing from my knee surgery, which is a bitch. That gives me trouble from time to time, but I can manage. I know how to handle it a lot better than I used to, that's for damn sure. Older and wiser, you know.

KNAC.COM: SUPERJOINT RITUAL, I haven't heard about them in a long time, is that still a functioning entity?

Anselmo: It's not even a consideration, I don't think. SUPERJOINT had its time; we had a blast. Honestly, the first record, I love that first record, but I'm not doing anything with SUPERJOINT. I don't think anyone plans on doing anything anymore. It had its purpose, you know.

KNAC.COM: You mentioned [PANTERA's] "Cowboys From Hell" a bit back. It's now the 20th anniversary of that album, which just doesn't seem possible. It really does seem just like yesterday?

Anselmo: I know man, I know it does. And that was literally half my lifetime ago. Unbelievable.

KNAC.COM: If it weren't for that album, we probably wouldn't be talking right now. It certainly changed your life.

Anselmo: There was an awful lot leading up to "Cowboys From Hell", but, you know, for my first record back then when you were on a major label, it was a big deal because major labels were a big deal back in 1990. We had written that material from the end of '88 throughout '89 and I'll always say PANTERA, for me, our sound really didn't culminate to its fullest, I don't know about fullest, but really culminate 'till "Vulgar Display of Power". But "Cowboys From Hell" does have classic PANTERA sound: "Domination", "Primal Concrete Sledge", like that. Put it this way, I'll give you one little short quip about "Cowboys From Hell" and this will totally sum it up. The last song we wrote for that album came in the studio with one day left, maybe two days left, to do the drum tracks and that song was "Primal Concrete Sledge", which shows you the direction we were headed in mentally before that record even came out. But as a platform, as a new band, it definitely served notice. PANTERA was a live band, you had to see it and then go back and listen to it again. In hindsight, I love that record, there's things I'm not wild about on that record, but take all that away man and as a full thing, it's fantastic. Really, the fantastic part of it was having been a part of it and how young we were and full of life and just ready to roll, man. We were damn near in our strongest bodies. Damn near.

KNAC.COM: Then, like you said, two years later there was "Vulgar Display of Power" and the rest is history.

Anselmo: We did a lot of touring and a lot of bands took the chance and brought us on tour, without those bands, without that exposure, I don't know what really woulda happened, but it did happen and I just gotta thank all the bands, all the fans and everyone like that involved for the success. Without the fans, without the help along the way, we'd be nothing, I'd be nobody and, yeah, you're right, we wouldn't be having this conversation if it weren't for the fans. Bless 'em.

KNAC.COM: It's amazing how the legacy, the legend of PANTERA continues to grow. I realize Dime's death has something to do with that, but still…

Anselmo: We made our mark, we damn sure did. You can't dispute that. PANTERA will live on and be remembered because we were a band that goddamn meant something to people. To a lot of people, we were their band, man. And Dime, he was taken away in his prime. A lot of people probably feel that PANTERA was taken away from them before all had been said and done, too. And maybe it was, but now we'll never know. It doesn't matter if it's Kurt Cobain or Layne Staley or John Lennon or fuckin' Elvis, when someone that means so much to people dies before their time, like Dime did, they don't go away. Memories are a strong thing, man, and sometimes they make that bond grow stronger. No matter what's been said, or more to the point, what was written — because that's another story entirely, the way things got twisted around — I loved Dime, too, and I miss him. I miss him more as time goes on. I honestly do. So you can see what I'm saying.

KNAC.COM: For this autobiography you're going to be doing, have you decided just what kind of story it's going to tell, because your story could take any number of turns — rock and roll tell-all, cautionary tale or a chance to set the record straight, as it were?

Anselmo: I've thought things out, man, I don't really wanna give it away too much. I would say it's gonna be different to say the least. I'm not really one to praise all the elbow-rubbing and schmoozing and stuff like that that happened over the years, all the parties and stuff, people know that happened. And I'm also not gonna get into a pissing contest with my detractors, it's not worth it and it's not the story I'm trying to tell, that's boring. When you say a cautionary tale, sure, I can buy that. Because I've definitely been through some shit, serious shit, man, and seen and experienced all kinds of shit and lived to tell. But there's also funny stuff, sad stuff, angry stuff. You're gonna have to just wait and see and read about it like everyone else (laughs).

Read the entire interview from KNAC.COM.

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