PHILIP ANSELMO: PANTERA's 'A New Level' Was 'The Ultimate Chip-On-Your-Shoulder-Type Song'

July 9, 2015

Greg Prato of Songfacts recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current DOWN and SUPERJOINT singer Philip Anselmo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Songfacts: How different or similar is the songwriting process with PANTERA, DOWN, SUPERJOINT RITUAL and the ILLEGALS?

Philip: Each band is a little different. SUPERJOINT is really a collaboration of riffs between me and Jimmy Bower, and now recently, Kevin Bond, for sure. DOWN has always been a collaboration of riffs between me, Pepper [Keenan], and Jimmy, but as of late, Pat [Bruders] and Bobby [Landgraf], and also Kirk Windstein. I can't leave Kirk out. Jesus, he always wrote riffs. So we'd always bounce that shit off of each other. And with PANTERA, gosh, Vinnie Paul could come up with a drum pattern that would spawn a riff, and hence, spawn us organizing a song together, and segue into parts and putting the song together. Then once I felt that we had enough meat, I'd put bread on the sandwich, so to speak, by writing the lyrics. But really, with the ILLEGALS, it's more me straight-on, guitar in hand, directing everybody. It's more of a one-way street to a certain degree, but I'm always open for good innovation, or what I would call acceptable advice or a compromise. Good input. I try not to stay married to anything I might have come up with on my own, and once I get in there with the drummer and bass player or guitar player — whoever it may be at the time — somebody comes up with something, and I'm all ears. But it better fit the bill. I've always been a stickler like that. Any band I'm in, everyone has their own ideas, but God bless if I don't like them, I'm gonna tell you.

Songfacts: Was PANTERA's "This Love" autobiographical?

Philip: Not necessarily. It was just a message to "clingy women" at the time — young ladies. I was a very young man when I wrote that song, as well. I was young, and thought, "Let's not make more of this relationship than need be." It could have been autobiographical, however it could be about and for anybody, and they can make it fit their life, as well.

Songfacts: PANTERA's "A New Level"?

Philip: "A New Level" was the ultimate chip-on-your-shoulder-type song at the time for me. PANTERA were in our strongest bodies and our most youthful ferocity as a live act, and in the position at the time to where we damn well knew that we had to up our game even more physically live, and stay out and hit that road hard. With "Vulgar Display Of Power", we definitely wanted to make a statement musically that would coincide with this live show that we had — the energy that we were putting out there.

Read the entire interview at Songfacts.

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