PHILIP ANSELMO Speaks Out On The Future Of PANTERA, DOWN And Collaboration With TONY IOMMI

May 27, 2003

PANTERA frontman Philip Anselmo stopped by the studios of Sirius Radio in New York City on Tuesday, May 20 and spoke to "Hard Attack" host Don Kaye about the current status of all of his musical projects, including PANTERA, DOWN, SUPERJOINT RITUAL and his much-rumored collaboration with BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi.

The following are some of the highlights of that interview (as provided exclusively to BLABBERMOUTH.NET):

On the decision to put PANTERA on hold:

Philip Anselmo: "I think it's not just me [that wanted to take a break from PANTERA], I think it's a mutual thing [between all the members of the group]. And more or less, I believe that right now, in our careers, each and every one of us, [we] feel… especially… this is where I'm coming from. The last record that we did ['Reinventing The Steel'] was everything that I wanted the PANTERA record to be, the tour [in support of the album] turned out beautiful, and we ended up with MORBID ANGEL and SLAYER, and to me, it's like, how can you beat that?! I was thinking, you know, [if we were to put] out a new record, who the hell am I gonna go on tour with?! More or less, I took a hiatus, and I paid way more attention… Last year was a bit of a screw-up with DOWN and SUPERJOINT coming out at the same, and people were confused, and this and that, and this and that. I wanted to put all of that on the side and concentrate on one band, as I should, and that band is SUPERJOINT RITUAL right now. It feels extremely important to do this band, and that's what I'm doing right now — no other band." (Download audio clip of Anselmo's response here)

On DOWN guitarist Pepper Keenan's audition for the bassist slot in METALLICA and DOWN's current status:

Philip Anselmo: "Whatever Pepper Keenan does is whatever Pepper Keenan does. I think at the end of the DOWN tours, he got the vibe that I most definitely needed to take a break from… I was sick of being in full combat with a record label that I've delivered gold, platinum, platinum, platinum, gold, Number One record, you know, whatever… As a heavy metal band… Somewhere along the line, I don't think they see it or whatever, and I think with DOWN, they crushed it, they didn't push it purposefully [sic] because they wanted a new PANTERA record, and in turn, they pissed me off. And I'm not one to be pissed off. And SUPERJOINT RITUAL was the obvious choice [for me to put all of my energy into], especially if I'm in a pissed-off mood. SUPERJOINT is a great catalyst for everything above, and that's what I'm sticking with." (Download audio clip of Anselmo's response here)

On whether there's a possibility of another PANTERA or DOWN album in the future:

"You're dumb to say [anything you do is] final, because things change day by day, especially in the music business. There's no hostility towards any other [members of PANTERA or DOWN] or anything like that — it's just how it is right now. In my heart, and in my mind, I truthfully feel that SUPERJOINT is a band that, once the public truly gets ahold of it and embrace it, it's gonna mean A LOT to them, it's gonna be the SLAYER breaking out of the fog, it's gonna be the resurgence of a music forgotten, basically, and it's gonna be pure and absolutely 100%, and I'm very proud of that."

On releasing albums and touring with both DOWN and SUPERJOINT RITUAL last year:

Philip Anselmo: "When you're switching from, like I did last year, classic-style rock 'n' roll in the vein of LED ZEPPELIN, BLACK SABBATH, LYNYRD SKYNYRD, and all this stuff, and then the next day, switching gears, and all of a sudden, you're in the RIGHTEOUS PIGS mode, it's definitely trying on the brain, it's definitely trying to apply yourself 100%. I did it, I felt like I did it [successfully]. Once again, and this is the last time I'm gonna say it… If all that time was spent concentrating on one band, it would give the audience a whole lot more of an easy route to say, 'OK, this is SUPERJOINT RITUAL, we know what Phil's doing, and let's check it out.' Instead of, like, 'Let's check out 10 of these new bands.' That's too over-the-top, and I learned, I guess, the hard way. I still had a good time, I just… I want to concentrate on SUPERJOINT RITUAL, period. Hands down."

On the status of his collaboration with BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi:

Philip Anselmo: "I hate to say it, but I think Tony maybe gave up on me, because… When he asked me [to do a record with him], I hate to say it, but he couldn't have asked at a worse time in my life — personally, musically… whatever. There were a million things that Philip Anselmo needed to get accomplished, and they were time-consuming things, and they're wrapping up, and they're coming to a close as we speak now, but believe me, to jam with Tony Iommi, the time that I did before, was just so magical. The guy is just a charming, charming personality, and he is wide open [to ideas], and basically he said [to me], 'What are we gonna do, Phil?' And I'm like, 'Alright, let's try this…' We just… It came very natural jamming with him, it felt great, and I think he felt that as well, and that's why he kept approaching me during one of the Ozzfests, or… I can't remember where… No, he'd call me, he would call me… BLACK SABBATH wasn't on some of the later Ozzfests… He would call me. I never wanted to bother him, so I didn't bug and call him and all this stuff — I would wait for him to call me — but he was doing it quite often, to see when we could get together. And damned be it all, I had no clear answer for him, because there was so much going on that… Yes, of course, I would have loved to drop everything and just to wherever and jam with Tony, but that would have been irresponsible in itself, and it [was] absolutely way, way, way more important that I stayed home — I can see that now. But I want the Iommi thing, because we work absolutely well together, and if he wants to do a full album, or what-not, this time around, I am more than happy to do that one thing, but it's gonna have to fit into the schedule, it really is. Because I want to tour, I want to tour with SUPERJOINT RITUAL. I want to give people a dose of what we are giving, and it's a stripped-down, totally gut-level, no special effects, make-up, whatever they've brought back from the dead… We're bringing back music that mattered, we're not bringing back image that mattered… Whether it mattered or not, I'll never know. Apparently it does. But a lot of times music comes second to glitz and glamour and what-not… That's not us, not at all. We want the ugliest of the ugly, and we want the people out there that are absolutely damn tired of what's happening in music today, and I think we are the answer to their woes." (Download audio clip of Anselmo's response here)

On SUPERJOINT RITUAL's sophomore album, "A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred", due on July 22 through Sanctuary Records:

Philip Anselmo: "It is a record that is very focused around personal events in my life, obviously — I've never shied away from that. And also the state of the world today as we sit in the United States of America. You see this group of people pulling one way, this group of people pulling another way. And what we really need is a bit of unity here. Yes, I realize that I'm absolutely coming from a hit-headed, angry position, but it seems that that's the only time that people listen sometimes — you can't come in with a quiet voice and speak reason with them. You've gotta bellow, and you have to be abrupt and [have] plenty of attitude behind it for it to make any sense at all. On the songs that we touch upon, I guess you could say, political subjects, you know, I'm not very comfortable with that in general, but the older you get, the more you learn, and you realize how VERY important it is that the United States is a major, major bigwig, of force, to be reckoned with. We're all hot dogs, beer and wet T-shirt contests, but when it comes to threatening our freedom, threatening our way of life, we have this second face — we have two faces — and we're willing to fight for that. And that moved me quite a bit over the last year or so, and I think it's very important that people realize that this is America. I don't care what culture you are or anything like that, you're living here because of something. Something's keeping you here. Something inside of you doesn't wanna go back to the desert and sit there, or what-not, I don't know… I don't know. I could go on and probably upset a lot of people, but you know… The truth's the truth, man, and America is a beautiful place to live. I think that people need to realize what they have, and the grass IS greener here."

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