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Biofile Philip Anselmo Interview

By Scoop Malinowski

Status: Singer, songwriter and frontman for Down, Super Joint Ritual and Pantera.

DOB: June 30, 1968 In: New Orleans, LA

Childhood Heroes: “I hate to say it…because we toured with them, done shows, became friends with them…KISS was a very big influence in my life. Looking back at them, it was really gimmick over natural talent. But everyone loved them. They were pretty damn original. Early on, KISS, Queen, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles. I remember my folks listening to Led Zeppelin IV.”

Hobbies/Interests: “Boxing, horror films, music, Saints football, cooking – and I’m good at it – Italian, seafood, shrimp wrapped in bacon bits, jalopeno. I can cook a mean streak. And I like my steak bloody rare [laughs]!”

Favorite Movies: “That’s an incredible question. I’ve got over 200 horror films – Evil Dead, Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Black Christmas, Halloween, Son of Frankenstein – and the most influential, overwhelming film – it’s tough not to say – The Exorcist for staying power. That movie came out in ‘72 and it’s still threatening in ways.”

Early Music Memory: “My first gig I was 14, wearing a Van Halen shirt, trying to grow my hair long. We played St. Christophers in New Orleans. We put our flyers out. I was not only terrified, I was terrible too! I was so bad, doing Black Sabbath, Judas Priest songs. Somehow I got a cassette of that night. It was an embarrassment. I was god awful. Real bad. Scared on stage. Horrified. I don’t think I looked at the crowd once.”

First Job: “Working offshore as a commercial fisherman. I was a shrimper in the Gulf of Mexico. For big restaurants, we’d get the big shrimp, the real McCoys.”

First Car: “Gray Mercury Capri.”

Current Car:  “A black pickup truck. We have two.”

Favorite Meal: “I like Italian. My dad owned a restaurant in New Orleans (Anselmo’s). It’s food was outstanding, over the top. But Hurricane Katrina wiped it out.”

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: “I got to go with chocolate chip or that Oreo stuff.”

Funny Career Memory: “Caracas, Venezuela, 1995. This promoter says you had to know the right people – pay off the right people to get in the right junction of personnel. Or they’ll hold your equipment anytime or anywhere for any reason – to make an extra buck. So they had us on a metal stage in the middle of this field. And it just so happens a lightning storm is coming. And the promoter is like (in a great Spanish accent), ‘Everybody pulls out. Pleeease do the show. The kids need to get to see rock ‘n roll. I say, Okay we’ll do it. But if there’s any hint of incoming electricity, I’m dropping the microphone. So we’re doing the show. It’s an all grass field. The grass came up to the kids’ knees. It was deep. Under it, the grass was muddy, soaking wet. And they were throwing big balls of mud the whole show. The most amazing was then they started throwing live crabs at the stage! And snakes. So we were seeing live crabs and snakes flying through the air! It was like, Where the hell am I !!?

Greatest Career Moment: “I’ve got a couple of them. To this day, we played at the biggest concert in history of music held at the Soviet Union in Russia. When Russia was making it’s big political changes, the promoter felt it would be a good idea to bring some American rock ‘n roll – AC/DC, Metallica, Black Crowes. At two o’clock in the afternoon when we went on stage, there was 750,000 people there. By the time Metallica went on at night, 1.2 million were there! And coming in at No. 1 on Billboard charts for our third record Far Beyond Driven – our first platinum record which eventually spilled into more platinum.”

Most Painful Moment:  “Hyper-extending my knee on the first night, first song of the Pantera/White Zombie tour in Japan. We were headlining, and I jumped off the drum riser and WHAM! That was it… I was afraid to look down because it felt like I broke my leg in half… I sang the rest of the show, and tour, lying down on the front of the stage.”

Last Book Read: “This might not fall into a pure “book” category, but I just read HP Lovecraft’s ‘Herbert West – Reanimator’…. I’ve been on a Lovecraft frigging roll!”

Favorite Vacation Spot: “Home. I live on 20 acres of woods in Louisana. I’ve got two white sand beaches on my property – four dogs, three cats, guesthouse with a studio built in. And indoor swimming pool. Last night we went on a bike ride at 2 a.m. The woods are beautiful. So anytime I get the chance to be home, I like to be home.”

People Qualities Most Admired: “People that are absolutely down-to-earth. Absolutely for real. Absolutely approachable. Someone that doesn’t have to live off someone else’s misery to let themselves feel better. People that don’t have to bring up gossip or shit like that. I’d rather bring out the positive qualities of someone than bring out the negative. It’s human nature, so easy to say, I hate this or that. It’s harder to say, I love this person, or this about you. It takes a bigger person. That’s what I like to take my role models after.”

What Brings You Joy: “What brings me joy is zeroing in on my first love of my life which is music. Where I am at most home. And I find myself at most peace when I’m writing music or involved in writing music. However the most joy or the biggest payoff is the reaction to the hard work. That’s the big payoff – is all the hard work known by all the kids, singing all the words of the songs I wrote so carefully and with so much heart. And honestly, being on stage, I am absolutely at home. I’m at the most peace I could ever be when I’m on that stage. It wouldn’t matter if that ceiling fell in and crushed me on the spot – I would be proud to go out that way. Because I would have been on my stage, at my pulpit, in my element, spreading the word. I’ve made a lot of money and everything. There’s no way I can take this money and glory to the grave with me. So I’ve always given, given, given. I’ve bought houses and cars for family and friends. The materialistic makes no difference. It’s what you give to people that accumulates joys in your life. And brings you joys. And the more you put out and help people, the more joy you get back. Call it karma. A reporter recently asked me what’s the most rewarding part of the new album? Nothing…until I hear that crowd enjoying it. That’s the payoff. Using the universal language of music. And connecting all over the world.”

Phil and Pantera full concert August 4, 2023 at Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ

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