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Phil Anselmo on His Upcoming Autobiography, Dealing With Chronic Pain and Horror Movies (EXCLUSIVE)

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In Part 1 of Noisecreep’s interview with Phillip H. Anselmo (AKA, “The Hardest Working Man in Metal), we talked about Down‘s latest six-song masterstroke: Down IV: Part 1 The Purple EP. He also gave us the low-down on his upcoming solo album and shared with us some of his current sonic predilections (ie shit he’s into right now).

But really, that’s only half the story when it comes to what else is percolating in the House of Anselmo.

Curious? Read on.

One band Phil Anselmo is happy to keep going on about is haarp. The New Orleans’ sludge-gods’ second album, Husks, is rapidly becoming a benchmark release on Anselmo’s Housecore label. “It’s crushing, like a 15 pound slop of sizzling mud,” Phil gushes. “17 minute long opener. They don’t give a fuck – which is what I love about them. They give a fuck but they don’t give a fuck.” The next few months will also see Housecore issue a new full-length from Texan thrashers Warbeast who will also share vinyl real estate with two Anselmo solo tracks on an upcoming split appropriately titled War of the Gargantuas.

Phil is currently working on an autobiography with author Corey Mitchell and he’s very clear to what that book is and isn’t. “It’s not just a Pantera book,” he states pointedly. “Of course Pantera was a gigantic part of my life but during my tenure with Pantera I was making a lot of different music with a lot of different bands.

Watch Pantera’s ‘Drag the Waters’ Video
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“It’s also a book that deals with the human experience,” he continues. “There was a point in time where I had a pretty goddamn unbattered skeleton when I was younger and there was a Superman type feeling. I definitely take a look at the psychology of when you really hurt yourself and you have an MRI done and it’s a proven fact that there is a chronic pain type of problem – what it did to me. Going down the drain and coming out of it as well. There’s a bit of success to this story – as a matter of fact, a great deal of success.”

A self-help book from Uncle P.H. Anselmo? Not quite. While the 44-year-old frontman will speak with unblemished honesty about the addictions that nearly ended his career a few years ago as he attempted to deal with chronic back pain, he isn’t one to proselytize. He’s more interested in telling his story. In the Gospel of Anselmo, nobody rides for free. “There will come a time in one’s life where you will have to deal with chronic pain of some sort. You’ll get to read my story and possibly identify how it will affect every move that you make.

How did it feel when Anselmo drove away the worst of his demons? “There is a euphoria when you finally have that monkey off your back and you know in your heart that you are not going to return,” he states. “There is no open door. There are no cracked doors. You have a sealed, closed, welded door shut in your mind. It’s like oxygen hitting your brain for the first time. If there’s a religious feeling, a spiritual feeling, that’s it. There’s a common phenomenon for people who come out of a dark, dark place they are going to have an overexcitement –heck yeah, I was guilty of it.”

“Guilty” is a very strange word.

Watch Down’s ‘Witchtripper’ Video

“You overstep your bounds in thinking you can help people at the time because your methodology worked you can help people who are suffering at the time, whether it be through addiction, some sort of pain. A good dose of physical rehabilitation that if you embrace it could help you out a lot. I was guilty of perhaps pushing my ideas on other people instead of stepping back and surmising where their heads are at before opening my mouth. Of course, there’s no guilt about me saying ‘hey, life can be better’. But, I was fanatical to say the least as far as chasing people down saying ‘Man, you can change your life. If I can do it, you can do it.’ But all that subsides after a success rate of 15 to 75% You cannot save the world, all you can do is pass along the word.”

Horror flicks, however, do make life better. Along with fellow horror hound, writer Corey Mitchell (who is also co-penning the former Pantera frontman’s biography), Phil is assembling his first-ever Housecore Horror Film Festival to be unveiled in Austin, Texas in October 2013. “Right now, that’s all on Corey’s shoulders,” Phil admits. “I have a list of films that needs to be meticulously gone through.”

A noted connoisseur of every sort of celluloid terror from the cerebral and psychological to the most straight-out gore-drenched, Phil is hardly one to mince words on the current state of the cinema macabre. “There’s a movie called The House of the Devil that was done in a pretty interesting early ’80s shot style. Wake Wood was pretty damn interesting – kind of a Night of the Living Dead meets the original 1972 The Wicker Man story. Most {new horror films] are a bunch of puff to me. I cannot stand the CGI. I fucking hate it. You might as well have Scooby Doo up on the screen.”

Watch The House of the Devil Trailer

Both Los Angeles and New York have seen Anselmo unbridled over the past few months: the frontman being part of the “Metal Masters” jam shows that have also included the likes of Slayer’s Kerry King and Dave Lombardo, Megadeth’s Dave Ellefson, former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy and Anthraxers Scott Ian and Charlie Benante (on guitar, no less!). “It’s a whole different animal than the whole Down experience,” says Phil. “First and foremost it’s the way I get to use my throat. I miss singing harsh which I get to do with the Pantera covers, Slayer covers, the Exodus and S.O.D. covers. It’s fun to use that style of voice. It takes a few to break back in. I’m always surprised at that. The Metal Masters are really fun Everybody’s cool as shit. I’ve grown up with all those guys.

“With Down I have to sing in key. [Laughs] Aw, shucks, I gotta actually work!”


The bus is leaving in a few hours. Phil Anselmo and his not-so-merry-band of kindred souls have but one promise to keep. That is to give you their best and leave you wanting more. Beyond that, no promises shall they make.

Down IV Part I – The Purple EP is in stores now. Pick up the album on Amazon andiTunes.

Down tour dates:

10/02/12 Charlotte, NC Tremont Music Hall
10/19/12 Manchester UNITED KINGDOM O2 Academy
10/20/12 Birmingham UNITED KINGDOM HMV Institute
10/21/12 London UNITED KINGDOM Roundhouse
10/23/12 Antwerp BELGIUM Trix Hall
10/24/12 Paris FRANCE Bataclan
10/25/12 Amsterdam HOLLAND Melkweg
10/27/12 Luxembourg City LUXEMBURG Den Atelier
10/28/12 Zurich SWITZERLAND Komplex
10/29/12 Milan ITALY Magazzini Generali
10/31/12 Dortmund GERMANY Freizeitzentrum West

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