We're guessing that Philip Anselmo doesn't really leave his front gate unlocked and that he was speaking metaphorically when he told Noisecreep at the 25 minute and 42 second mark of last week's ''Creep Show' interview that the door's always open for his former Pantera bandmate and drummer Vinnie Paul to come back into his life.

"He can come through that door with fifths, a handshake -- any of the above -- just as long as he comes, because I love the guy," Anselmo said. "I love him. I love Vince. He's a big part of my life, man. I just want to say on my end, I am an open door. I am an open door."


While Anselmo has not spoken with Paul since long before Dec. 8, 2004 -- when Paul's brother,guitarist 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott, was shot and killed onstage in Columbus, Ohio during a show by their post-Pantera band Damageplan -- there have been baby steps taken towards what might be an eventual reconciliation. Last year, Paul agreed to appear with Anselmo (in separate interviews) as part of a Revolver cover story about the making of Pantera's 'Vulgar Display of Power' record. And this year, he and Paul will be doing press for the 20th anniversary re-release of Pantera's 'Cowboys From Hell' album.

Again, the two musicians won't be in the same room during the interviews, but Anselmo remains hopeful that Paul will one day be able to forgive him for disparaging remarks he made to England's 'Metal Hammer' magazine about Dimebag Darrell shortly before Dime's murder. In the meantime, he can take some consolation in knowing that Dimebag's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney has reopened the lines of communication with him.

"Rita and I met for the first time in a long time, since a lot of rocks had been thrown in my direction, and we worked things out to a good point," Anselmo said. "She had some very strong points to make, important questions to ask me; and for me it was a very tremendous night.

"Just simply put, when something that traumatic happens to a group of people there is an element of madness -- and I'm not talking about anger -- it's madness, man," Anselmo continued. "And in all honesty, it's real easy for me to sit here and say, 'Well, we should have all come together. It would have helped the healing process a lot quicker.'

"But I can't speak for everybody, and I'm not going to. But it was very good that we did meet again, because we are friends. And that's the truth. And I've e-mailed with her back and forth here and there. And everything's very friendly. We touched base this past December, which was good, which was healthy. I needed to. This past year was probably the toughest year without Darrell. It just keeps getting tougher and tougher."