LOS ANGELES, August 20, 2013 — Punk rock and football are two things that are very dear to Philip Anselmo. Formerly of Pantera, the Louisiana native has been the singer for Down since 1991. In July, Anselmo released his debut album from his solo band, Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals, on Housecore records, which he founded. In the first part of this interview, Anselmo discussed what he has been doing with his various projects recently. After the interview, a conversation ensued that went from Anselmo’s punk rock influences to his New Orleans Saints.
Kevin Wells: How much influence has punk rock had in your life and music?
Phillip Anselmo: Well, you know, obviously when people look at my body of work, it’s a general heavy metal outlook or they look at me and say of course I’ve done heavy metal my entire career in some way shape or form, something metallic. When I think to myself, “punk rock,” I think of attitude. I think of a lot of attitude. And I think, if anything, that has been an influence to me over the years it would be the punk rock attitude to where the music, the talking and image and all that f**ing other s**t comes absolutely second. It’s about as simple as that.
S**t, man, when you say “punk,” a lot of people mean hardcore, but to me, punk is Ramones or, you know, something that’s not as, you know, ugly distorted guitars like a band like Discharge or something like that, which is pure hardcore in my opinion. Punk is an attitude and great f***in’ songs. What would you call the Misfits, you know? What are the Misfits? Are they hardcore or are they punk, you know? Danzig is singing his a** off on the s**t, you know?
KW: The Misfits are tough to categorize because the early stuff is more rock, like 50s influenced, and then stuff gets harder and faster as they progress.
PA: That’s why they call it punk rock. I might classify ‘em as a punk band myself. You ever heard Johnny Dole and the Scabs?
KW: I have not.
PA: Aw, come on, punk rocker, get with it, man. Johnny Dole and the Scabs and any Black Flag, f***in’ Necros, Gang Green, Bl’ast!, Bored Youth, Raw Power. F**k, I played with Raw Power before when I played guitar in EYEHATEGOD at CBGB’s. And then I loved that old Cryptic Slaughter, f***in’ JFA, Devoid of Faith, Iron Claw, Crippled Youth, The Testors. I like The Testors.
KW: What do you think about the multiple Black Flag reunions?
PA: I don’t know. I don’t know what to think of it, you know? For me, I love the early Black Flag, but really, the Rollins version was my favorite Black Flag. It really is. I don’t know. I’m torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool.
KW: I’ve always been more of Keith Morris fan than Rollins, for sure.
PA: Keith Morris, yeah, f**k yeah. Have you heard Cut the S**t from Boston?
KW: You got me again. You’re killing me.
PA: Awwwwwww, man. Check out Cut The S**t, man. They’re f***in’ brutal. For a new band, they’re brutal. We could talk about this s**t for years, man. Poison Idea, Jerry’s kids, Ill Repute, f**k, I got it all.
KW: There’s an Ill Repute documentary in the works.
PA: Really? Wow. That’s a little known fact. I’m actually helping out with an Agnostic Front documentary that’s coming out. I don’t know my role in it yet, but I’ve known Roger [Miret] and the guys for a long time and they’re really one of my favorite bands, especially Victim In Pain f***in’ era. That s**t has always been close to my heart. I adore it, but yeah, man, anything to help those guys, a f***in’ awesome band. Very influential in their own way. The correct attitude as far as the way things should be viewed, you know, gut level, street level way, you know, of skinhead thinking. They were blue collar skinhead, anti-racist, which is how it should be, really. I think their message within songs, like United and Strong, is impenetrable. I love it.
KW: Would you ever considered starting a punk band?
PA: I’ve done a hardcore band before with Mike Williams of EYEHATEGOD called Arson Anthem and really, that’s my take on hardcore. Hardcore, for me, is more than just beat repeated over and over again. That music’s fine. Believe me, I’m as big a Discharge fan as the next guy, but still, it’s been aped so many times and relied on so many times. People tend to forget hardcore is also Greg Ginn and a lot of the moody, slower stuff that he did on My War, Slip It In and s**t like that is a very big influence. I was a guitar player in Arson Anthem. I took those influences and utilized ‘em very much. Maybe that record’s kind of misunderstood, but, man, it shouldn’t be.
KW: You’re a big Saints fan. What do you think about the Saints this year?
PA: They look good against the Raiders, but we’re in the NFC South where there’s the loaded Atlanta Falcons and f***in’ Tampa Bay has definitely beefed up their secondary because they know they’re going against Drew Brees and that disgustingly named Matty Ice [Matt Ryan]. How f***in’ cheesy is that? Jesus Christ. The f***in’ Panthers, I f***in’ hate ‘em, just as much as I hate the f***in’ suck-aneers. So, I don’t know man, it depends.
Everything in football depends on injuries and s**t like that and being healthy at the right time. I think, as far as the NFC goes, you know, you’re really weary. Everyone needs to look to the west. Seattle is looking like beasts. The 49ers are always gonna have that massive f***in’ defense and tricky f***in’ offense. The read option s**t, you know, whether defenses can really zero in on that, I’m not sure because the 49ers really, really mix it up pretty f***in’ well. I don’t know, man. The Saints, I don’t know. I don’t know. We got a lot of young players that need to step it up and we got a lot of older players that need to play their f***in’ a**es off and stay healthy. Man, I don’t know, it’s only two games into the preseason. We’ll see, man, there’s a lot to clean up. There’s a lot to get better at. You know, f**k it, we’ll see. Well, what’s your team, man?
KW: I’m from Los Angeles and I’m a Rams fan that could never quit. I tried, but I just couldn’t do it.
PA: I’m watching the Rams play the Packers right now on NFL replay. I like the Tavon Austin pick. That’s a good pick, man.
KW: Yep, and they finally have a solid offensive line.
PA: They’re looking better and even defensively they’re looking little better, man. I don’t know. Out of that entire division, I’m totally pulling for the Rams. And partly, the reason why is the singer for Warbeast, Bruce Corbitt, is a gigantic Rams fan for some f***in’ reason. He adores the Rams. I thought the starting team looked pretty good especially against Aaron Rodgers and those goddamn f***in’ Packers, who are a dangerous offensive team.
Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals was released in July on Housecore Records. Anselmo is also coordinating the Housecore Horror Film Festival in October 2013 in Austin, Texas.
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