Philip Anselmo says that he feels better than he did two decades ago after undergoing back surgery in January 2018 — the latest in a line of corrective procedures designed to helped him deal with the damage to his back, neck, and knees sustained over nearly 30 years of touring.
During an interview with the "Fantasm" podcast conducted last fall but only now uploaded to YouTube, Anselmo revealed that he is fully healed and healthy, enabling him to take on life in a way he hasn't been able to in a long time.
"This has been — and I'm gonna say this in all honesty — since about the age of 24, I think, this year, 2018, has been my favorite year I've ever lived, the best year I've ever lived," Philip said (hear audio below). "I've had my second back surgery. I am fucking rid of the medical pill mill fucking industry. I am fucking clean as a whistle. I haven't had a drink in almost three years. And I'm 50 and I feel better than I did at 30 and 40. I can hit 12 rounds on the fucking bag and a kayak up and down the river. And that's shit I would have never dreamed. Besides hitting the bag, kayaking — there's no way I could have been in that sitting position. I've got that shit under wraps. I'm feeling great."
According to Anselmo, his former condition definitely influenced the sound and the lyrical themes covered on some of the latest releases from his various projects, including the second PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS album, "Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue", and upcoming EN MINOR disc, which is said to be inspired by the classic goth period of the '80s with artists like THE CURE and SISTERS OF MERCY.
"Well, I was in a tremendously different place [when I wrote 'Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue']," he said. "When I listen to [the EN MINOR record] and I think about the place I have been, which is absolutely a 30-year chronic pain sentence that came with every type of addiction in the world. And, man, the opiate creates such a falseness and such a failure of… It creates wrecked motivation — lack of motivation. I mean, wrecked, though. You are distraught, and it's for no damn good reason. There are alternatives out there that fucking work and work better. I suggest people look into it."
In a 2005 interview with Revolver magazine, Anselmo said that the back problem has plagued him since the late 1990s when the lowest lumbar disc in his back was "ruptured — shattered from being onstage since I was 14 years old, jumping off the stage, off [PANTERA drummer] Vinnie's [Paul Abbott] drum set, going as crazy as possible."
"Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue" was released in January 2018 via Anselmo's Housecore Records in the U.S. and Season Of Mist in other parts of the world. The disc is the follow-up to PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS' debut, "Walk Through Exits Only", which came out in 2013 to mostly positive reviews.