Kenny Herzog of Mog Music Network recently conducted an interview with DOWN/ex-PANTERA frontman Philip Anselmo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.Mog Music Network: In recent weeks, I've spoken with SLAYER guitarist Kerry King and MEGADETH bassist Dave Ellefson as well, and Ellefson in particular expressed this idea that MEGADETH, SLAYER, and METALLICA represent an upper echelon of contemporary metal. Do you feel like PANTERA belongs in that conversation? Anselmo: I think he understated the whole thing. Tastes are tastes, but never in my wildest dreams would I ever play in a band that sounded like MEGADETH either. Nothin' against 'em. Junior's a good guy, but to leave PANTERA out of the upper echelon is retarded and stupid. And Kerry King, of all dudes, I'm not sure what he said, but at one point before we were even signed, he used to call me up every other week and tell me [Adopts gravelly, low voice], "Ya know what? I'm starting to think man, I might wanna join PANTERA." And this is the truth. And Kerry King was very instrumental for PANTERA. I befriended the cat way before we were signed…. Not only did Kerry King call a whole lot, he would fly in and would watch our gigs. One time in particular he called me and said, "Well, if I come in this time, I don't want to fuck around. I wanna play the gig." So sure enough, he flew in, and that entire week, we built a two-guitar-player set around Dimebag Darrell and Kerry King, and that's an epic video. I'm staring at it right now. There are thrash bands at the time that imitated SLAYER, but until Kerry King came down and him and Dimebag jammed together, and Dimebag had to actually learn a couple of SLAYER songs correctly, he didn't realize they were the Real McCoy and how fiercely they riffed. Dimebag learned a whole new respect from Kerry King. Mog Music Network: I should clarify that in my interview with Kerry, we were really just focusing on the symbolism of he and MEGADETH touring together again. And that in my chat with Dave, he wasn't going out of his way to exclude any acts, but was more talking very specifically about a certain group of bands, and it I personally began thinking PANTERA maybe belonged in that conversation. Anselmo: I think so, too, also considering that SLAYER opened for us on our last tour, MORBID ANGEL opened for us on the last tour, we took out SEPULTURA, we absolutely lambasted MEGADETH every time we played with them. So that's fine. You can put those down in quotes . . . I'm not swiping at Junior or Kerry. Definitely not Kerry. Not saying we've always had the greatest relationship with MEGADETH. It's hot and cold. One second, Dave Mustaine can be ragging on ya, and the next second he can come out and say the most unbelievably nice thing in the world about you. Junior and Kerry are fortunate enough to have their key members alive to have this longevity. That's just how the cards fall, there's no blame there. But mark my words, and this is kind of empty of me to say, but if Dimebag Darrell was alive today, I would guarantee with all my heart that we would have already been back together, and then this entire talk of upper-echelon metal bands would be a moot point. Mog Music Network: It's that same self-belief that got you guys out of the clubs to begin with, so I don't doubt it. Anselmo: Well, it's the truth. If Dimebag was alive, we would have buried the hatchet a long time ago. I know this. And we'd be playing out today, maybe even making new music. I'm sure we would…. I think about PANTERA and Dimebag a lot, a whole lot, every day of my life, even without this 20th anniversary. If you were to ask me last year some time, I would have said, "Yep, I thought about him about 100 times today already." Every now and again, you just think, "What if?" I'm at whatever stage of grips I'm at, and those grips do change, but right now, I'm in a pretty good spot in my life. I just…. I know we did good, we really did. We did damn good. Read the entire interview from the Mog Music Network.