PHILIP ANSELMO Says He's Been Off 'Hard' Drugs For Eight Years

Elliot Levin of the New York Hard Rock Examiner recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current DOWN frontman Philip Anselmo. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.

On the possibility of PANTERA one day getting inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame:

Philip: "I'm a bad pessimist. I don't think about how successful any record I've ever done is going to do before it came out. People are going to think and take things how they're going to take it, and I have no control over that, so it's kind of like biding time until you get your feedback. So, it's like once the public can consume what you're putting out there, then you know. Then, you know, hit, miss, in between. You're always going to have detractors and you're always going to have people who love you and that's how it's perfectly balanced and the world spins on. So I don't really concern myself with what's going to happen big next. All I know is we're touring now, WARBEAST comes out March or April this year. My solo record comes out beginning of summer. And maybe some odd DOWN thing during the summer, the European festivals and stuff like that. And that's all I'm concentrating on now. I can't predict the future."

On whether DOWN is planning on working some of its more mellow songs back into the live set:

Philip: Oh I don't know. The sets, I'm not sure. I like to base things off of the group of guys I got, and our strengths. Think about Pepper [Keenan, DOWN guitarist] who's the lead singer of C.O.C., and Kirk [Windstein, DOWN guitarist], who sings in CROWBAR. Both of them are fucking Neanderthals, they get up on the mic and scream as loud as they can. When a song is supposed to be delicate, with harmonies, it kind of makes me cringe a little with a bunch of cavemen screaming. So I don't think it works to our strengths live, unless we really, really, really buckle down and concentrate on it. And as far as writing new material, of course, all the "Stone The Crow"s, and even a song like "Nothing In Return", it's within our... DOWN, we can touch on these different genres, different feelings within the genre — dynamics, if you will. And, of course, we have three more EPs to do, in the set of four, and sometimes I wonder, would it be really fair to the DOWN audience to wait a couple of years in between whatever and put out these five- or six-song acoustic, smooth rock records? I just don't think that would be fair, in my opinion. We might mix a little in if it's worth it, if it turns out good, but I can't make any promises. Because, really, at heart we're a bunch of heavy metal dudes.

On the DOWN song "Nothing In Return":

Philip: I was coming off some really tough years in my life. I went through the death of my guitar player, I went through Hurricane Katrina, and then I guess one of the biggest personal wars, besides Dimebag dying, was drug addiction. And chronic pain. Which really goes hand in hand, if you know anybody that suffers from chronic pain and whatnot. At that point, I had come clean, and now it's 2013 and it's been eight years for me off hard drugs, so that's a great feeling. But "Nothing In Return" is about, basically, what you give, you're gonna give back. And I have been the motherfucker on stage, out-of-my-mind drunk, on drugs, broken up inside, injured, feeling very vulnerable, and for me that's an uncomfortable feeling. And I've said things over the microphone to thousands of people that I had no business fucking saying. Badmouthing other bands, badmouthing this, that, the other thing. And just coming off as a negative person, which I'm not at all. I'm very much a positive person, so when I came clean, I recognized all this, and there were some friends of mine that were still struggling at the time, and I kept really begging them, "Take the step. All you have to do is trust me, listen to me, we'll get you off drugs, and all the bad anxiety that comes with it, the sickness that comes with detoxing and all that shit, it goes away. You can have your fucking life back, man, y'know?" Basically, that's my message right there. You can have your fucking life back. Unfortunately, you can talk a blue streak, and talk is cheap when it comes to... once you've conquered something and you're trying to tell someone else about it, they're going through the tough time, it's like talking to the brick wall. They're not hearing you, really. And such is the case a lot of times, and really that's what the song's about. Failing, kinda. In my mission to straighten some people up. Because you can't win every time. You can't win every time.

On his participation in the "Metal Masters" clinic series, also featuring members of SLAYER, ANTHRAX, EXODUS and MEGADETH, among others:

Philip: I guess doing the "Metal Masters" is my way of celebrating those years, celebrating that era of music, with a lot of guys I grew up worshipping, for god's sakes. You got SLAYER, and all those guys. I know ANTHRAX, SLAYER, all of them cats since the '80s. EXODUS. Shit, they took PANTERA out on our first national tour in 1990 with SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. So we've known each other for a very long time, just to get up there with that group of guys who I respect so much man, as musicians, and visually recognizable guys who are really heroes to heavy metal. Kerry King and Charlie Benante, Scott Ian's face is fucking everywhere. I don't mean to leave anybody out, but just to be up there with those guys is enough and doing those old PANTERA songs with them is a lot of fun. Billy Sheehan [MR. BIG] last time, an incredible bass player."

Read the entire interview from New York Hard Rock Examiner.

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