Mark Morton of Examiner.com recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current DOWN singer Philip Anselmo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.Examiner.com: How long did it take to bring [your debut solo album] "Walk Through Exits Only" together? A tertiary listen would make one think it was spontaneous and almost stream-of-consciousness, but because of its aura of 'the sound of anger' it also comes across as a very calculated and deliberate recording. Anselmo: Oh, it was very calculated. Still, I think the misconception might be the full-on anger aspect. I think that has a lot to do with my younger years and the expression on my face a lot of the time. I am misread a lot. Honestly, as erratic as this album is, as agitated as it is, everything that is on this album was absolutely meant to be there. Even lyrically; it might not be conventional, it might not be traditional — but that is exactly what I was trying not to be. I did not want to approach this record any traditional way, shape or form. As I said, music is a vast world, and I am a guy and a musician who believes that not all the notes have been hit yet, not all the time signatures have been met yet, and not all the instruments available to extreme music (or heavy metal or whatever) have been utilized. Really, this album is a good springboard for me. I actually crave more. I know the album just came out, but I'm ready to write the new one right now! Examiner.com: At [PANTERA's] highest point of popularity, you always found a way to namedrop bands like SAINT VITUS any opportunity you could, even if it was just wearing a t-shirt. Doing something as simple as wearing a t-shirt, I think helped stir that cauldron of awareness that we wouldn't have otherwise seen. Anselmo: Man, I appreciate that to the utmost, because, even today I still wear obscure shirts from extreme bands that are very much not a part of the mainstream. I don't care at all about the mainstream; I don't care about popularity contests; I don't care about who's got the biggest-selling album; and I don't care about glossy production. I don't care about any of that shit. I care about the unbelievably loyalty from the fans that have kept my career alive over the years, and I care about the pulse that I feel that thrives in the underground. I like supporting the underground as much as possible, and I don't mind being the old walking billboard. If it helps turn more people on to different bands, more power to it! Music is there for us to explore. To intentionally limit yourself to one, two, or three genres is limitation at its worst. Music is huge; it's a gigantic history lesson, and if you are true music fan or a musician, you should explore it. It's all right there in front of us. But anything in the underground may eventually come to the surface and become an above-ground thing. And that is always a bittersweet situation. Sure, it's good for the band, but as far as what they eventually might do with their music, whether they stick to their guns the way SLAYER has over the years, while pulling in more and more people… SLAYER is a great example of an "if it's not broken, don't fix it" type of band. When certain bands reach a certain level, what they do becomes important. And if what they do has this plasticity to it, then you have to second-guess that band. It's bittersweet, because you remember where said band came from, and it makes you wonder what happened along the way. Why pull a 180 on your audience that has fallen in love with you because of your old records? With PANTERA, we lived through so many trend-of-the-day situations — when grunge was huge, we were still a heavy metal band; when hip-hop started getting incorporated into metal, we stuck to our guns and remained a heavy metal band very purposefully. I think we outlived a lot of trends; we combated a lot of trends with honest, true heavy metal that only we could create, and I think we did the best that we could for metal. Maybe time is telling a little bit more and more for us, what made us tick, and why we strived more and more for extremity over going for mainstream acceptance. You never heard songs like "Cemetery Gates", "Cowboys From Hell", "A New Level" or "Walk" on any radio stations. We were ignored completely. It was only until we started packing arenas — after all the hard work was done — that we began getting any kind of credit. I remember reading one specific review of "Far Beyond Driven", because the guy absolutely hated the record, because he thought our next logical step would have been closer toward to the mainstream. And he was sadly mistaken, because we were very focused and deliberate with "Far Beyond Driven". He missed the point of that completely. And the next thing you know, it's number one on fucking Billboard. So it showed you how much he knew. [laughs] Again, I am no great prognosticator of what's to come in the future; in fact, I'm a bit of a pessimist, because I don't like to build up expectations only to be let down. It's a waste of time. Everything with PANTERA happened so organically and off-the-cuff. It was real; it was fucking real, and that's all I can say. Examiner.com: And that all said, you have made your mark time and again on the music industry, and you are doing it again with "Walk Through Exits Only". While there should be nothing but appreciation for all your contributions, why do you think the EXHORDER conspiracy is still rattling about? (Editor's note: New Orleans-based EXHORDER is cited by many as the originator of the riff-heavy power-groove approach popularized by PANTERA.) Anselmo: Oh, I don't know. I guess people are bored and don't have anything else to talk about. It's absolutely untrue. EXHORDER was a killer band, don't get me wrong. And for their time in the local scene in New Orleans in 1988, as far as skill level, they really upped the game for everyone. To this day, I'm still really good friends with their singer, who is now the singer for TROUBLE. Kyle [Thomas] and I come from the same school of heavy metal vocals — Rob Halford, Don Doty from DARK ANGEL, and Tom Araya — so there are similarities between us, but musically, I don't hear it at all. That said, Kyle sent me an email when the new TROUBLE song premiered, I listened to it, and wrote him back, "Fucking awesome! Your pipes sound great!" And at the end, I wrote, "DOWN / TROUBLE, anyone?" So anything is possible. DOWN touring with TROUBLE would be a dream come true. Read the entire interview at Examiner.com.