Philip Anselmo's DOWN and SUPERJOINT bandmate Jimmy Bower (pictured) says that the former PANTERA frontman "did the right thing by apologizing sincerely" after being filmed earlier in the year giving a Nazi salute and shouting "white power" at a California concert.
Anselmo performed the PANTERA classic "Walk" at the January 22 "Dimebash" event at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood, California in honor of late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. As he left the stage, he made a Nazi-style salute. He appeared to say "white power" as he made the gesture, but he later claimed he was referring to drinking white wine as part of an "inside joke."
"When it happened, knowing Phil and our extremely dark sense of humor, I blew it off as him being stupid," Jimmy told Clrvynt in a new interview. "Then Robb Flynn [MACHINE HEAD] put the video up saying how his feelings were hurt, and the people things were starting to say made me understand that what he said was not cool and not funny, even in a joking sense, and it did hurt people's feelings.
"It was really weird because it honestly wasn't a big deal to me, just because I know how Phil is. Dude, we joke about stupid shit. The bullshit that we come up with and talk about among friends … I guess the lesson learned is that you can't do that around other people. I mean, we were friends with [ANAL CUNT's] Seth Putnam. He was a freak, dude, as far as his sense of humor. He liked to fuck with people. But behind the scenes, he was the biggest sweetheart who would give you the shirt off his back. So, I just wish people could take things with a grain of salt nowadays instead of everyone being so serious."
Asked what he made of the backlash Phil had received as a result of his actions, Jimmy said: "People hit Phil pretty hard over it, but knowing him as he really is, part of me thought it was unfair. Part of me wanted to try to explain to people that Phil's not like this. You can't be racist if you're from New Orleans. There's so many different cultures here; you just can't do it. And you're raised to understand that. I think [the Dimebash incident] was getting linked to other times in his life, when he was younger, and it was just really unfortunate. I think he did the right thing by apologizing sincerely."
Several other notable musicians have come out and criticized Anselmo for his actions, including ANTHRAX guitarist Scott Ian, who suggested Anselmo show how sincere he is by making a donation to Jewish human rights organization the Simon Wiesenthal Center. Scott also wrote in an online post: "Philip's actions were vile and that should be the focus here; anything else is just noise."
One musician who stuck up for Anselmo was Adam Crosier of the Arkansas band HYMNS, which is signed to Anselmo's Housecore label.
"This slanderous attack against Phil Anselmo in the metal media right now is reaching a despicable level of ugly, inept judgment," he wrote on his Facebook page. "There are no words that can accurately describe how false the racism claims truly are … I know, without a doubt, that Phil Anselmo is NOT racist. This accusation could not be further from the truth."
Crosier told BLABBERMOUTH.NET: "I think he has just made some mistakes in the past and obviously at the Dimebash — which, added together, may paint an ugly picture of his personality. It's very unfortunate, because he truly is a very compassionate and loving person."