PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS, the band led by former PANTERA and current DOWN and SUPERJOINT frontman Philip Anselmo, has parted ways with guitarist Marzi Montazeri and has replaced him with Mike DeLeon.
Anselmo told MetalUnderground.com, about THE ILLEGALS' split with Montazeri: "What I wanted to do with Marzi anyway was jumpstart his career, which I did. He's the type of guy that needs to be the focal point of pretty much anything he does. So he's got that now and I'm happy for him. More power to him."
Regarding how the addition of DeLeon came about, Anselmo said:"Mostly from his association with my drummer, Blue [José Manuel Gonzalez], and my other guitar player/bass player from SUPERJOINT, Steve [Stephen Taylor]. Steve Taylor was constantly saying, 'DeLeon is the guy. DeLeon is the guy. He wants it the most! He wants it the most!' I trust them. I trust their judgment. I trust their intuition. So far, every time DeLeon has come to jam, it has been serious grinding. He takes a good beating, man. He's great. He's a pleasure to work with."
In an interview with Powerline, Anselmo stated about Montazeri's contributions to PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS' debut album, "Walk Through Exits Only": "Marzi has his strengths that I knew he had coming in. He has always been a great guitar player and I gave him absolute free rein on leads. Some of the soundscape stuff that he does is very unique and he always had that as part of his repertoire since I've known him and we always wanted to utilize it."
He continued: "Marzi's the type of guy to where he wants to be a perfectionist, even live. So this is something that has worked in his favor for a long time. It's something he can pull off.
"Marzi is a special talent. For the life of me, he's the type of guy that's been in Houston, Texas and he's well-known around Houston as a blues player. He's the type of guy that can play just about anything in the world.
"I'm somewhat of a task master where I can say to Marzi, 'Look, here is the path we are going down,' and he can adapt which is an incredible thing, and a luxury, really. You now, once he's on assignment and he gets what's in front of him, then he takes off in this insane direction. Which I did not want to suppress at all. I wanted to enhance, for sure."
"Walk Through Exits Only" sold around 8,700 copies in the United States in its first week of release to debut at position No. 35 on The Billboard 200 chart. The CD was produced by Anselmo and Michael Thompson, and recorded over a couple of years at Philip's New Orleans studio, Nodferatu's Lair.