In a lengthy interview published in the "Xmas 2004" issue of Metal Hammer magazine, ex-PANTERA/curent SUPERJOINT RITUAL frontman Philip Anselmo spoke extensively about the breakup of his previous band and the status of all of his musical projects, among many other topics. Several excerpts from the interview follow:
On Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul's claim that Philip left PANTERA without telling them he was leaving:
"Well, they have phones as well. And they weren't communicating with me. Their way of communication was through, so they would send their errand girl to call me up and see where my head was at. Now that was pretty offensive, so I didn't play that game, and time passed. And I don't let time pass, I have to do something, I can't sit on my ass and just do nothing, I have to do something, and it must be musical. When I don't use my gift I become defunct and I become clumsy and I become useless. It's a terrible feeling to be that vulnerable.
"When you use your gift, you're on top of the world. You feel worth something, you know? You feel that you've done something, and you have, you've created. I've done that with many, many, many bands on my own time, and I was always there whenever PANTERA called to do the next record, the next tour, whatever it took, and I was always 100% there."
On what went wrong with PANTERA:
"Through devotion to and scheduling with PANTERA, a lot of things got pushed to the side — and the incarnation of other great bands like DOWN which I was part of took a lot of time and whatnot. Everything has its turn, and when it was SUPERJOINT RITUAL's turn, I felt at the time that PANTERA had done its greatest tour we'd ever done, which was with SLAYER and MORBID ANGEL in the United States. We were in Ireland when the 9/11 terrorist attacks took place in New York. We were stuck there for seven or eight days and the tour was called off because of the turbulence. After that it seemed there was a great… distancing.
"I think, more or less, it lies between Dimebag and I. There was never a point when he could not get drunk. Which was pretty much every day. And now I'm hearing it's worse than ever.
"He would attack me, vocally. And just knowing that he was so much smaller than me I could kill him like a fuckin' piece of vapor, you know, he would turn into vapor — his chin would, at least, if I fuckin' smacked it. And he knows that. The world should know that. So physically, of course, he deserves to be beaten severely.
"But of course, that's criminal and I won't do such a thing… Really, I just let him prattle on. I grew very tired of it very quickly, and whenever it came up, like it has come up today, I just chose to wish them the best of luck. And in all honesty I really wish that they would be men, which is very hard for them, figuring that they were living in their mother's house until they're 30 years old. In comparison, I was on the street by choice at the age of 15, living anywhere I could — but living, and successfully living, through my will."
On what it was that caused his friendship with Dimebag Darrell to turn sour:
"I think that there's a lot inside of Darrell… from what I've seen of Dimebag in the past, he had some great tragedy in his family, and of course that's Vinnie's family as well. I don't think that they were ever given or ever allowed time to really heal from that. The anger and the hatred and the drunken nights of just screaming in my face, with me sitting there taking it and holding both of my hands just to not hit the guy… I grew weary of that. I was sick of being his whipping post, y'know, and I just politely, or unpolitely, excused myself.
"I think I proved clearly to everybody what I was in PANTERA! And what I was was a unique, unbelievably magnetic frontman that had not been around since the days of Robert Plant and Ozzy Osbourne. I am one in a million. . . I have staying power! I have a devoted following that would do anything for me! Anything that I say. And there's not many people that can say that, that are in my position.
"As far as their product that they put out [referring to DAMAGEPLAN — Ed.], our product that they put out, it was obvious that I was very much involved with arranging the songs, I was very much involved with the integrity of the songs. . . The integrity and the moulding of the songs, the creating, the putting together of the song. Y'know, it was my job to do the sequencing for the record, it was my job to lyrically stun the audience. And I think they failed on every account. And the world speaks for it."
"When you see a group of guys that are not hungry any more… Honestly, between me and the world now, in my heart of hearts I believe it hurt them more not to receive the money that they were going to get — that we were all going to get — for putting out that record, than me leaving the band. They always feared me. They always were different than me. They always had their circle of friends and I had my circle of friends. Their jealousy level was incredible! Y'know, anyone that was close to me outside the band would be treated like fucking serfs or servants by the Abbott brothers. And y'know, that never… that never… never worked very well for me."
On Dimebag's implication in interviews that Anselmo has returned to heroin:
"What a stupid man. What a shallow, stupid man. How would he know what I do? And by the way, I've been fucking bone-sober for three and a half years now. Anybody who has seen me on stage, anybody who has seen the shape of my body and the size of my arms, and the fucking burning desire in my eyes, knows that I am fuckin'… I drink four beers and I have a buzz now. Gimme a break. I couldn't even say that in my twenties."
On the possibility of a PANTERA reunion:
"It would take a lot of soul-searching. It would take a lot of negotiation. And we'll see. In the end, it's what's most important to the fans.
"That's the last time I'm ever — you can put this in your article — this is the last time I am ever talking about PANTERA."
(Thanks: Daniel Lane / Metal Hammer)