High Times senior editor Bobby Black conducted an interview with heavy metal icon Philip Anselmo (DOWN, PANTERA, ARSON ANTHEM, SUPERJOINT RITUAL) before DOWN's April 28, 2011 concert at the Best Buy Theater in New York City. The chat can now be viewed in four parts below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
High Times: Looking back at [your time with PANTERA], does it feel like it happened yesterday or does it feel like it was a lifetime ago?
Anselmo: "Parts of it feel like it happened yesterday, or Oh my God I've said it before and I don't wanna regurgitate it, but I think about PANTERA every day of my life in one way, shape or form. I always pondered the thought 'what if' you know? [late PANTERA guitarist] Dimebag [Darrell Abbott] was still alive, I think there would have been an end to any rift that there [was]. Dimebag was too much of a brother to carry fucking some hate around with him, or anger, you know?! And I deserved some anger. But I think you'll learn a whole lot more about this when I release my auto-fucking-biography which is coming I'm gonna work on that this summer as well. But there's a lot to do with when I was in such chronic pain, it controlled my mind, which controlled everything else. [On November 21, 2005, Anselmo underwent surgery to repair several damaged disks in his lower back. Ed.] Dimebag was going through a lot of stuff at the end of PANTERA. And me overdosing? That's like There's no excuse for that. There's no excuse. You are fucked. You are labeled. You are a target. No one trusts you. I could have been as straight I was, several times, as straight as a motherfucker, and he would come charging at me, accusing and I can't blame him. No, I do not blame him. In hindsight, I do the same thing to other people today. I'm that guy. I'll save your life. You know? Hey man, I've walked many, many, many, many a fucking drug addict. Since I've been clean, I've walked many a motherfucker clean in my house. No matter how many days it took. One time, [an attempt at getting someone clean] was a ten-day motherfucker. And I've got about a 50/50 [success] rate."
High Times: Do you feel like that it's a karmic payback in a way?
Anselmo: "Oh my God Karma come back in a way? Look at the situation with [former PANTERA/DOWN bassist] Rex Brown. I've tried. I gave it my all and I love Rex Brown with all of my fucking heart and soul. But, goddamnit, he will not put down that fucking bottle for any of us. He is, and has been told, he is going to die. [In 2009 Brown was diagnosed with pancreatitis, a sudden inflammation of the pancreas which can have severe complications and high mortality despite treatment. Ed.] [But] I'm gonna tell you this: He's not gonna die on my time, because he ain't drinking around 'The Kid.' Straight up. And that means he can't be around right now, 'cause he's fucking drinking. And that's that. That's that fucking story in a nutshell. And that's it that's the only rift between me and Rex; other than that, we're fucking best friends. He just can't stop fucking drinking, and that's that."
High Times: Let me ask you the hard question. Do you think that there's any chance, any hope in the future of reconciling with [Dimebag's brother and former PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN and current HELLYEAH drummer] Vinnie [Paul Abbott]?
Anselmo: "I would love to do that one thing. Straight up, I'll say it right here, and I've said it before. And I will fucking regurgitate it My door is open. You hear me? I told you before: I come with love. That means it's a fucking open door, man. I doubt that Vinnie Paul will unlock his door. I know him. Fear controls him. It's a shame, but it always has. Fear controls Vince, and I don't know why, but he fears me. And I love the guy. I love the guy. And I would love to have the fucking opportunity to apologize the way I apologized to my family, to my best friends, and everybody for fucking losing my mind for a period of my life that I fucking regret to this second. I would love to have that opportunity. But, like I said, he's gonna drink and go to a tit bar that he probably owns, and be superficial. And that's sad. Therapy don't come out of a whiskey bottle, Jack. He watched his brother get murdered."
High Times: No one can blame him for being angry, certainly.
Anselmo: "But he has pinned the guilt on the wrong guy. He has pinned the fucking guilt on the wrong guy. And I'll tell you what: I resent it. And I'll say this I spoke with the police officer [Columbus, Ohio cop James D. Niggemeyer] that blew this motherfucker [Nathan Gale] who killed Dimebag blew him away the guy who killed him. And I asked him the hard question. I said, 'Tell me: Did [Gale] purposely shoot just Dimebag?' And he said 'Yes.' And I kind of choked up. And I thought for sure I knew what was gonna come out of his mouth when I said, 'Why? Why did [Nathan Gale] shoot Dimebag?' He said, they went back to [Gale's] apartment, this murdering motherfucker, and he had notebook after notebook stacked notebooks with all about writing how he was gonna kill PANTERA for ripping off his songs. Kill PANTERA, PANTERA. Not once did any of [his writings] name any of us specifically, and if it did, it was all four of us, but it was rare. And so I said to this cop I said, 'So, then, what you mean is had it been me playing with SUPERJOINT [RITUAL] or DOWN that night, this motherfucker would have come after me?' And he just said 'Absolutely.' As a matter of fact, he was crying and all he could do was nod his head 'yes.' Absolutely. And this poor bastard is scarred as well. Very scarred. Not many of us ever blow a fucking person's head off after a mass murder. That's something he'll live with every day. That's something I'll live with every day from a peripheral but fucking absolutely heart-rendering and fucking If people wanna call that soul, fine, but I'm just talking about my fucking brain. I live with this shit every fucking Every other moment of my fucking life, I think about it."