During a September 2019 interview with "The Chuck Vans Show", Philip Anselmo spoke about "Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue", the second album from his PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS solo project, which was released earlier this year via Anselmo's Housecore Records in the U.S. and Season Of Mist in other parts of the world. Asked if he approached the making of the new LP differently to the way PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS' debut, 2013's "Walk Through Exits Only", was written and recorded, the former PANTERA singer said (hear audio below): "A lot different. [The new album is] raw as fuck. Necro production was in order. I know a lot of people are bitching and moaning about that: 'Oh, it doesn't sound like a PANTERA record.' It was, like, 'No shit.' I didn't want it to, really; it wasn't supposed to.
"Aside from that, every album, every journey, every band that I've done has its own path, has its own characters and whatnot," he continued.
"This group of guys — they're great guys. Everybody's got their heads screwed on right. And it feels good to be aware, it feels good to be awake and alive to experience it, man. It's the truth."
Anselmo also talked about the lyrical themes covered on "Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue", saying: "Ten months ago, if the question came up, would I care if I woke up tomorrow? I would feel very justified in saying, 'I don't care at all.' But now — now — I very much give a fuck. Pardon my language, but I do give a fuck.
"I think people just need to talk a little more. People are more alike than they are different. So, I would suggest speaking up, man."
A year ago, Anselmo told Desde El Underground TV that he takes mental illness "really seriously." He explained: "I mean, look no further than what happened to my guitar player from PANTERA for me to be very, very concerned with mental illness. So I would say for people to talk to each other, love each other and put love first. And if you put love first, things normally work out. It can't happen every time, but, hey, man… You've gotta stay tight."
Anselmo went on to say that he is not immune to the effects of mental illness. "I guess being injured — my entire career being plagued with injuries — it ends up fucking with the brain a little bit," he explained. "And there's so many different levels to it. Sometimes you can just wake up and it's [snaps fingers] like that. Sometimes it'll take a small thing to put you over and you're in a dark place. But, for me, I think, with the band I have, the good guys I have and the love that they show me, back and forth, the friendship that we have, it helps a great deal. Plus writing the music and getting to perform the stuff, it helps a lot with coping, man, and just dealing with stuff."
He added: "I always say, as a person, just like everybody else… Human beings are one step away from disaster, no matter what, so it's kind of up to the rest of us to watch each other's backs, help each other up when we're down and just make sure we don't take that one step too far."
On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was shot and killed onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of PANTERA were stealing his thoughts.
This past January, Anselmo undwent back surgery — the latest in a line of corrective procedures designed to helped him deal with the damage to his back, neck, and knees sustained over three decades of touring.