Former PANTERA frontman Philip Anselmo says that he got a lot of "support and love and understanding" from friends and fellow musicians after controversy erupted when a video surfaced of him giving the right-arm salute and yelling a white-supremacist slogan at a California concert.
Anselmo performed the PANTERA classic "Walk" at the January 2016 "Dimebash" event at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood 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 later claimed he was joking about drinking white wine backstage and was reacting to the audience members up front who he says were taunting him.
"I own what I did, but did I mean it at all? Absolutely fucking not," Anselmo told The Daily Times. "I got nothing but love for everybody and anybody, but we live in a day and age of online piling on. You know it's going to happen if you walk your own walk. You're going to get people who love you and who hate you. It just comes with the territory."
In the days following the incident, MACHINE HEAD's Robb Flynn — who played PANTERA songs with Anselmo at "Dimebash" — released an eleven-minute response video in which he denounced Anselmo as a "big bully" and a racist. He concluded by saying that he would never play another PANTERA song again. ANTHRAX's Scott Ian, who is Jewish, released a statement on his official web site saying, "Philip's actions were vile" and invited Anselmo to make a donation to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
However, not everyone was quick to judge Anselmo, with a number of friends and fans around the world reaching out to reassure him of their knowledge of his true intentions.
"You wouldn't believe the amount of support I got from my fellow peers in the business — straight-up support and love and understanding of me because they know me, and they know I don't have [an] ounce of literal hate in my body," he told The Daily Times. "I might show angst, and I might get angry at a few things and get a lot off my chest when I needed to, but after that, I'm done with it, man. That's that. It's something I can walk away from and move forward."
This was not the first time Anselmo made comments from the stage that were perceived as racist. At a March 1995 PANTERA concert at Montreal's Verdun Auditorium, Anselmo babbled forth in a stream-of-consciousness rant, uttering statements that included "rap music advocates the killing of white people." The Montreal Gazette reported on the incident, causing an international flurry and resulting in Anselmo releasing an open apology.
The new album from Philip's SUPERJOINT project, "Caught Up In The Gears Of Application", was released last November via Anselmo's Housecore record label.