Keith Chachkes of Ghost Cult magazine recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current DOWN singer Philip Anselmo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Ghost Cult: What made this the right project to become your first true solo album?
Anselmo: I guess when I wrote the fucker, that was my intention the whole time. I have done so many projects in my career that were just what they were meant to be, single-album or two-album projects, and then move on. This one it could go either way. You need to look at what is going on in my life when I wrote this record. The only thing I was doing at the time, and am still doing is DOWN, for sure. I think I played a few ARSON ANTHEM gigs, but ARSON is a something that is give or take. Put it this way, as you know Mike IX Williams is very busy, he is the singer of EYEHATEGOD, and they are very busy as of late. I very much consider that a side project that can live or die. When I sat down to write this record, I knew it was very unique and whatnot. I wanted to make a record and put my name on it, without having to use this brand new title of a band for everyone to buy into or some shit like that. Because I really wrote this album from the ground up, where as other projects are really collaboration between me and other artists. It feels very personal to me, and I didn't want to confuse anyone. I wanted everyone to know it was coming from me. This is my gift to you, so be it.
Ghost Cult: Is it fair to say that "Walk Through Exits Only" seems to be an assault on the shitty state of music, and the culture music business, metal or otherwise?
Anselmo: Well you know, I don't like to spoonfeed the listener too terribly much. I like for them to do what you just did, which is to assume what the lyrics are trying to articulate. Now, I do have some pointed lyrical content in this stuff. Case in point would be the title of the record, "Walk Through Exits Only". I picked that title because it's vague enough for anyone to read into it, and take it and make it for themselves to be what they want it to be. It can mean one hundred different things to one hundred different people. Whether it is an assault on the music industry people are picking up on, or my disdain for people, or this, that or the other. Understand that is it is also a record where I am screaming at myself a whole lot. There is a great deal of sarcasm and tongue-in-cheek lyrical content in there. Really, I wanted to be the architect, and let people finish off their own building, so to speak, and let them make it their own.
Ghost Cult: I understand you are penning your memoirs, due out next year. So why is now a good time in Phil Anselmo's life to write his memoirs?
Anselmo: Really, I think it will be interesting because it's not just a PANTERA book, and really it's the story of my life. Honestly, a whole a lot had happened in my life before PANTERA, and even a whole lot has happened since PANTERA. The journey on the way before I was in PANTERA: it took a whole lot of work and circumstance for me to even be in that great a band with those fucking elite musicians. And then for me, there's a lot more to the PANTERA story than the negative that people thrive on, man. There are some absolutely fantastic memories, some upbeat memories and beautiful memories of PANTERA for me. These are life-changing things, and life-lesson things, and brotherhood in there. I am not out to write a bitter memoir. There is no bitterness, man, really. There is a lot of truth that I am not going to shy away from, that may not paint the prettiest picture, particularly of myself. I am very critical of myself and I am definitely my biggest critic, as clichéd as that might sound. It's true. But I think I have definitely come a long way in the last ten years or so. I am comfortable in my skin right now, and I think the journey and the battles that I have won in life, have been positive things. And I am not ashamed to admit that. I am the kind of guy that likes to put one foot in front of the other, and I'd like to explain that, and how I got to be that way. How I got to overcome a lot of obstacles in life that I think a great percentage of people struggle with in life. Everything, whether it be drug addiction, and everything from family life, and non-family life. Even being alone and dealing with things on a singular level. There's a lot of interesting things in there. It's going to be a severely nose-to-the-grind-stone type of writing process for throughout the rest of the year, and the next few months. Hopefully we get everything sussed out, and we get this book out on time, and I'm looking forward to it.
Read the entire interview at Ghost Cult.