Philip H. Anselmo's EN MINOR played a special hometown show this past Friday, December 20 at One Eyed Jacks in New Orleans. The intimate performance served as the band's third time ever playing live. EN MINOR's live lineup features Anselmo alongside Stephen Taylor (SUPERJOINT, PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS, WOVEN HAND, 16 HORSE POWER), Kevin Bond (SUPERJOINT, CHRIST INVERSION, ARTIMUS PYLEDRIVER), Paul Webb (THE MYSTICK KREWE OF CLEARLIGHT, MOUNTAIN OF WIZARD), José Manuel "Blue" Gonzalez (PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS, SUPERJOINT, WARBEAST), Calvin and Joiner Dover (THE DOVER BROTHERS), and Steve Bernal (former first cellist in the TEMPLE SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA).
A project inadvertently in the making since Anselmo's earliest days as a child in the French Quarter, EN MINOR is an experimental and eclectic musical endeavor that finds the legendary frontman exploring a softer, graver vocal style, delivering brooding tales of pain, remorse, and sorrow. The band released a self-titled seven-inch EP this summer via Housecore Records, with a proper full-length to see official unveiling in the New Year.
"The initial strains — in the most primitive sense — came about when I was given my first guitar at nine-years old," relays Anselmo of the EN MINOR project. "I didn't have the patience to learn other people's music, so I wrote my own. And some of those early parts are still prevalent in the songs we're working with now. Fast forward to 1988 when I bought my first four-track recorder; those old songs took on a new life and newer songs were written. Heavy metal was at the forefront of my performance-based output, but these little four-track songs were always there. I always had an apprehension about allowing them to be heard though, because they were so different; only a small circle of close friends got to hear them."
By 1993, Anselmo moved back to his hometown of New Orleans and his home became an instant magnet for local musicians and artists. "At ungodly hours, these old four-track songs took on an even newer life jamming with these cats," he says. "We learned a few of the songs and wrote several more, and soon we were recording under the moniker BODY & BLOOD. We wrote more songs, all recorded on a newer model four-track. It was fun. We did it for the vibe. And it was pleasing to break away from multi-tracking studios and heavy metal. Metal music consumed most of our time and lives. Those 'B&B' sessions were damned-near therapeutic."
Without a clear plan for the band, the project remained a periodic therapy session. "We kept things simple and just jammed when everyone was home and played our recordings for friends," he says. "Then I eventually moved again, Hurricane Katrina hit, and life sent all of us in different directions."
In 2012, Anselmo met Stephen "Schteve" Taylor and EN MINOR truly took shape. "He and I began experimenting with some vibey stuff, and soon after began recording the sessions," Anselmo says. "This led to the current incarnation of EN MINOR. Together, we re-worked a few of the old four-track songs and wrote several new ones in short order. These sessions are hypnotic and pulling. And we continue to write songs suitable for this project to this day. Ugly and beautiful, EN MINOR, isn't 'party music.' This is 'kill the party music.'"