Fear, Emptiness, Decibel: Phil Anselmo Pulls a Lloyd Christmas
Before there were blogs there were these things called magazines, and the only metal magazine we still get excited about reading every month is Decibel. Here’s managing editor Andrew Bonazelli…
Shitheads usually stay shitheads—short of going to AA and finding “God” (Dave Mustaine being a notable exception to that premise). This is not to suggest that Phil Anselmo was a shithead. I vividly remember the anecdote about him pulverizing Pantera’s original vocalist from our December 2010 cover story (“I rag-dolled him, grabbed him by his hair, smashing him off every wall in the bathroom, dragged him out by his shirt and started stomping on his face and chest in front of the whole bar”), and I’m quite certain I don’t want to invite even a fraction of that wrath on myself. So, let’s just say that Phil was polarizing. Drug addiction, ill-advised lyrics and public statements on race, press wars with beloved, now-deceased ex-bandmates—things weren’t looking good for a while.
And then, sometime in the last ten years, he pulled a Lloyd Christmas and totally redeemed himself. He dropped the antagonist act and became an enthusiastic (and hilarious) extreme music ambassador, devoting his time to countless, diverse new projects and granting obscure bands exposure through his Housecore imprint. The man could always talk up a storm, but what comes out now is insightful, gracious, respectful and encouraging—that quality shines in the most recent installment of Converse x Decibel, as Phil covers topics as varied as boxing, chronic back pain and finding inspiration in a new generation of metalheads.
We doubled down on our Phil love with the cover of the January issue, as J. Bennett grills Down’s founding members Anselmo, Kirk Windstein, Pepper Keenan and Jimmy Bower on their latest unconventional approach to recording (four EPs due out over the course of this year and next). It’s available now with the Agoraphobic Nosebleed flexi, a Sarcófago Hall of Fame, and the always shitheaddish, uh, polarizing Top 40 Albums of the Year breakdown, which you’ll surely be flaming any day now.