Famous Like Me > Composer > A > Phil Anselmo
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Profile of Phil Anselmo
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||30th June 1968
|Place of Birth:
||New Orleans, Louisiana, USA
Philip Anselmo (born June 30, 1968) is a heavy metal vocalist and musician. Although he is best known for his work as a vocalist and lyricist with the now defunct Pantera, Anselmo has been involved with numerous other musical projects in the realm of heavy metal.
Much of Phil's early life remains undocumented at this time, with only hints towards what it may have been like showing up in songs like 25 Years and sporadic pieces popping up in interviews. Phil grew up in inner city New Orleans to an abusive alcoholic father that operated several bars in the area. Though he loved metal, he was especially influenced by the hardcore/crossover scene led by bands such as Cro-Mags, Sick of It All, Rose Tattoo, Agnostic Front, Black Flag, and Warzone.
In his own words, when he was 15 years old he burned his parents' home down and fled to live on the streets. During this time Phil lived on his own with the help of friends he had made growing up. With no education or family Philip committed his life to music. He was involved with the New Orleans metal and hardcore scene in the early to mid-80s, playing several gigs with Razor White and on his own prior to joining Pantera in 1987.
Anselmo replaced Terry Glaze as the lead vocalist for Pantera after Glaze was dropped in 1986. The story behind Anselmo's joining of the band vary, but a popular rumor is that Anselmo jumped on stage during a Pantera show at a New Orleans show during a Priest cover catching the eye of the Vinnie Paul. He made his recording debut on 1988's Power Metal. Though the band maintained a piece of their glam image and sound it had seemed coincidal that with the addition of Anselmo Pantera had instantly taken a slight change in their direction. Philip's vocals were cleaner than Glaze's and delivered with unrivaled energy and passion. With the addition of Anselmo, Power Metal had quickly become a major cult underground hit surpassing the success of Pantera's previous releases.
Soon afterwards Pantera lost their glam sound and image for the more classic metal and thrash inspired 1990s Cowboys from Hell. Phil remains insistent that this album was Pantera's "actual debut". Phil's lyrics in this album was only an inkling of what was to come in later Pantera releases. At this point Pantera had gathered a signifigant following, and few fans of the genre began comparing Phil's high pitched screams on the album to the likes of Judas Priest's Rob Halford and Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson.
In 1992 Philip's lyrics and vocals on Vulgar Display of Power had become far more brutal and personal. Shaving his head and showing a change in attitude, Phil's hardcore and underground influences had suddenly become far more evident. The album became a huge success and is considered one of the most influential heavy metal albums of all time and certainly of the 1990's. Part of this was attributed to Philip's intensly aggressive unique style and stage precense unheard of or seen by a metal band at that time. Simply headbanging on stage and raising fists in the air had become dull and boring; replaced by backflips, hops, and sportsmenlike athleticism. Anselmo had become the aggressive voice of a band that roared with strength, a strength that the scene had desperatly needed at the time. With the extra force that came from Philip Anselmo's dynamic personality and vocal assualt Pantera changed the face of metal to come in 1992, following up with another aggressive assault in Far Beyond Driven in 1994.
While still fronting Pantera, Phil Anselmo joined forces with longtime friends and fellow New Orleans musicians Pepper Keenan, Jimmy Bower, Kirk Windstein and Todd Strange to form Down. Down was more blues-inspired, stoner metal than Pantera. Taking the influences of bands like Saint Vitus, Black Sabbath, and sludge, the Anselmo-fronted NOLA album sold half a million records, a feat considering the band had only played 13 shows and received barely any radio play or media promotion. It is considered by many close Phil fans to be one of his greatest achievements and gained a fanatic cult following that Anselmo labeled as The Brotherhood of Eternal Sleep or just simply the BROHES (pronounced "bros").
Shortly after the release of The Great Southern Trendkill in 1996, Philip overdosed on stage, bringing the hidden truth of his heroin addiction to the masses. He was pronounced dead for four long minutes. He would go cold-turkey and continued playing with the band, not missing a single show, a testament to the man's strength and loyalty to his fans. Though the band carried on, this was considered by some followers of the band to be the beginning of Pantera's demise. It would be another five years before Philip and his peers got back together to record Reinventing The Steel. During this time Philip focused on various side projects, mainly featured as a guitarist in death and black metal bands, such as Necrophagia, Christ Inversion, Eibon and Viking Crown. This is also said to be around the time Anselmo put together the first pieces and recorded the first demos for what would later become Superjoint Ritual.
Phil would continue to tour with Pantera for the next several years. As time continued to pass several rumors had popped up that Philip and Pantera were on the verge of collapse, though Philip and the band insisted that these were nothing more than rumors at that point in time. It is also rumored that around this point Anselmo began using heroin again, which was an addiction that supposedly went on and off again through the end of the of the 1990s.
After Pantera took yet another break, Philip regrouped with Down and released Down II: A Bustle In Your Hedgerow with Pantera bandmate Rex Brown. The album achieved moderate success and Philip's friendship with the Osbournes landed his band as a headlining act for Ozzfest 2003. Though Phillip wished to continue touring with Down, Elektra Records cited that they were cutting off funding because they wished to see more of Pantera. According to Phil, his bandmates from Pantera were not interested in going back to the studio or touring at the time, because they were involving themselves in their own side-affairs. Because of this Phil put his effort into Superjoint Ritual with Jimmy Bower, Kevin Bond, Joe Fazzio and Hank Williams III. At first the band seemed like nothing more than another side-project combining the raw aggression and punk-flavor of old-school hardcore with the negativity and craftsmanship of brutal New Orleans sludge metal. Around this time Anselmo had also slipped back completely into heroin addiction. It was not until later on that year that Vinnie Paul and brother Dimebag Darrell exchanged harsh words with Anselmo, leading to the break-up of the band. The exact nature and reasons behind this is unknown to the public, but due to some of the words shared back and forth between both camps the brothers were tired of Anselmo jumping from side project to side project, nor were they pleased with Anselmo's drug habits. Vinnie Paul even stated that Anselmo was always holding Pantera back, never letting the band experiment or play the music that they wanted to play. Whatever the reason might have been, Pantera was now defunct and Anselmo was left with Superjoint Ritual.
After The Fall of Pantera
In 2002, Superjoint Ritual released Use Once And Destroy, and Phil had made SJR a full-time band, while his Pantera band mates, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul went on to form Damageplan. SJR then released A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred in 2003. SJR became the target of several mixed reviews, but managed to obtain a spot as one of the mainstage bands playing at Ozzfest 2004 playing under Slayer, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath. Anselmo's band would continue to tour across the nation until the tragic death of Dimebag Darrell.
After the horrific and violent murder of ex-Pantera bandmate Dimebag Darrell, Phil became more reclusive than usual and had hinted at retiring completely. He later released an official statement describing the anguish of losing "a brother" and also mentioned that Pantera would have reunited eventually. Anselmo said he had considered retiring, but instead took a long hiatus. During this time close friends of Philip would update on his situation, claiming that Anselmo had finally kicked his drug habits and hoped he could reconcile with former bandmates and fans.
Recently rumors have been abound that Phil is doing a project with Kirk Windstein, which is supposed to be similar in style to Southern Isolation (project of his ex-wife Stephanie "Opal" Weinstein), called Body and Blood, though chances are this is simply another one of Philip's several jam-bands. Several songs credited to Body and Blood appeared on the soundtrack to the pseudo-documentary The Manson Family in 2003.
In mid August 2005, Phil made his first public appearance since Dimebag's death as a replacement guitar player for an Eyehategod show at the world famous CBGB's. Since then Anselmo has become a bit more open and it has been confirmed by close friend Jimmy Bower and Pepper Keenan that Anselmo okayed the revival of the sleeping beast that was Down. Anselmo and the gang were apparently going to hit the studios by the end of 2005 at the latest, but after the wake of Hurricane Katrina which effectively destroyed New Orleans (the homebase of the Down unit) we may not hear of any recordings until sometime in 2006.
All appearances are as a vocalist, unless mentioned otherwise.
- Power Metal (Pantera) (1988)
- Cowboys From Hell (Pantera) (1990)
- Vulgar Display of Power (Pantera) (1992)
- Crowbar (Crowbar) Producer,Backing Vocals (1993)
- Demo Collection 1992-1993 (Down) (1993)
- Far Beyond Driven (Pantera) (1994)
- Obey The Will Of Hell(demo) (Christ Inversion Guitars,Backing Vocals) (1994)
- 13th Century Luciferian Rites(demo) (Christ Inversion Guitars,Backing Vocals) (1995)
- NOLA (Down) (1995)
- Demo (Superjoint Ritual Guitars, Vocals) (1995)
- The Great Southern Trendkill (Pantera) (1996)
- 40 More Reasons To Hate Us (Anal Cunt Backing Vocals/Vocals On 'Gloves Of Metal') (1996)
- Demo (Superjoint Ritual Guitars, Vocals) (1997)
- Holocausto De La Morte (Necrophagia Guitars) (1998)
- Unorthodox Steps of Ritual (Viking Crown Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Drums) (1999)
- Black Blood Vomitorium (Necrophagia Guitars) (1999)
- Reinventing the Steel (Pantera) (2000)
- Innocence From Hell (Viking Crown Guitars, Bass, Drums) (2000)
- Cannibal Holocaust EP (Necrophagia Guitars) (2001)
- Banished Rhythmic Hate (Viking Crown Guitars, Bass, Drums) (2001)
- Southern Isolation (Southern Isolation Guitars, Vocals) (2001)
- Down II: A Bustle in Your Hedgerow (Down) (2002)
- Use Once and Destroy (Superjoint Ritual Guitars, Vocals) (2002)
- A Lethal Dose of American Hatred (Superjoint Ritual Guitar, Vocals) (2003)
- Phil's own words on the death of Dimebag
- A fan site (in French)
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