We couldn’t feel more blessed than to have had the opportunity to sit down with legendary frontman Phil Anselmo at the recent Louder Than Life Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. Anselmo played a blistering set with his current band Phil Anselmo and The Illegals on the festival’s main stage. Often looked at as one of the founding fathers of heavy metal, the former lead vocalist of Pantera delighted the Louder Than Life crowd with a set that was chock full of classic Pantera tunes and even at one point performing the band’s hit single “Walk” with members of GWAR on-stage! It was an epic moment to witness!
Phil Anselmo and the Illegals are slated to play the upcoming Aftershock Festival in Sacramento, California, followed by an extensive string of dates opening up for Slayer on the final leg of their farewell world tour. The Final Campaign will commence on November 2nd in Asheville, North Carolina and come to a close November 30th in Los Angeles, California. Additional support will be provided by Primus and Ministry. Playing a special Vulgar Display of Pantera set, the band’s performance will be comprised of ILLEGALS tunes alongside Pantera hits.
In January, the band will make their way to Japan for three special shows with labelmates King Parrot and Palm with more shows to be announced in the weeks to come. Anselmo spoke to us about what it is like to be looked at as a legend in the metal scene saying, “Never in my wildest dreams did I think that we would become part of something so big. It still feels so bizarre sometimes, because I’m laid back and when I meet people I assume that their life is just as complicated as mine and they have their own damn issues. I can’t live in your skin and you can’t live in mine so therefore mutual respect is automatic with me, I try to say hello and be nice to anyone I see out in public. There’s too much anger out in the f**king world”.
When talking to us about his various projects such as his work with the ILLEGALS, Down, Superjoint Ritual and now En Minor, Anselmo says, “It’s very therapeutic for me, as you mentioned to get all these things out of my system stylistically. I told my family and friends that if I didn’t have music in my life I could have been in jail, I could have been dead. I grew up a very angry young boy … a lot of conflicts and still to this day dad issues and that’s nobody else’s problem but mine, so being able to channel that particular anger is very, very, very helpful.”
Speaking about the ILLEGALS, Anselmo says, “All of my guys in the ILLEGALS are great! They are so down to earth and all about the music. I’ve got the youth in the band so that new wave of underground enthusiasm and it feels healthy.” Talking about the changes in the industry, Anselmo comments, “I really wish we could get our record sales back instead of it just being free on the f**king internet.” We told Anselmo that we miss the days of listening to full albums rather than singles and such to which he replies, “People like us, that’s our nostalgia. But is it going to stay there? Everyone says vinyl sales are up … they may be up, but I don’t know if it’s sustainable.”
Lately, the band has added a lot of Pantera into their set, Anselmo tell us, “It’s great to see a more mature and hardcore Pantera fans that grew up with us and their kids growing up in a house where they played Pantera, like with me and my parents … my mom … it was The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix and I grew up with it, it was a staple and you grew up and loved these bands, so having the young blood out there is f**king awesome.”
You can watch our full video interview below! (Please forgive the equipment malfunction on the video/audio … hey, it’s rock n’ roll!)
Interview by: Kristyn Clarke and Jerry Clark