Phil Anselmo interview
Headbanger’s Blog: Everyone knows about the recent low points in your life — the death of Dime, your agonizing back pain, Hurricane Katrina. But all too often, people dwell on the negative. Were there any highlights over the past two years? And if so, what were they?
Anselmo: Rebuilding our lives through a positive placement of the human experience. I have very little back pain. We four New Orleans boys live there. [Bassist] Rex [Brown] is in Texas. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I think of Darrell every day. He comes up in conversation constantly, and it always puts a smile on everyone’s face. There was only ONE Darrell, none better before nor after, as a person first and a guitarist first as well. Also, making this record was insane. Literally. We pushed each other to a higher plane. It was beautiful. It was true, the best therapy of all.
Headbanger’s Blog: You have said that this was the hardest album you’ve ever recorded. Were the battles mental or physical?
Anselmo: Both. When the head goes, the body will surely fall. But it didn’t happen. WILL has always served me well. I was coasting on fumes at the end, but so was [guitarist] Pepper [Keenan] and [producer] Warren [Riker]. Between the three of us, a new reservoir of WILL was tapped into. That was plenty enough to finish properly.
Headbanger’s Blog: When you did “Down II”, you were under the influence of some heavy painkillers. How was it different to do this record completely sober?
Anselmo: It was enjoyable. Sobriety has been kind to me all along, since I embraced it. “Down II” shouldn’t be the only recording pigeon-holed. Remember, every recording I’d ever done since my first demo in 1985 till 2005 or 2006, I was at least drinking, and probably heavily. Also, during “Down II” I had three ruptured discs, and I felt I had nowhere to turn to to really fix me. On “Over the Under” I had the fusion operation, I had strict regiment forced upon me. I needed it. I believe it shows on the new record.
Headbanger’s Blog: Are you ever tempted to go back to drinking and/or taking pills?
Anselmo: Water is pretty tough to give up, and don’t even get me started on Noni juice. Have you ever attempted to swallow a multi-vitamin the size of a horse pill? Trust me, the liquid version is easier, and tastes better.
Headbanger’s Blog: In the past, you’ve been railroaded and exploited by some journalists looking for a sensational story. Do you still mistrust the rock press?
Anselmo: ABSOLUTELY, or I wouldn’t be answering this line of questioning in this format. The music will speak much clearer than 1,000 interviews.