Philip Anselmo: an American classic

February 22, 2008


Never underestimate the kid–you’re fuckin’ crazy if you do!
And oh, by the way, I’m the kid.”
Phil Anselmo
I went to see Down last Friday night–paid for a babysitter and everything. In 1992, Down originated as a Pantera side project including Anselmo, two dudes from C.O.C. and two dudes from Crowbar. Their debut recording,
considered by many a cornerstone of the Southern Metal subgenre, came out in 1995. Truth be told, it was probably my favorite thing to listen to in the late 90’s.
An integral part of Down, however, is singer Phil Anselmo and his wacky stage banter. I had not experienced this since Feb. 1999, when i witnessed Pantera open for Sabbath at the Nassau Coliseum, Long Island.
Pantera opened with this song, and I tripped the fuck out.
As you might imagine, Long Island’s finest citizens came out for this performance. If you live in the city or Brooklyn, I highly recommend taking the train/bus out there for an Islanders game or some shit–good times. Truth be told, Anselmo did, in fact, advocate smoking weed at the 1999 show, as he did Friday night. He also repeatedly exclaimed “Let’s rock!” before the band went into a “breakdown” part. At another point, he prevented a fight by addressing a fan and doing that “eye contact” thing where you point to your eyes and then at the person, saying “Look here, brother, anger is just one fuckin’ moment in your life–let it pass!”
Sage advice, indeed.
Sometimes I wonder of Anselmo’s stage persona is really how he is or if it’s just an act–like a pro wrestler. In any event, he is one of the most entertaining dudes out there. For example, at the Long Island show, he asked the crowd “Who here is on acid?” When a few individuals applauded, he replied “You’re full of shit!” Subsequently, Pantera covered “Cat Scratch Fever” and immediately went into the beginning of “Raining Blood,” with Dimebag handing his guitar to Anselmo, who nailed the intro solo. Good times–good times, indeed.

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