I love Phillip H. Anselmo. I belong to his cult of personality. And it’s a very deserved reputation for this particular man. He’s a man of many faces. Pantera. DOWN. eyehategod. Housecore Records. King Parrot. Housecore Horror. Corey Mitchell. Phil is many things to many people, and to me, he’s an amazingly talented lyricist and vocalist, someone with an ear for upcoming artists, a creative, and straight up.. and all around good fucking dude. Like many who retain a cult of personality, he isn’t without controversy. And whether you love him or hate him, he’s one of the biggest names out there in the industry, and he granted me the very distinct privilege to pick his brain about the new upcoming Illegals record, “Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue”, all things horror, and why you should never ever read the comments.
(I took this video at Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin, Texas in 2013. Phil has one of the earliest DrunkInAGraveyard.com stickers)
RG: This is Robin from Drunk in a Graveyard.
PA: Oh hey Robin, I know you. Drunk in a Graveyard, I know this little online zine.
RG: We gave you a shirt back at Housecore, done photos, chilled out. You know us. Your buddy Perry used to write for us. (Click through for his thoughts on Phil’s “wine power” incident, his thoughts on Van Halen, and an open letter to David Dramian eloquently titled “Dear David Fuckknob”).
PA: I do know this.
RG: And we used to be pretty good friends with your buddy Corey Mitchell.
PA: Rest in peace, my brother.
RG: How incredibly sad. He was actually the guy who gave me the courage to pick up a camera and start taking photographs at concerts.
PA: Well he was that kind of guy, he was an ideas man, and boy when he got a fucking idea, I’ll be damned if he didn’t wanna see it through to the bitter end, and it’s a very ironic statement considering what happened. Such an inspirational man, is I guess what I was getting at. So I’m not surprised that he inspired you to do such a thing, I’m really not surprised. Just another testament to his staying power and his memory. God damn, I loved that guy. To this very day, I still do.
RG: We really did as well. We do, too. Sometimes, I find myself waiting, after I post things (on the site) – Corey used to send me e-mails when I would post things and be like, “Girl, what are you on? What are you even talking about?”, and sometimes I still find myself waiting for those, and it hits me, that you know, he’s gone, and it hurts. It still hurts. (You can read my initial tribute to Corey’s passing in 2014, and the one I wrote two years later. Our words were used in a video remembering Corey. He was a wonderful man, and a kind spirit, and may he rest well.)
PA: It does, it’s sad. Well go ahead then, tear into it. Robin, kick my ass.
RG: Well I apologize for earlier (technical issues with my recorder), I’m not very technologically advanced.
PA: Don’t even worry about it. I’m over here beating rocks against the ground, and I’m trying to send smoke signals still. I’m a fucking Neanderthal.
RG: It’s all good, I got the smoke signals.
PA: Good, well, I’m glad you read it, because the pigeon’s late.
RG: Well I had to eat the pigeons. I was hungry so I ate them.
PA: Well at least you eat what you kill.
RG: How were your holidays and New Year?
PA: Mellow, very mellow. How can I put this.. well, a duality of cardiac history occured. My step father who has been a very good friend of mine, since I got out of the house when I was fifteen, he, and my blood actual father, who, I could say many things about but choose not to, both of them had strokes over the goddamn holidays, like, like two days apart, so that was interesting.
RG: Oh my god.
PA: Yeah, I’ve got a complicated history with my family, so I’m just gonna leave it at that. So, yeah man, aside from that.
RG: That sucks.
PA: I guess my football team is in the championships or playoffs, so at least that part has been fun. Other than that I’ve just been writing lyrics, I’ve just been fucking zoning out, not really into any particular style of music or whatever. Music right now is kinda.. I’m kinda having a dry spell. I guess nothing is really pulling me one way of another. It’s really neutral in a strange way and I go through periods like this here and there, but other than that, I’ve just been writing a lot of lyrics, and really into true crime and serial killer documentaries. I’ve been tripping on all kinds of old shit I used to trip on like Edmund Kemper and shit like that.
RG: Oh, have you been watching Mindhunter?
PA: You know what, everyone’s been telling me to watch that show, but I have yet to indulge. I was freakin sadly disappointed with Black Mirror this season, it just didn’t pack the wallop for me. I guess I’m still recovering from that. I guess I need to gather the strength and courage to sally forth into some other television programming.
RG: Well, Mindhunter was good, but Black Mirror didn’t really do much for me this season.
PA: Well I liked season 1 to 3, but damn, it just wasn’t really my thing, but that’s always going to be debatable and subjective of course, just like music, film, or even food. It wasn’t my cup of tea.
RG: So tell me about the new album “Choosing Mental Illness as a Virtue”? Where did that name come from?
PA: It’s derived from the song itself, “Choosing Mental Illness” and eventually you know, I was like, this does encapsulate the overall… I guess, for context when I was coming up with a title for the record, I was thinking that that song title kinda encapsulates the overall of the record from a subject.. from a lyrical subject perspective, but I added the “virtue” part, because I’m a fortunate motherfucker. I can and always have the rational.. well.. don’t get me wrong, I’ve been irrational.. but at least, I haven’t thrown a meaningful punch in twenty years, and at least I have this thing called song writing, and devotion to one’s craft. Well, songwriting specifically, to get a lot of steam off of my chest, and a lot of ideas out of my mind, so at least I have that outlet. A lot of people who struggle with any form of depression especially, it’s I guess more or less concentrating on how to take a big bundle of negative energy and apply it positively. That is always the challenge. Such is life.
RG: You recently ran into some issues with, I like to call them, the SJW’s – the social justice warriors of metal and the song on “Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue” ‘Little Fucking Heroes’, that’s a bit of a dig I assume?
PA: Well, it’s a great interpretation on your part man. It’s a great interpretation. Nice picking up on that, you’re the first one so far. But I like the fact that people are starting to dig into the lyrics a bit and trip out on them, but look look – to be clear – when I write a song, from title to final word, I like to make a song super subjective and what I mean by super subjective is that I purposefully make, even depending on if it’s one word or an entire sentence, I make it to where I want a certain backdrop or imagery there. I want people to be able to interpret it themselves, as I was saying, because between words and entire lines, there are triple meanings sometimes, if not, double meanings, quadruple meanings, and anything could mean several different things. What’s interesting to me is when you lay out something like that as a palette so to speak and you sit back and listen to what certain people are picking up on, or interpreting these songs as. So far, I’ve had like five or six different interpretations of different songs that are so out of freaking left field that I hadn’t even thought of them. All of that just perpetuates the lore of the song and that for me is great, no matter what. Let people take it, run with it, imagine it, trip out on it, whatever. But, uh, sharp stuff on your end there, interpreter.
RG: Well I’ve had similar run ins with those kind of people, and just so we are clear, we very much have your back on this one. I wrote a little piece on our site about it, and I get very weary with people telling me, or trying to tell me what I should be offended by.
PA: You absolutely should be weary of it. Because it’s fucking ridiculous. I don’t give a shit where it comes from, the media, the fucking news, the talking heads all… Not the band but the fucking people on any television network to be super clear. Any of these motherfuckers… politicians especially, but absolute strangers. That’s one thing about the internet… whoever came up with the concept of the comments section is probably one of the most evil genuises of our time. Everyone’s an expert, everyones a mind reader, everyone’s a moral perfectionist that have never made a mistake in their lives, and look – From those absolute strangers to politicans to the biggest and most well known actors, actresses, and all those assholes.. anyone who’s gonna start preaching some sort of moral high ground, when I goddamn well fucking know that human beings are the most complex imperfect things on the face of the fucking earth, the fact that we have, that human kind has this thing called intelligence, intellect, sometimes makes us the most ridiculous, absurd motherfuckers in the world.
PA: So all this motherfuckin’ virtue signalling, “look at me I’m one of the good ones” type fucking people, they’re weaklings honestly. They’re weaklings and that’s all there is to it. I think people should think for themselves, be themselves and take what you wanna take in and all, but look man, first things first.. Look, when I say weaklings, I’m meaning the herd mentality. I don’t like that. I’ve always championed individualism. Always. If you can’t stand on your two damn legs in this world you don’t get many props. We don’t get many props, eventually you have to stand on your own two legs, because everyone around you is eventually going to have to do the same thing. What that does is dissassociate you from the group at some point. So no matter what, whatever group you wanna join, whatever group you wanna group yourself in, at the end of the day, you are alone. When you close your eyes, you may dream similar dreams to other people, but at the end of the day, they’re fucking unique. All these dreams that can’t be explained or interpreted perfectly, because of all of our imperfections. Yes, we should have empathy but it sure seems like everyone champions this preachy empathy and they’re the first ones to throw a rock if anyone disagrees with their opinion. It’s also very easy to walk away from and ignore. There’s also one thing I’ve learned, there’s an online world and a real world and it’s good to get out and get some fucking fresh air sometimes.
RG: Oh absolutely, that’s been my new big thing actually, is never reading the comments because they’re cancer.
PA: Yep and I skip em. I avoid them completely.
RG: Oh they just make me enraged, like in Kill Bill where Beatrix Kiddo gets the red flashing beep-beep when she’s angry, that’s what it does to me.
PA: Yeah, because I think.. well if I’m reading you correctly, visuallizing what you just explained to me, is just completely avoiding the comments section because you’re reacting to something you damn well know is meant to suck in and lead you into something that can spiral and spiral for as long as you allow. It’s a mechanism of insanity because it’s not having a conversation with somebody. It usually devolves into just garbage… even if someone comments thoughtfully or even enlightened on a certain subject or enhances the subject wonderfully, and for every one of those comments there’s what at least, one hundred negative comments just because.
RG: Oh, if not more.
PA: Exactly. Its futile. It’s a futile exercise, man.
RG: Well and if there’s two opposing points of view, you’re never going to change someone’s mind by screaming in their face and everything just devolves into name calling, and school yard shit. I’m too old for that shit, man.
PA: Oh yeah it’s very very childlike.
RG: You reference George Orwell’s 1984 and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies on the album – are you a big reader?
PA: Yes, I am actually.
RG: What are you reading right now?
PA: Believe it or not, I am reading a collection of short stories, they’re hard to find, but it’s the second volume I’ve been able to find and it’s a collection of Rod Serling’s favourite short stories. I’m a huge Rod Serling fan, and not many people know him, or they know him for his TV work. He wrote a handful of books, several books, and a lot of his stories were made into Twilight Zone episodes, Night Gallery episodes, and his books are incredibly descriptive. He’s a gifted writer. You could tell that he himself was a disciple of Lovecraft. He was very stripped down and of the times, you know, the forties and fifties and what was going on then and he was very very intelligent and a wonderful writer. This is his second book of a different era.. second book of his favourite short stories that really influenced him later in life. Later in the 1970s he put out two books in particular – “Witches, Werewolves, and Warlocks” and the other one.. god damn, I can’t remember it. But I have it. It’s great. Under those monikers it really helped him develop as a storyteller. I really like finding out you know, the chicken or the egg type of stuff with reading. Finding out where it all came from.
RG: I know you’re a big horror movie fan, I attended Housecore Horror in 2013/2014 – What are some horror movies you’re currently digging?
PA: Man, I have been on an old tripped out weird incomprehensive British Television trip. There was so many awesome shows on British television back in the 1970s. It’s like man, how many of these shows were there? Yesterday I was watching this show called Shadows and its like I said, the most bizarre, dry, 1970s, awkward, uncomprehensive but weirdo stories ever man. I’m a fan of, of loving and adoring the low culture of the 1980s man. Richard Kern’s movies. Stark, black and white, punk rock, borderline pornographic, necrophiliac flicks and his crazy stuff. I love bad cinema if it’s done correctly. I adore it. A lot of people do. Christ, there’s a big market for certain movies that are just famously terrible. Count me in as one of those fuckin’ nerds. I love bad cinema, man. I’m lumping in some of those British shows with maybe some of the worst shit I’ve ever seen, but it keeps me captivated with it’s over abundance of absurd awfulness. I love it man.
RG: Oh I understand completely. I also love bad cinema.
PA: I know you do. I bet.
RG: So what’s some music you’ve been listening to lately? You said you were going through a dry spell.
PA: Like I said, I’ve been going through a dry patch, and I guess lately, because I’ve been writing a lot of lyrics,.. Let me look at the last playlist I made. I’ve got Jacula, Popol Vuh, Captain Beyond, Goblin, Burzum, fuckin.. shit… A bunch of stuff that a lot of friends of mine sent me.. Everything from Beherit to Tangerine Dream.
RG: So for our last couple questions here, this is the Drunk in a Graveyard “Lightning Round”, and Perry is actually the one who created this and was responsible for the idea, so you can thank him for that.
PA: Thank you Perry.
RG: Okay so I’m gonna give you two options and you pick the one you prefer,
RG: Puppies or Kitties?
PA: Aw man. Can I say that? Can that be my answer?
PA: Alright that’s my answer.
RG: Daffodils or daisies?
PA: I’m trying to picture a daffodil.
RG: They’re yellow.
PA: Which one is smaller.
PA: Okay, I’ll go with a daisy.
RG: Tea or coffee?
RG: Hash or weed?
RG: Digital or Analog?
PA: Analog for sure.
RG: Smoking weed or eating weed?
PA: God damn you. Eating it. It’s true it’s like this new thing for me, it’s like this.. what a new world, it’s awesome.
RG: Oh yeah when you eat it, you go to space for sure.
PA: It’s great.
RG: Black metal or death metal?
PA: Aw man. That’s my answer. I mean right now death metal but my mood could flip tomorrow.
RG: Nu metal or metalcore?
PA: Neither. Blank.
RG: Punk or goth?
PA: Goth. Or wait.. that’s kind of like an Aw man tho.
RG: You said Goth though.
RG: Tits or ass?
PA: What is it?
RG: Tits or ass?
RG: Ass 100%!
RG: Haunted house movie or slasher?
PA: Haunted house.
RG: Soo, I’ve got one last question for you, since our website is called Drunk in a Graveyard, we center around metal, horror movies, and getting drunk and stoned with our friends – what is the horror movie you would pick and the intoxicant of choice would you pair with it? It’s like a wine and a food pairing.
PA: I would go with Evil Dead 1 and 1 only.. I’ll make it a double feature. I would go Old Dark House at midnight with champagne, and olive oil and balsamic vinegar marinated mushrooms and red pepper with pasta ascutta on the side with a light salad with a light vinaigrette. Then at 2am I would show Evil Dead 1 with mushroom pizza with red sauce, not white, and for me I’d go with a rose wine, because if I go with red wine it’s too heavy and white wine, well we both know there’s a big problem there, so I’m gonna say rose for the evening and that’s coming from a dude who hasn’t had a drink in freakin’.. man going on two years.
RG: Oh wow. Rose. I love a good rose. You also get the honor of being Drunk in a Graveyard’s first double feature answer.
PA: Aw man thanks!
RG: Those are some great pairings, I love it.
PA: Thank you, it was a blast, this was a great interview. Anytime anywhere sister.
RG: We love you!
PA: So much love right back to you, it goes back both ways.
So thank you to Phil for sitting down with me. Thank you to Earsplit and Liz for your endless patience and kindness.
You can find Phil online at Housecore Records, where you can pre-order the latest Illegals record, “Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue” and you can also check out other offerings. He’s also on the facebook, twitter
You can find The Illegals on Facebook.