by Chris Krovatin
I'm nervous about talking to Phil Anselmo. Having interviewed almost all of my metal idols already, I should be hardened to any sense of celebrity or awe, right? But I'm nervous. Not only am I talking to the man who will always be the great metal frontman of my generation, but I'm talking to him about horror, something I love and that Phil knows more about than most musicians. I can't fuck this up. I have to be on.
But my nerves, my stoic journalism face, it all goes out the window within seconds, because when I get Phil on the phone, he's instantly laid-back, funny, and gracious. The first thing he does is apologizes: "My phone line's fucked up. I'm out here in the fuckin' woods, and it's storming...you can hear the buzz on the line, right?" And when we get onto horror, forget about it. Phil isn't just an expert, he's a die-hard fan, and by the end of the interview we're yelling at each other about found-footage ghosts stories and classic slasher films like two dudes sharing a joint in a basement with Martin on.
Obviously, I couldn't fit the entire meat of our conversation into my Horror News profile of Phil's upcoming Housecore Horror Festival. But for your Halloween pleasure, here's an extra bit of Mr. Anselmo and myself fanboying out over all things gruesome and gory.
REVOLVER To get into the fest itself—I have a lot of questions, but first off, looking at the date, why not do it on Halloween weekend?
PHIL ANSELMO The biggest reason is, in Texas, they're so many other competitors as far as film festivals go, and we figured this isn't necessarily a Halloween event. At least the first two years, we did a run-up to Halloween. But horror for me is a year-round thing, which I'm sure it is for your average big fan anyway. I watch at least a horror film a night, no matter what. So really, I have no problem with it being where it is. And also, we have the luxury of having that Friday the 13 date with King Diamond. So I guess with all the superstitions and all the dates possible, that's a good one to land.
That's an interesting idea—Halloween is like the horror St. Patrick's Day, the amateur hour. This way, you get rid of the fair-weather fans, so that only the real horror fans come out.
The real horror fans, but also the extreme music fans, which is a 24-hour seven-days-a-week job. Hell, the first shit I took today, I was listening to Portal! I live it, man, I live it!
You have so many amazing bands on this lineup, many of them putting in very rare appearances—is there any one act that gets you giddy every time you think of it?
Well, first and foremost, you gotta take a look at King Diamond. To me, that's huge because I was there, when I was a kid back in the '80s, fishing around in the rare vinyl section of this rare music shop. There it was, the first Mercyful Fate EP, and all I had in my pocket was my allowance, and of course every cent was going to some overpriced record. And you gotta realize, there's only four songs on that first Mercyful Fate EP, and it was like twenty-something bucks. And that's about all I had. And I dropped every goddamn dime on that motherfucker, and I was not disappointed! And I've been a fan ever since. And then, if you look at the connection: the King himself moved to Texas probably a couple years before I did if not right around the same time. And we got to be very good friends. He was a big supporter of what Pantera was doing, and believe it or not he was at the very first Superjoint gig we played in Dallas. So he's always been there, through thick and thin. And I guess…two years ago? When he made his comeback after his health issues, Down played the same exact festival in Copenhagen that he played, and it was basically his big homecoming, his first gig back in God know how long. And dude, I was right in front of the stage, in the photographer's pit with a bunch of guys, and it sounded like the fucking record, it sounded so fucking good. It was an insane show. It's going to be a spectacle, but not only that, it's got stellar musicianship, and then you've got the King himself, who's sounding better than ever. I'm definitely looking forward to that, but I wasn't only a metal kid. Having bands like Dropdead, Cripple Bastards from Italy, and fucking Negative Approach—my God, Poison Idea! There's not a band on the bill who doesn't do something for me, or who I haven't met personally and had a blast with. It's like a big three-day family reunion.
One of the things I love is how much diversity there is. You've got King Diamond, who's so grandiose, but then you have Agoraphobic Nosebleed the next night and Goblin the night after that. It really runs the gamut, and not enough of these festivals do that anymore!
It is a horror festival, and I think that there are a lot of bands who have touched on the horror theme besides extreme metal bands. A band like Goblin has such a history, with the full Argento/Fulci connection, that it's a no-brainer. I've been a fan of soundtracks, whether it be Jerry Goldberg or a band like Jacula or Antonius Rex. I've been a fan for quite a while now. I love horror theme music of all sorts. So I think it's only fitting that they're here. And if these bands are available, and they want to play the festival, I think it's a perfect fit for me, no matter how different in genre style they may be. This is a horror fest, so they belong.
In my research, I could find the band line-up but there wasn't a film list. Is there anything you can tell me about?
We're still finalizing a bunch of that stuff right now, and it should be posted ASAP. One thing I can talk about is the Bob Clark/Alan Ormsby films we'll be showing, like Deranged, and Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things, and Deathdream. Believe it or not, I do believe Alan Ormsby himself, and his wife Anya—Alan was in Children… and his wife was in that and Deathdream—they're coming out, and it's going to be a blast to meet them because I've been a fan for so long. I have yet to personally meet them, but oh my God, I'm going to be starstruck! Because they were mainstays in my house, whether I was in an apartment or in my house, for years…if I ever wanted to show something extreme to someone, look no further than a film like Deranged, which I still feel, to this day, is the best Ed Gein film ever made. The most effective one. It's totally the Ed Gein story with different names. Graphic as fuck. So those films, I can definitely promise. And then there's a list of films that, if we get a thumbs-up on, man, I'm gonna be walking around semi-erect the entire goddamn festival.
Great, now I'll spend the rest of my time researching this article, thinking, I hope Phil is semi-erect somewhere out there.
Ridiculous. I love it! We thrive on the absurd, man.
It's cool hearing you talk about Deranged. When I was a teenager, I bought a double-feature DVD of Deranged and Motel Hell, and it blew my mind.
That's a great double feature!
The scene where he pulls out the belly drum…
'This is a belly drum!' Oh my GOD. And he did it, too. He was trying to impress the waitress! Great scene. Sitting at the table with his bevy of corpses, his mother and shit…
And you're right, it feels extreme today. It's not dated at all, it's still starkly upsetting.
I think that's an element that's missing from today's horror! There's a lot of shock horror out there, to a certain degree. But what makes Deranged very unique, aside from the absolute gore and the fantastic cinematography, especially of Ezra Cobb, as they call him…like when he's on her mother's deathbed, where he's trying to feed her soup to coughing up blood? What's amazing is that they cut from a scene like that to the reporter, giving his whole report on the account. And it's like, fucking hell, man, they don't make movies like that anymore! It's so genuine, so beautiful.
They're not trying to doll it up with a lot of flickering lights and ambient sounds, it's very straightforward, and that's somehow extra-shocking.
What you just did was sum up today's movies in a nutshell pretty well. Especially, ugh, found-footage movies, which, at this point, are so overdone and actually boring and hackneyed. You watch forty-five minutes of that shit, of five college friends getting together and going to the woods, looking for something—could be Bigfoot, could be a supernatural entity! And while they're filming, the minute the entity is supposed to make its first appearance, the camera starts flickering, lights start strobing, and you never really see the fucking thing except for a clawed man or a little girl with the twinge of CGI where they open their mouths really fucking wide and scream at you. This is not scary at all. This is bullshit. And you look at any of those old movies! Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things is the most ANTI-modern film you can get. And somehow through this shit called 'Excellent direction' and 'Excellent acting', you actually feel something for these performers other than, I can't wait for these annoying motherfuckers to get offed.
God, you nailed it on the little girl thing. Every movie has a little girl with a too-wide mouth or an upside-down head.
It SUCKS! You want a found-footage film that will blow your fucking mind? Go pick up this movie called Cannibal Holocaust where they all ripped it off from to begin with.
Holy shit, CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST IS A FOUND-FOOTAGE MOVIE. I never put two and two together!
No shit! But first and foremost, the film is good. Second, the gore and effects are great the whole fucking time. And third, you had actors and actresses in that film who actually took a fucking beating and got their hands dirty filming these films that were cutting edge.
For more info and to get tickets to Housecore Horror Film Festival, visit their website.
The following is an excerpt from the Trivium feature in the December issue of Revolver. Here, frontman Matt Heafy answers fan questions for our Going Postal feature such as what cuisines he likes to prepare, his favorite Japanese legend, onstage mishaps, and more.
To read the rest, pick up the new issue on newsstands November 3 or get your copy here. Story by Richard Bienstock.
I know that you're big into cooking different types of cuisines. What is your favorite dish to prepare? —Shawn Kaling
It's a tie between Mexican carnitas and Brazilian feijoada. And feijoada, it originated as a slave dish. The slaves would be handed the leftover scraps of pig or cow the masters didn't want, and they would have to figure out how to be inventive with these ingredients. They'd boil them down for hours, if not the entire day, along with things like black beans— things that were cheap or were just given to them. So it's a cuisine and a dish built out of necessity. And gradually it became the national dish of Brazil. I love that it's something that started from hard times and became beautiful and culturally loved.
As a fellow foodie, where is the best place in the world you could recommend to eat? —Jordan Rickett
I would say the greatest country for food is Japan. The first time you're in Japan, and you have that first inundation of sights, sounds, smells, lights, and a culture you're not really familiar with...if anyone has seen 'Lost in Translation,' it's similar to that. So I say to everybody: The first time you go to Japan it's kind of like a rebirth. You'll have a really rough night, because you'll show up after having been awake for 30 or 40 hours, and you'll be in culture shock. But usually in a day or two you're ready to start walking randomly into some tiny little ramen shops and just point and smile at some- thing on the menu...because you're not able to read or speak the language! But it won't even matter—Japan is one of the few places where you can be completely random with food and typically nail something amazing every single time.
What's your favorite Japanese legend? —Ismaele Sacco
I have quite a few. I guess the most significant one is the one I have tattooed on my left arm. It's the story of the demon Ibaraki facing the samurai Watanabe no Tsuna at Rashomon Gate. In the story, the samurai is the only one who will stand up to this demon who is terrorizing the city. Watanabe no Tsuna chops off the arm of the demon Ibaraki, and Ibaraki flees. Years later there's an old woman who shows up to see Watanabe no Tsuna and she asks to see the arm. When the samurai presents the arm, the old woman grabs it and turns back into the demon Ibaraki and disappears forever. No one every sees Ibaraki again in Japanese folklore. And the reason this story is significant is that, in Trivium, I wanted to have a mascot—something similar to [Iron Maiden's] Eddie, or the Misfits' skull. So I asked my tattoo artist, Kahlil Rintye at Tattoo City, to make his interpretation of what a Misfits/Motörhead-esque skull mascot would be if it was the demon Ibaraki's skull. After he did that, we had a costume maker create a real mask out of his Ibaraki drawing, and that's what's on the cover of 'Silence in the Snow.'
Have you ever had any crazy onstage mishaps? —Joe Apuzzo
Oh, yeah. I've squeaked words. I've messed up my r's and l's—which is an Asian stereotype but it does happen to me, even though I don't speak Japanese. I've fallen through stages. Paolo has been shot with our CO2 pyro blasters. We've had it all happen. But what I love is that we're not the kind of band that will let it affect our performance. I always laugh my ass off when I see bands throwing shit at their monitor guys, or throwing guitars and smashing them. If there's something going wrong or some technical stuff going on, tell the audience and get it fixed. People like to see that their bands are human, because we all are. No one is a superhero. We're just people that have made different career choices. So I take pride in the fact that we're a good "technical difficulty" band.
To read the rest, pick up the new issue on newsstands November 3 or get your copy here.
Iron Maiden appear on the cover of the next issue of Revolver, which will hit newsstands on November 3 and is available for purchase online right now. You can view the cover below, which was illustrated by Mark Wilkinson.
You also can read an excerpt from the issue's cover story, written by Dan Epstein. In this section, frontman Bruce Dickinson discusses how he realized he had cancer as he was finishing up the recording of 'The Book of Souls.'
We've all done it at one time or another. We're feeling particularly lousy, or something on our body is looking weirder than usual, and we turn to the Internet in an attempt to get to the bottom of it. Rock gods do this too sometimes, as Bruce Dickinson will freely admit—though the last time he attempted an Internet self-diagnosis, on a fateful day in late 2014, the Iron Maiden frontman wasn't very happy about the results of his Google searches.
"I had a lump in the side of my neck, and a couple of other little things that were bothering me in my mouth," the singer tells Revolver. "They weren't affecting my voice, but I thought they were a little strange. So I kind of Googled everything and had a look, and Dr. Google and me came up with oropharyngeal cancer, with probably a human papilloma virus [HPV] tumor on the back of the tongue. And I went, 'Hmmm, okay—it might be that. Or I could just be an Internet hypochondriac!'"
Rather than immediately make a doctor's appointment, Dickinson decided to hold off for the time being—not because he assumed that he was being paranoid, but because he thought he might actually be very sick. And with less than a month of work left to do on 'The Book of Souls,' Iron Maiden's sixteenth studio album, a life-threatening illness was pretty much the last thing he wanted to think about.
"I thought, 'You know, there's a chance that I might actually be right, and I don't want to know before I finish the album,'" he recalls. "So I told myself, 'I'm going to finish the album first; that'll be about three or four weeks, and then I'll go to the doctor!'"
It had all been going so well up to that point, too. Since September 2014, the iconic British metal band had been holed up at Guillaume Tell Studios in Paris, France, with longtime producer Kevin Shirley; the immensely fruitful sessions had yielded 11 mighty tracks, enough to fill out Maiden's first double studio album of their nearly 40-year existence. The band was firing on all cylinders, and plans were already being laid for 'The Book of Souls'' release, as well as for a worldwide tour to support the album. But as he continued to soldier through the recording of the album's final vocal tracks, Dickinson became increasingly distracted by the growth on his neck.
"This lump on my lymph node was getting a little bit bigger," he recalls, "so I called in a local French doctor to have a look. He looked at my neck, said, 'Yeah, OK,' and then he put his hands down the front of my pants and had a good feel. I thought, 'He's not just being friendly. This is a pretty thorough examination!' And then he said, 'You need to go and get a CAT scan of your chest, an MRI of your head and neck, and a biopsy of that lump in the next three days.' So I went, 'OK—it's not just a cold then, huh?'"
The following is a preview of what's in the December 2015 issue of Revolver. You can pick up the new issue on newsstands November 3 or at the Revolver Online Store.
GOING POSTAL: MATT HEAFY
TheTrivium frontman loses his mind answering your letters
A matter of life and death
Too cool for school
CHILDREN OF BODOM
Relentless, but not reckless forever
COHEED AND CAMBRIA
The prog act gets real
IN THE NEWS
Letlive and Fleshgod Apocalypse hit the studio
Plus: Hair and detah metal collide, Loma's earthquakes, Parkway Skydive, Housecore Horror, Vinnie Paul and Lzzy Hale dish out advice, and more!
THE BRUTAL TRUTH: Tough questions for Devil You Know, New Years Day, The Black Dahlia Murder, Sevendust, Windhand, and Shinedown!
BANDS TO WATCH: Speaking the King's, Audiotopsy and more!
IN THE REAR
We review Puscifer, Cult Leader, Queensryche, Shining, Stone Sour, and more!
The Final Word: Soilwork's Björn "Speed" Strid shares a tale from the pit!
The Devin Townsend Project will release their new DVD, 'Devin Townsend Presents: Ziltoid Live at the Royal Albert Hall,' on November 13 via Inside Out Music. In anticipation, the band has teamed up with Revolver to premiere their new clip, "March of the Poozers." Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!
Townsend said, "The show at The Royal Albert Hall was a great experience. To be able to make artistic expression rooted in creativity and then to be able to articulate it in these sorts of ways, at this sort of venue, was pretty awesome. The whole thing was quite a challenge, but ultimately it worked and we were all very satisfied with it. I completely appreciate the support that has allowed this to happen from the audience, and I thank my team and Inside Out Records for busting ass to make this DVD a reality. I think if you enjoy what I do, you'll really dig it. Thank you so much for the opportunity!"
The release will arrive on several formats including an Artbook of 44 pages including the entire concert as well as extensive behind-the-scenes bonus footage and a full documentary, pressed on three CDs, two DVDs and a Blu Ray Disc, as Special Edition Digipak with three CDs and a DVD and as BluRay including the entire show and bonus material.
Long Island, New York-based hardcore act Vision of Disorder will release their new album, 'Razed to the Ground,' on November 13 via Candlelight Records. In anticipation, the band has teamed up with Revolver to premiere their new song, "Razed to the Ground." Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!
Houston-based metalcore act Myka Relocate will release their new album, 'The Young Souls,' on October 30 via Razor & Tie. In anticipation, the band has teamed up with Revolver to premiere their new song, "Bring You Home." Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!
U.K.-based metalcore act Counting Days will release their new album, 'Liberated Sounds,' on October 16 via Mascot Label Group. In anticipation, the band has teamed up with Revolver to premiere the entire new record right here, right now! Check it out below and let us know what you think in the comments!
Vocalist Thomas Debaere said, "We are so excited to let people hear our first album that we decided we should give our fans a gift and let them hear it a few days early! Enjoy."