With his band the Illegals' latest record named Choosing Mental Illness As a Virtue, it's no surprise singer Phil Anselmo recognizes and admits he's somewhat of a provocateur. "I am reckless," he says in a new interview with Kerrang!, "I am absurd, and I am all over the place – on purpose." The singer then dives deep into the details on his various projects, the Dimebash performance controversy, his thoughts on Pantera's legacy, what he would have done differently and more.
When pressed on his multitude of bands, which Anselmo calls "just another expression of music," he admits he's still a passionate music fan himself at heart and enjoys having several avenues through which to express himself and his admiration for the craft. En Minor comes up, the frontman's project which he's compared to Sisters of Mercy and the Cure, and jokingly refers to the music made in that group as "depression-core."
"If you host a gigantic party, get tired and want everyone to get the fuck out, this'll be the record to get them to leave," he says of En Minor's sound.
The interview also touches on the topic of his controversial 2016 Dimebash performance, during which Anselmo threw what appeared to be a sieg heil and yelled "white power." The singer has apologized in the past but elaborates on how big the controversy became. "I feel like it's ridiculous. I made an off-colour [sic] joke and 'Boom!' – it's like I'm literally Hitler! I'm not," he exclaims. "I take each individual one at a time, in the way that any logical individual will. I have love in my heart." He details growing up among a diverse group of people and identities, affirming he would never "judge anyone by the colour [sic] of their skin, their heritage or their religion."
Pantera's 2003 breakup also comes up in the conversation, and Anselmo reveals he still has plenty of feelings about how things might have gone if Dimebag Darrell hadn't been killed the following year while onstage with Damageplan.
"I don't really engage with dwelling on the past. It's always brimming under the surface in my conscience. I live it," he says, adding, "I think about it every day. I dream about it often – about the old days; the old times; about Dimebag. I wish Dimebag were alive today, of course. In my deepest of hearts I know that he and I would've made up a long time ago," he imagines. "We were too good of friends for all of this."
Anselmo also addresses his drinking problems back in the day, and outlines the advice he'd give his younger self, saying, "Do a lot more core work, take your craft a bit more seriously and put the fucking bottle down! ... If I was going to put my body through the torture and the grind, I should've been training like an elite athlete instead of drinking like an elite alcoholic."
Read Kerrang!'s entire interview with Philip Anselmo here.