Phil Anselmo. A True Metal Legend. Born On This Day In 1968.
In an interview a few years ago Darrell Abbott’s longtime Girlfriend Rita Haney made a statement that the gentleman in the picture below would always live in Darrell’s shadow. Even if that’s true another statement can be made that no one really gave a damn who Darrell was until Phil Anselmo became the lead singer/Frontman of Pantera. The now legendary Frontman, singer, musician, record label owner, businessman is celebrating his 49th birthday today. Phil is one of the few people who can legitimately say that he (along with Darrell) led a Heavy Metal Revolution.
Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, it didn’t take Phil long to realize that he would eventually be destined for a career in music. As a teenager he played in a band that did Judas Priest cover songs, impressing people with both the range, and power of his voice. In 1987 at the age of 19 years old his life would change when a 1980s glam band with little to no success by the name of Pantera saw Phil perform. Shortly after that, they would fire their singer Terrence Lee, and ask Anselmo to join the band.
Just a few years later Pantera would release their major label debut album (5th album overall, 2nd with Phil) “Cowboys From Hell”, and now landmark Metal record that would eventually make them superstars. Other legendary records like “A Vulgar Display Of Power, and “Far Beyond Driven” would follow, where Phil would take vocal cords to places never taken before. Phil would also prove what a workaholic he was when at the very height of Pantera’s success he would form numerous other projects like Superjoint Ritual, and Down. Unfortunately these projects would pretty much lead to the end of Pantera, especially since both Darrell, and Vinnie Paul Abbott had wanted Phil to get a back surgery to resolve a problem that had turned him into a heroin addict. Unfortunately, this wouldn’t happen.
Phil has always been a controversial person. Many fans still blame him for the belligerent tone in the last years of Darrell’s life. Once Darrell was assassinated on stage in 2004 some fans (along with Vinnie Paul, and Rita Haney) blamed Phil for his death, not even allowing him to attend the funeral. In recent years Rita has changed her tone toward Phil, while Vinnie Paul still continues to hold a grudge. Rex Brown who has always been the neutral one, saying both sides are to blame for the break up.
As of 2017 Phil still seems to be a target for controversy. That being said he has also not only been humbled a lot, but really matured too. In interviews his intelligence truly shines though. He’s a lover of all types of music. He even made news when he said both The Cure, and The Smiths are two of his all time favorite bands. He obviously regrets many of his actions of the past, admits his mistakes, and even has tried numerous times to make peace with his former bandmate Vinnie Paul. (At this point it’s Vinnie Paul who seems like the unreasonable one.)
He’s even done an admiral job protecting the Pantera legacy. While promoters try to throw money at him to do a Pantera reunion with someone like Zakk Wylde, or other guitar players, he shoots it down, saying it would be disrespectful to the legacy. You truly have to respect that. It seems like Phil has come full circle. Hopefully he’s at a point now in his life where he has some peace. Happy Birthday Phil ! Thanks for being a big reason Metal stayed relevant in the 1990s, and beyond.