First things first: Phil Anselmo is one hard motherfucker. If you aren’t well-versed in the history of the legendary and controversial Down / Pantera frontman and guitarist for Arson Anthem, it’s time to catch up.
After dominating the metal/hardcore scene over two decades with enough projects to rival Mike Patton, Anselmo’s taking his new role as label head as serious as a heart attack – but don’t head down this path looking for the Pantera of 2010.
Standing as the definitive collection of Anselmo’s side projects from past to present, Housecore Records represents a genre-defying collection of artists that stretch far beyond the influence of the CEO’s musical legacy. Setting the stage for 2010 to be its breakout year, with releases from new artists like haarp and Sursiks, the looming likelihood of the first new Eyehategod album in a decade and a brand new project written and fronted by Anselmo. He’ll also be releasing the soundtrack for the cult horror film The Manson Family.
We tracked down Philip H. Anselmo in his home in the oil-slicked town of New Orleans, Louisiana to dig deeper into Housecore and find out what tricks he’s got up his sleeve for the near future, as well as some exciting new updates on Eyehategod’s plans for a new record.
Antiquiet: Where are you right now?
Phil Anselmo: Down in Louisiana, just outside of New Orleans. It’s like fuckin’ Cambodia here, just fuckin’ miserable hot outside.
Antiquiet: How’s the reaction to the oil nightmare down there?
Phil Anselmo: Dude I can’t begin to even fuckin’ touch that shit. I mean, economically and as a community it’s just fuckin’ terrible, man. Miserable. Nothin’ good comin’ out of this.
Antiquiet: People are still pointing fingers while we still can’t kill the thing a month and change into it.
Phil Anselmo: Exactly. The responsible parties are pointing fingers at each other, and it’s so fuckin’ bureaucratic and retarded, in all honesty. There ain’t nobody who wants to stand up and say ‘Hey, okay, it’s my fault on this one. Bad on me. We’re poisoning the earth for fuckin’ real right now, and we can’t do a fuckin’ thing about it after we promised we would.’ How can you promise anybody that after you drill a mile into the fucking earth through the ocean that one fuckin’ day it’s not gonna fuck up?
Antiquiet: While they’re trying to politicize it and minimize the impact, we’re seeing pictures of oil washing up on shores in Alaska from a much smaller spill that happened in 1985. The shit doesn’t just naturally go away.
Phil Anselmo: Makin’ the earth angry. It’s already a fuckin’ planet that changes every few thousand fuckin’ years. You’re just poking a beehive with a stick now. (Phil starts pissing) It hasn’t even begun to really bear down and affect the people, the economic scenario, not to mention the long-term impact on everything. Two years from now, then we’ll be able to ask, ‘how’s New Orleans looking?’ in a real negative light, cause believe me brother, it’ll be there. This shit ain’t going away. It’s fucked – everything but our insanely great football team.
Antiquiet: With Housecore, you made a point of saying you don’t want your acts to rush through an album’s recording and then regretting their decisions later. The whole ‘we shall sell no wine before its time’ concept. On the flipside of that, have you been able to lock Eyehategod back in to commit for studio time yet? I know they’re on tour right now…
Phil Anselmo: Get ready for this, hold your hat, I have a fucking update. I called Jimmy Bower last week, and he sounded very very agitated. Busy. So I asked him, ‘what’s the deal, man? Did I wake you up?’ He said ‘no. I’m trying, dude.’ And I said ‘trying? Trying to do what?’ And he said ‘I’m going for it, man. I’m writing some riffs, man, for Eyehategod.’ And I said ‘Well congratulations Mr. Fucking Bower.’
Apparently later that day they jammed, so all of this is a step in the right fucking direction.
Antiquiet: Fantastic news.
Phil Anselmo: Yeah, man. They’re very visible right now, so it’s like come on. Let’s have some new stuff.
Antiquiet: This seems more for the passion projects, a place for artists and the fans to find the real shit without the cellophane and disappointment. Are you still cutting your own throats on costs?
Phil Anselmo: Honestly, I’m not really worried about it. My concern is getting the music out that I’ve done, all these fucking years, to the kids that deserve it, that want it, that need to hear it and want to hold the product in their hands. And also the bands that I feel people should hear. There’s a million record labels out there, but I know that I can get a product into a fucking store. And that makes me feel fuckin’ good. So as far as recoup or anything like that, we’ll see. Is there an ultimate plan? Well, we’re working towards that ultimate plan of showcasing bands and bringing something really fresh and new. Hopefully blow some ideas open for a whole lot of people, because like you said, the first impression someone would feel about me having a record label would be that I’m putting out death metal, hardcore type stuff. That’s not my gig, man. I like music of all sorts and genres, man. If I happen to stumble across something, or know something that is a must, like the Sursiks and so on, it needs to be heard.
I don’t expect anyone to take my word for a band. A band’s gonna speak for themselves. As far as the fans go, or people that buy music, honestly, believe me, I’m very well aware that some people are going to love it and some will hate it. But such is life, such is the way of music and tastes. I can’t force anyone to like something, that’s not my fuckin’ deal. These are bands that do something for me musically, and bands that I believe are ready for that next step.
Antiquiet: There’s a flipside to the ultimate access that the internet provides, in that all the bands vying for your attention & cash becomes a sludge of white noise. It can be hard to figure out what to gravitate to, and it’s a new dawning for tastemakers. Now more than ever, people are looking for a name they can trust to point them in the right direction, a lighthouse in the fog. You’re filling a serious void by being that voice.
Phil Anselmo: Yeah, I definitely agree with you man. I think that’s a great way to put it, and I appreciate that. It’s certainly over-saturated out there.
Antiquiet: Speaking of projects nobody’s heard, is there anything you’ve done musically in the past that’s unreleased for whatever reason, that you wish you could just throw out there?
Phil Anselmo: Yeah, man. (chuckles) There’s a few things I’ve done that maybe when I’m 79, if I make it that fuckin’ far, I’ll just stick it out there ’cause I won’t give a shit anymore. But yeah, I wish I could put out all the Biker that I did back in the day. Biker was a funny fuckin’ thing, man. But the masters are so old. Really, really fuckin’ old. Some of it’s inaudible, in some points sections are taped over out of drunken madness… ‘Oh, listen to this…’ You’re drunk, you hit record instead of play, that kind of shit. It’s not completely intact, but yeah, that’s one of ‘em.
Then there’s a bunch of stuff where it’s a matter of time. You’ve gotta dedicate yourself. When it’s Warbeast time, you gotta be 100% Warbeast. When it’s haarp time, you’ve gotta be 1,000% haarp. So there’s a lot of stuff that gets caught in the peripheral that by all means I’m dying to get out to people. But it’s like oh shit, it’s been a fucking year and I haven’t touched this thing because I’ve been fighting tooth and fuckin’ nail for all these other acts. But I’m always there, workin’ the levers on some other project to fuck shit up.
Read more from our interview at CraveOnline.
Find out more at TheHousecoreRecords.com