Phil Anselmo talked with High Times magazine before DOWN’s April 28, 2011 concert at the Best Buy Theater in New York City. The chat can now be viewed in four parts below. Anselmo reveals that booze was behind Rex Brown’s split with Down earlier this year. The singer, who himself has struggled with substance abuse, says that his efforts to help Brown sober up have been unsuccessful. He talks Pantera, reuniting with Vinnie Paul and helping other friends addicted to drugs and/or alcohol.
High Times: Looking back at [your time with Pantera], does it feel like it happened yesterday or does it feel like it was a lifetime ago?
Anselmo: “Parts of it feel like it happened yesterday, or… Oh my God… I’ve said it before and I don’t wanna regurgitate it, but I think about Pantera every day of my life in one way, shape or form. I always pondered the thought ‘what if’ — you know? — [late Pantera guitarist] Dimebag [Darrell Abbott] was still alive, I think there would have been an end to any rift that there [was]. Dimebag was too much of a brother to carry fucking some hate around with him, or anger, you know?! And I deserved some anger. But I think you’ll learn a whole lot more about this when I release my auto-fucking-biography which is coming… I’m gonna work on that this summer as well. But there’s a lot to do with when… I was in such chronic pain, it controlled my mind, which controlled everything else. [On November 21, 2005, Anselmo underwent surgery to repair several damaged disks in his lower back. — Ed.] Dimebag was going through a lot of stuff at the end of PANTERA. And me overdosing? That’s like… There’s no excuse for that. There’s no excuse. You are fucked. You are labeled. You are a target. No one trusts you. I could have been as straight… I was, several times, as straight as a motherfucker, and he would come charging at me, accusing… and I can’t blame him. No, I do not blame him. In hindsight, I do the same thing to other people today. I’m that guy. I’ll save your life. You know? Hey man, I’ve walked many, many, many, many a fucking drug addict…. Since I’ve been clean, I’ve walked many a motherfucker clean… in my house. No matter how many days it took. One time, [an attempt at getting someone clean] was a ten-day motherfucker. And I’ve got about a 50/50 [success] rate.”
In regards to Rex Brown, Anselmo said:
“I gave it my all, and I love Rex Brown with all of my f—ing heart and soul,” he says. “But, goddamnit, he will not put down that f—ing bottle for any of us. He is, and has been told, he is going to die,” Anselmo adds. “I’m gonna tell you this: He’s not gonna die on my time, because he ain’t drinking around ‘The Kid.’ Straight up. And that means he can’t be around right now, ’cause he’s f—ing drinking. And that’s that. That’s that f—ing story in a nutshell. And that’s it — that’s the only rift between me and Rex; other than that, we’re f—ing best friends.”
Brown continues with his new group, Kill Devil Hill, and everything seems fine with that camp, but he suffered acute pancreatitis in 2009 and had to sit out a Down tour.
Of course this is a High Times interview, so he reveals when he first smoked pot, and his experiences with marijuana.