Phil Anselmo & the Illegals


Philip Hansen Anselmo[1] (born June 30, 1968)[2] is an American heavy metal musician who is best known as the lead vocalist for Pantera. He is also the owner of Housecore Records and has been involved with several other bands.

Early life[edit]

Anselmo was born in New Orleans, Louisiana,[3] and is of Danish,[1] Italian and French heritage.[4] He attended many schools across Louisiana and Texas, the last of which was Grace King High School located in the suburb of Metairie.[5] Anselmo’s father, Phil, owned and operated a restaurant in Metairie called Anselmo’s, which closed following the wake of Hurricane Katrina due to financial troubles. Anselmo has said in various interviews that he was very quiet and secluded as a child. He spent some time working on fishing boats as a young man. As a teen, Anselmo accidentally started a fire in his parent’s house while pulling a prank on his sister. The incident resulted in smoke damage to most of the furniture and part of the house needing renovation.[6][7]

Music career[edit]

While a teenager, Anselmo joined the band Samhain (not to be confused with Glenn Danzig‘s band Samhain). From the early to mid-1980s, Anselmo was a member of the band Razor White. While they did have some original material, they played mainly Judas Priest covers.


Pantera was an unsigned metal band, with three self-released albums to their name. In 1986, the band decided to replace singer Terrence Lee, who was primarily a glam metal singer, because they were heading in a different direction musically. Seeking a new frontman to continue on this heavier path, the band was led to 19-year-old Anselmo. In 1987, after several meetings, Anselmo was added to the Pantera lineup. The band was so impressed with Anselmo that they re-recorded some of Terrence Lee’s vocals for their latest release. Anselmo relocated to Texas to record Power Metal, which was released in 1988 on the band’s own record label, Metal Magic Records. Following the release of Power Metal, the band dropped its glam image and adopted a more casual look. Pantera recorded the album Cowboys from Hell in 1990, and a long tour began. The band documented portions of this tour on their first home video, Cowboys from Hell: The Videos, released in 1991.

In 1992, Pantera released Vulgar Display of Power. That same year, the band released a promo titled Hostile Mixes that contained four songs, three of which were remixes. The first two remixes were done by Justin K. Broadrick of Godflesh and the last by J. G. Thirlwell of Foetus. In 1994, Pantera released Far Beyond Driven, which debuted at No. 1 in the U.S. In late June, Anselmo was charged with assault following an altercation with a security guard when fans were prevented from getting on stage. Anselmo was released on $5,000 bail the next day.[8][9] The trial was delayed three times.[10] In May 1995, he apologized in court, pleaded guilty to attempted assault, and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.[11][12]

In 1996, Pantera released their fifth studio album with Anselmo, titled The Great Southern Trendkill. Anselmo recorded the vocal tracks for this album in New Orleans while the other members recorded in Texas, primarily due to growing tensions between Anselmo and the rest of the band. In 1997, Pantera released their first and only official live album titled Official Live: 101 Proof. This album contained the two new tracks “I Can’t Hide” and “Where You Come From”. In 2000, Pantera released their final studio album, titled Reinventing the Steel. After touring to promote the album, Pantera went on hiatus in 2001. In 2003, Pantera released a best-of album, The Best of Pantera: Far Beyond the Great Southern Cowboys’ Vulgar Hits! (titled Reinventing Hell: The Best of Pantera in Europe). The album featured songs from five studio albums with Anselmo, and also included three cover tracks, “Planet Caravan” and “Hole in the Sky”, written by Black Sabbath; and “Cat Scratch Fever“, written by Ted Nugent. A bonus DVD was also made, containing all the band’s music videos. Later that year, Pantera disbanded over communication problems and accusations that Anselmo had abandoned the band.

Following the breakup, Anselmo devoted much of his time to a longtime side projectSuperjoint Ritual. Having heard this, the Abbott brothers of Pantera (guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul) formed Damageplan with former Halford guitarist Pat Lachman on vocals and Bob Zilla on bass. Some fans blame Anselmo for Pantera’s breakup, because of statements in the heavy metal press. Anselmo has accused journalists of twisting the facts, publishing what they think sells best. Pantera bassist Rex Brown, widely known as being the one neutral voice in the matter, has blamed both sides for the band’s breakup.

After Vinnie Paul slammed Superjoint Ritual, saying Anselmo could not even keep his eyes open, Anselmo replied, “I just hear a big and sad yellowbelly crybaby fuckin’ knowing that his meal ticket is in a different fuckin’ band … You would have to know those guys to really understand where I was coming from. They’re scared of their own fuckin’ shadows. And, all that said, I wish them the best of fuckin’ luck. I still love ’em.”[13] Anselmo had engaged in a war of words with Dimebag since the fall of Pantera, culminating in the statement “Dimebag deserves to be beaten severely” in the December 2004 edition of the UK’s Metal Hammer magazine. Initially, he denied making the statement, but later changed his story in a VH1 Behind the Music special on Pantera, claiming that the comment had been lighthearted and made off the record. However, Vinnie Paul told the press that he had heard the audio files of the interview and that Anselmo had not been misquoted.[14]

In December 2004, Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed while performing with Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio. At the request of Dimebag’s family, Anselmo did not attend his funeral.[15]

In a lengthy and emotional video posted on Down‘s official website, Anselmo describes his regret over his previous behavior,[16] and has written and recorded music dealing with the loss of Dimebag on the new Down record, Down III: Over the Under. The band has dedicated their song “Lifer” to Dimebag. Anselmo has since stated that he wishes to restart his friendship with Vinnie Paul but a reconciliation effort is unlikely due to lingering tensions between the two.[17]

In a July 2015 interview with Rolling Stone, Anselmo spoke out against Pantera and his other band’s usage of the Confederate flag claiming it was a mistake to use it on their merchandise, albums and other promotional material. Anselmo said “These days, I wouldn’t want anything to fucking do with it because truthfully … I wouldn’t. The way I feel and the group of people I’ve had to work with my whole life, you see a Confederate flag out there that says ‘Heritage, not hate.’ I’m not so sure I’m buying into that.” Anselmo said originally that Pantera used the image because they were huge fans of Lynyrd Skynyrd but it was never about promoting hate.[18]


Anselmo performing with Superjoint Ritual at Ozzfest in 2004

Down has been Anselmo’s main recording and touring band since 2006.

Down is an American heavy metal band formed in 1991 in New Orleans, Louisiana. The band consists of members and former members of Pantera, Corrosion of Conformity, Crowbar and Eyehategod.

Since its inception, Down has released three studio albums, two eps, one live album and has gone on hiatus twice to focus on the members’ respective bands.

Superjoint (Formerly Superjoint Ritual)[edit]

Superjoint Ritual is a New Orleans metal band formed by Anselmo, Joe Fazzio, and Jimmy Bower in the early 1990s, later to be joined by Hank Williams III, and Kevin Bond. Their style can be considered a mix of groove metal and hardcore punk. Bands like Venom, Slayer, Celtic Frost, Voivod, and Darkthrone have also been noted as influences. The name Superjoint Ritual comes from a lyric in the Darkthrone song, “The Pagan Winter”. According to Bower, Anselmo wrote 70-80% of the group’s music. During their time together they have released three full-length albums on Sanctuary Records, Use Once and Destroy in 2002, A Lethal Dose of American Hatred in 2003, and Caught Up in the Gears of Application in 2016.

Side projects[edit]

Arson Anthem[edit]

Arson Anthem is a Southern hardcore punk project that originated when Eyehategod singer Mike Williams moved into Anselmo’s spare apartment after losing all his possessions in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The two spent countless hours listening to Anselmo’s collection of early hardcore bands. They began jamming with Hank III and Collin Yeo, who were united by their desire to have a hardcore/crust punk band of their own.[19] The Arson Anthem lineup features Mike Williams on vocals, Phil Anselmo on guitar, Hank III on drums, and Collin Yeo on bass.

Christ Inversion[edit]

Christ Inversion was formed in 1994. The group was a short-lived black metal project formed by Anselmo where he played guitar under the name “Anton Crowley”. Most of their lyrics were based on horror films and Satanism. The band recorded two demos in 1994 and 1995 respectively and then disbanded without ever recording a full-length album. Many years later, songs from the first demo were put on an 8-track compilation and released through Anselmo’s own Housecore Records on October 28, 2008.

Southern Isolation[edit]

The band released one EP called Southern Isolation. It originally contained four songs, but was later re-released with a fifth bonus track. The band consisted of Stephanie Opal Weinstein on vocals and guitars, Anselmo on vocals, backing vocals and guitars, “Big” Ross Karpelman (of Clearlight) on keyboards, and Sid Montz (of Crowbar) on drums.

One rare track called “Faded” has been credited to Southern Isolation on the Manson Family Soundtrack, which is due to be released on Anselmo’s Housecore label.

Viking Crown[edit]

In the mid-90s, Anselmo began to record for several side projects under the pseudonym Anton Crowley, most notably with Viking Crown. The name Anton Crowley is taken from Aleister Crowley (British occultist) and Anton LaVey (Founder and High Priest of the Church of Satan).

Viking Crown was a short-lived and essentially solo side project started by Anselmo in the mid-90s. The members of the band are Anselmo (under the pseudonym Anton Crowley) on guitars, bass and drums; Killjoy on vocals; and Opal Enthroned (Stephanie Opal Weinstein) on keyboards. On their first album Unorthodox Steps of Ritual, Anselmo played every instrument and laid down his own vocals. The band never performed live.


Eibon was a very short-lived supergroup which Anselmo participated in from 1998 to 2000. The group featured KilljoyFenrizSatyr, and Maniac. The project has been put on indefinite hiatus and to date has only released a single track, Mirror Soul Jesus, which appeared on the Moonfog 2000: A Different Perspective compilation in 2000. The band is on Satyr’s record label ‘Moonfog Productions’.

Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals[edit]

During 2011–2012, Anselmo wrote and recorded a solo album, titled Walk Through Exits Only with his backing band The Illegals. The album was released on July 16, 2013. In October 2017, the second album Choosing Mental Illness As A Virtue was announced, originally due in December[20] but have officially set it for January 26, 2018. The first song “Choosing Mental Illness” was made available for streaming.[21] The next song “The Ignorant Point” was released on December 13.[22] Exclaim!scored the album an 8 out of 10. [23]


It was announced on May 12, 2016 that Anselmo would be fronting a new band, Scour, with members from Pig Destroyer (John Jarvis), Cattle Decapitation (Derek Engemann), Animosity (Chase Fraser) and Strong Intention (Jesse Schobel). The band’s debut EP was released July 15, 2016 on Anselmo’s label Housecore Records, featuring six songs all under 3 minutes in length. The band is stylistically black metal, with the exception of Anselmo’s use of lower growling instead of the higher, raspier vocals commonly associated with the genre.[24] In August 2017, the next EP titled Red was announced for a November 3 release. The title track and the song “Piles” were made available for streaming ahead of the release of the EP.[25][26][27]

En Minor[edit]

In a September 27, 2017 interview with Jimmy Cabbs’ 5150 interview series, Anselmo announced a new project called En Minor, which he said is influenced by the artists of the classic 1980’s gothic rock period. The debut album is scheduled for release in early 2018.[28]

Guest appearances[edit]

In 1993, Anselmo produced Crowbar‘s self titled album and recorded backing vocals on some of the tracks.

Anselmo playing guitar for Eyehategod during Hellfest 2009

In 1996, Anselmo recorded guitars on two songs (“Van Full of Retards” and a cover of Manowar’s “Gloves of Metal”) and contributed vocals/backing vocals on 18 songs for Anal Cunt‘s 40 More Reasons to Hate Us album.

In 1996, Anselmo recorded backing vocals for tracks on Crowbar’s Broken Glass album.

In 1996, Anselmo provided vocals on Soilent Green’s album Sewn Mouth Secrets. Although not credited, he is given thanks in the liner notes.

In 1997, Necrophagia frontman Killjoy reformed his band with Phil Anselmo on guitars. Using the Anton Crowley name, Anselmo appeared on the 1998 Holocausto de la Morte album, the 1999 Black Blood Vomitorium EP, and finally the 2001 Cannibal Holocaust EP, which featured Opal Enthroned (then Anselmo’s wife) on keyboards. Anselmo left the band in 2001.

In 1998, Anthrax released the album Volume 8: The Threat Is Real. Anselmo provided backing vocals on track 8 (“Killing Box”). Also, his Pantera bandmate Dimebag Darrell played guitar solos on tracks 3 (“Inside Out”) and 7 (“Born Again Idiot”).

In 1998, Anselmo sang a duet (“By the River”) on Vision of Disorder‘s Imprint album.

In 2000, Tony Iommi released a collaborative album with various well known vocalists. Initially, Anselmo was going to co-create an entire album with Iommi, but due to tour schedules it never happened. Anselmo managed, however, to lay down some tracks for Iommi’s album. Iommi and Anselmo wrote and recorded three tracks together, “Time Is Mine”, “The Bastard”, and a third unknown track. Iommi picked “Time Is Mine” for the album. “The Bastard” was never officially released, but can be found online.[29] The third unknown track is now highly sought after by fans of both artists.[30]

In 2001, Anselmo provided vocals for “HFFK” on Biohazard‘s Uncivilization album.

On March 6, 2006, Anselmo made an appearance along with Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver bassist Duff McKagan and the surviving members of Alice in Chainsat a VH1‘s Decades Rock Live concert, in honor of fellow Seattle musicians such as Alice in Chains’ Layne Staley and Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart

In 2008, Anselmo recorded vocals for the Mahakali album by Jarboe. The track is sparse musically, features a raw vocal delivery by Anselmo, and a short spoken-word segment.

In 2015, Anselmo also has made a guest appearance in “Prophets of Loss”, a song from the new Cattle Decapitation album “The Anthropocene Extinction“, released in August 2015.[31]

In January 2016, Anselmo sang lead vocals in a band which included Foo Fighters lead singer Dave GrohlMetallica bassist Robert Trujillo, and former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. They performed the song “Ace of Spades” by recently deceased metal legend Lemmy Kilmister of the iconic band Motörhead.[32]

Housecore Records[edit]

Anselmo started his own record label called Housecore Records sometime in 2001. The name derived from Anselmo’s home being described as more of a “hang out” where many local friends and musicians would stay and record music together. Housecore also features in tattoo form on Anselmo’s arm (Anselmo’s told fans via live webcam that it was his first and favourite tattoo). Anselmo’s primary objective is to release much older unreleased material and material from his many side projects. After gaining permission from Pantera’s label, Elektra, he merged Housecore with his longtime friend and Necrophagia band mate Killjoy’s label, Baphomet Records. The newly named “Baphomet/Housecore Records” secured distribution deals with Relapse Records in August 2001. Anselmo stated “What you’re going to get here with Baphomet/Housecore, it’s going to be different. It’s going to be a fresh approach. It’s going to be a lot of home made shit, not all major label-produced monstrosities. I just got permission from Elektra to independently put out all the bands that I’ve ever fucking done. Each band that I’m involved in outside of Pantera is a way for me to express and develop different outlets that are very much a part of me. With Pantera it’s only one side of me. I love to write and create music, and the side bands are very different from Pantera. They also show the flexibility in me as a musician; Pantera’s very important in my life, but there’s many other things that keep this boy here content”.[33] After only three releases, Anselmo and Killjoy severed business ties, thus returning Anselmo’s label to its original name, Housecore Records.[34]Housecore is now actively releasing material by Anselmo and by bands he is producing and supporting.[35]


Anselmo has a wide range of musical influences from classic rock to black metal. He was mainly influenced by Black Sabbath,[36] Black FlagIron Maiden,[36] Judas Priest,[37] Slayer,[38] Hellhammer[37] and Venom.[37] He pays tribute to two of his favorite bands in the lyrics of the Pantera song “Goddamn Electric”, singing “your trust is in whiskey and weed and Black Sabbath”; in the second verse, the lyric is tweaked to “whiskey and weed and Slayer”. Anselmo states that his main vocal influence had been Judas Priest singer, Rob Halford, before he decided to focus on the exploration of his own technique.[39]

Anselmo mentioned that he is a massive fan of hardcore punk.

In 2016, Anselmo said the favorite of recent concerts he had attended included MorrisseyNick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and Stevie Wonder.[40] Wonder performed the entirety of his classic 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life, which Alselmo described as “like watching a living, breathing miracle right before your eyes.”

Voiceover work[edit]

Anselmo can be heard in the Jim Van Bebber movie The Manson Family as the voice of Satan. The soundtrack for this movie also contains music from several of Anselmo’s bands.

Anselmo appears in the YouTube comedy series Metal Grasshopper with comedian Dave Hill, in which he instructs Hill on how to be metal.

Personal life[edit]

Anselmo in October 2012

On October 31, 2001, Anselmo married his longtime girlfriend Stephanie Opal Weinstein. That same year, the couple created an all-acoustic duo called Southern Isolation. Anselmo and Weinstein ultimately divorced in 2004.

As of 2011, Anselmo is in a relationship with Kate Richardson, who also helps with the running of his record label, Housecore Records.[5][41][42][43] As of 2011, Anselmo now resides in rural Louisiana.[5]


Anselmo owns an extensive collection of several thousand horror films, and possesses an encyclopedic knowledge of horror films and horror culture.[44] Together with Steve Joseph, Ross Karpelman, and Jay Gracianette, Anselmo started a Halloween-themed attraction called House of Shock. Initially it began in Jay Gracianette’s backyard, but was later moved to a large warehouse outside New Orleans that has been converted into an interactive haunted house with over three hundred volunteer workers. The attraction has raised money for the Children’s Hospital of New Orleans, the Parish Police Bullet Proof Vest Fund, and the Greater New Orleans Riding Rehabilitation Center.[45] Anselmo played the role of a part-time actor when his schedule permitted,[46] however Anselmo is no longer involved with House of Shock.[5]

Anselmo has an interest in the sport of boxing.[47] He owns hundreds of fight DVDs and used to take a boxing trainer on tour with him.[47] He has written articles as a columnist for the Boxing Insider website.[48] Also a fan of the NFL team, the New Orleans Saints,[49] Anselmo has interviewed Saints player Jeremy Shockey and has helped to coach a youth team at the request of Saints team ambassador Michael Lewis during a visit to the team’s practice facility.[5]

Back injury and subsequent drug abuse[edit]

According to Anselmo, he suffered constant pain due to a back injury he sustained in the mid-1990s. To ease the pain he drank heavily, abused pills such as painkillersmuscle relaxants, and he eventually became addicted to heroin.[5] Throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s his drug abuse severely affected his onstage performance.[5]

On July 13, 1996, Anselmo went into cardiac arrest due to a heroin overdose after a show at the Coca-Cola Starplex in Dallas, TX. Paramedics revived him and four days later he issued a press release stating, “I, Philip H. Anselmo […] injected a lethal dose of heroin into my arm, and died for four to five minutes”.[50]

Since 2005, Anselmo has stopped using hard drugs, initially so that he could be cleared for surgery to repair back damage caused by degenerative disc disease.[5] The surgery was successful, and after several months of recuperation and rehabilitation he returned to recording and touring.[5]

In November 2016, Anselmo reported that he had stopped drinking alcohol. Though he is “pretty much an atheist”, he nonetheless gave up alcohol during Lent earlier that year and “kind of lost the taste for it.”[40]


Dimebash “white power” incident[edit]

On January 22, 2016, Anselmo ended the “Dimebash” Dimebag Darrell tribute show by giving a Nazi salute and screaming the words “white power” to the crowd. The incident was captured by an audience member’s cell phone camera and the video was posted on YouTube. Anselmo later claimed he was joking about drinking “white wine“.[51][52] Anselmo commented on the YouTube video, writing:

Ok folks, I’ll own this one, but dammit, I was joking, and the ‘inside joke of the night’ was because we were drinking fucking white wine. Some of y’all need to thicken up your skin. There’s plenty of fuckers to pick on with a more realistic agenda. I fucking love everyone, I fucking loathe everyone, and that’s that. No apologies from me.[53]

In an interview with Eddie Trunk on Sirius XM on December 15, 2016, Anselmo claimed he was being taunted throughout the show by “two or three little hecklers” who were standing near the stage. He stated that the hecklers called him all sorts of names throughout the show, and by the end he said he’d lost his patience. On the show Anselmo said, “When people start screaming ‘racist’ over and over and over and over again at me, what I did was show them exactly what […] the ugliest possible thing I could think of at the time was.”[54]

Anselmo released an apology, during which he said, “It was ugly, it was uncalled for and anybody who knows me and my true nature knows that I don’t believe in any of that. I’m a thousand percent apologetic to anyone who took offense to what I said, cause you should’ve taken offense to what I said.”[55]

Other controversies[edit]

Anselmo had previously made statements about white pride during a 1995 Pantera concert.[56]

About /raVen/ 51 Articles
Metal Man residing deep in the Mountains of Butte, America. I have grown up in music from the earliest I can remember. The variations and absolute stinging differences throughout the Metal Genre keep me coming back for more and more. Honor and a pleasure to assist up and coming as well as top established artists continue to share their passion and art with the world! HORNS UP!

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.