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© Gonzales Photo/Demotix/Corbis
As the vocalist for the seminal metal band Pantera as well as frontman for Down and various side bands, Phil Anselmo has had a hand in crafting a number of records that millions of fans would deem "essential." The singer humbly acknowledges his place in extreme music history.
“It’s flattering, it’s dynamite, and in its own way, it’s unfathomable," Anselmo says. "But the fact is, I don’t look at myself as a rock star. If somebody has a high opinion of me and what I’ve done during my career, I can only say ‘thank you.’ It’s power to the fan. Without the fans, I'm not jack shit."
Anselmo is hoping that his latest disc, Walk Through Exits Only, a solo effort but one billed as Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, finds a place in his fans' hearts. “The record means a lot to me," he says. "I didn't set out to make a solo record, but I was just inspired and this is how it turned out. I sat down and wrote the motherfucker by myself – just me, a guitar, an amp and a recording apparatus. Once I was done, I had to teach the parts, specifically the drums, to the guys, and they took it to a new place when they put their imprints on the songs."
The Illegals are guitarist Marzi Montazari, bassist Bennett Bartley and Jose Manuel "Blue" Gonzalez on drums. Anselmo gives high marks to the trio, signaling Montazari out as a singular talent he's wanted to work with for some time. "I've known Marzi since 1987 or '88," he says. "Actually, it was Dimebag Darrell who introduced us. Marzi and I were always talking about doing something together, but it took a while to find the right vehicle. He brought so much to this music. There's magic in his head and those two hands of his."
While gearing up for a tour with The Illegals, Anselmo took the time to talk about five metal records that he considers to be essential in his collection.