Philip Anselmo Would ‘Take Back’ Dimebash Incident, Recalls Kissing King’s X Frontman + Irons Out Racial Comments Made in ’90s
Pantera legend Philip Anselmo generated a wealth of backlash following his racist actions at the 2016 Dimebash event. Throwing a Nazi salute coupled with barking "White power" at the conclusion of the show, the singer was met with fan and fellow musician backlash. With multiple public apologies made, Anselmo sat down with Decibel to iron things out once and for all in his first full length interview since the incident.
“First and foremost, I do take full accountability,” Anselmo opened up. “I’m not deflecting at all. What I did was insulting, absolutely, and abhorrent, because it did truly upset people, and it hurts my heart that anyone would think that I’m the dreaded ‘R’ word—a racist. Anyone who truly knows me knows that it’s utterly ridiculous. But if I did offend my Jewish friends, people I work with, my associates, other people in bands… if I were to upset people in that particular way—that’s why I apologized. That apology is there—and no, you won’t get another one ever again.”
His humor crept back up, sneaking in the irony of being called a racist when he added, “It’s kinda funny, considering I’ve got a Mexican drummer and a half-black guitar player." As for still being labeled a racist, Anselmo called it "simpleton think," noting he is not as simple as others make him out to be.
"I’ve said it throughout the years, but my heroes are black; they’re Jewish—Mel Brooks, Rod Serling. The first time I shaved the sides of my head was because of Mike Tyson. The [Pantera] song ‘Mouth for War’ was written about the middleweight champ at the time—James f--king Toney. I don’t think people even know that," he defended.
Turning back to the Dimebash event, Anselmo pondered, “Should I have done it? Hell f--king no. Would I take it back? Absolutely," before citing his "dark" sense of humor and "volatile" temper. "But my sense of humor is dark and my temper is and always has been volatile, so I reacted. I reacted in an ignorant way. I own it. But do I believe in it? That’s ridiculous.”
When video first surfaced of the Dimebash incident, Anselmo was quick to comment that it was an inside joke about white wine backstage, though the legitimacy of this claim is shaky. In the interview, the frontman offered a new narrative behind the white wine bit, recalling a moment when he kissed King's X singer / bassist Doug Pinnick, a black male who came out as gay in 1998.
“The white wine thing was a running joke backstage after—get this—kissing Doug Pinnick on the lips. And he says to me, ‘Whoa—you taste good!’ Because I was drinking a bottle of white wine. I even joked about it with him—‘white power,’ hahaha," Anselmo offered.
Backing up his friend, Pinnick said, “He shouldn’t have done it. I can’t stick up for what he said. I think he was trying to be funny and controversial, but he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. I know people say, ‘How can you do something like that as a joke?’ But you gotta know Phil and his sarcasm."
He then went on to detail that the backstage area at Dimebash was restricted for certain artists, even ones performing that night, but nothing confirming the access Machine Head's Robb Flynn had. Following the event, Flynn posted a lengthy video condemning Anselmo and outing him that there was no white wine backstage. "What went down onstage was an extension of [the backstage chatter], but also a firm reaction to these motherf--kers [up front], who, that’s exactly what they wanted," Anselmo responded.
The conversation also shifted to Anselmo's comments about black on black crime in the '90s. “People say I have a history of racism. When I was in Pantera, I was completely and utterly confused when, in the ’90s, the T-shirt started circulating that said, ‘Stop Black On Black Crime,'" he described. "Today, as a damn-near-50-year-old man, living in 2016 where America is divided so completely, I understand it and I support that sentiment completely. But as a young man in my 20s, I didn’t understand it and I did speak out vehemently against it because to me it basically said, ‘Stop black on black crime, but everyone else is fair game.’ That’s how I took it. And anybody could get that misconception. So, there’s your mighty racist history right there. I took offense to a T-shirt," Anselmo clarified.
Since the controversy at Dimebash, Anselmo's sludge outfit Down were forced to cancel a handful of shows, but returned to the stage at the Psycho Las Vegas festival. The frontman has also released new music from his new black metal venture Scour and will drop the new Superjoint record, Caught Up in the Gears of Application on Nov. 11 through his own Housecore Records.
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