‘Dime & Vince would want the legacy of Pantera to go on’: Here’s our Full Phil Anselmo February Interview

'Dime & Vince would want the legacy of Pantera to go on': Phil Anselmo Interview
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This year is the 30th anniversary of the iconic Pantera album, Vulgar Display of Power. In celebration of this milestone, Phil Anselmo was kind enough to speak to us back in February, doing a deep dive on the creation of the album and dissecting its lasting impact and legacy.

We originally rolled out the interview in multiple parts. However, we’ve heard your cries (and bitchin’) on social media – you want the whole thing in one full piece. Fine, fine.

As part of the chat, we asked Phil what he thought Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul would say about Pantera’s legacy, and as you’ll see below, he gave a poignant and beautiful response.

So, without further ado, here is the full 10 minutes of our interview with Phil from February (see? we do listen to you, loyal The Pit brethren.)


Here’s the full timestamps of the chat if you’d like to skip around:

0:00: Phil reflects on creation of ‘This Love’

1:33: Expectations for Vulgar Display of Power

2:43: Phil talks writing the main riff for ‘Mouth for War’ & Dimebag improving it

3:37: Favorite Vulgar tour memories & Suicidal Tendencies’ Mike Muir saving the day

5:47: Writing ‘Walk’ and his initial resistance to the chorus

7:14: What Dimebag & Vinnie would say about Pantera’s legacy & their dream for the band

8:04: What the shows were like in ’92 for Pantera before they exploded


Full Interview Transcript:

Phil Anselmo reflects on the creation of ‘This Love’

“When I think about recording ‘This Love,’ writing the song, I think for us at the time it was- I don’t know- it felt very natural to write this type of song… but I guess, the dynamics in the song are what really makes the song and every part. So when it goes from that mellow part into the slamming… it’s unique, it’s unique, and a lot of bands used that same formula down the line I think. I don’t think we were the first, I just think we did it with the production and the sounds that Pantera had. It hits so hard dynamically, that’s what made it unique and all. I think the lyrics and stuff like that made it unique as well. You know when you hear a delicate jangly clean guitar riff. It was like I was making fun of a love song. You know, I knew what I was gonna do during the choruses sort of ,so of course, you know, the verses had to be similar to a love song. But then of course by the time the chorus comes around it just gets bashed to pieces!”

Phil Anselmo on the early reception to Vulgar Display of Power

“When Vulgar Display of Power first came out, my expectations for how it would do were… none. I never had any expectations for any record we ever did. I always felt like if I put an expectation upon it, I’d always get let down. I just let things happen as things happen, the reception of the record and God, the tours, the tours– the difference in the audience from Cowboys from Hell touring cycle to Vulgar Display was night and day truly. But I was surprised how positive the reception was and all the massive crowds and the fans. That was really the truth, well that was when people started coming to shows, Like you had to see Pantera.”

Phil Anselmo reflects on the creation of ‘Mouth for War’

“When we wrote ‘Mouth for War’, I wrote the main riff, Dimebag liked it and it sounded about 1,000 times better when he played it. And he made it his own, and everybody, God, they put that song together and we put that sound together. I think we knew we had written a pretty good song with that one, and I think the video for its time was, you know, you need to look at, groundbreaking, sort of, uh, action-packed shit like that. So very 90’s. Very 90s band like, so there you go.”

Phil Anselmo reflects on a core memory from the Vulgar Display of Power Touring Cycle

“We did a show with Prong. And in New York, they headlined, we opened the show. And maybe that’s where I got it all screwed up or something, but it’s unlike me to leave a venue at all. Some friends of mine from New Orleans showed up to the show. They were like, hey, let’s take a quick walk. There’s a store right next door. Now, let’s go get a beer and I said, OK, let’s go, and this is probably, yeah, definitely just before I said we’ll make it back. And in New York, you know, next door is kind of far. So we got the fucking beer and I’m heading back to the show and I gotta walk through the crowd… and before I get there, I see the crowd, but then I see my tour manager I see stage people they’re going ‘come on, holy shit’ like, I had jeans on, I had the wrong shirt on, man I had to run through the crowd and strip quickly and get dressed, and by the time I got dressed the band was on stage making noise. And someone’s talking into the microphone. I’m like, Oh my God. We make eye contact, I’m running onto the stage, we make eye contact. And Vince is about to count off the 1st song which was “Domination”. And I just grabbed the mic out of freaking Mike Muir’s hand, Mike from fucking Suicidal Tendencies is up on-stage stalling for me. And I like to thank him always for that moment, but it was surreal. I didn’t know what the hell was going on so that was a weird story.”

Phil Anselmo reflects on the creation of ‘Walk’

“When we wrote “Walk”, once again, I think it was a matter of the dynamics of the song. Dimebag’s vicious guitar tone and that simple little groovy riff and the way Vince drops in with that straight ass beat. I had trouble with that song because honestly, I didn’t want to do the gang vocal style of respect, walk. I didn’t want to have to do it because I didn’t think it was really our style to do that. So I did it anyway because Terry Date, our producer (extraordinary)… he wanted me to. He’s like man, stand over here and sing it, then stand over there and sing it, get back there and sing it and he made me sing it all over the freaking room, walk and all you know. They pushed forward and I did it. I’m not sorry that I did it that way, and that’s a good feeling. Powerful song. Incredible guitar solo, Big hooks, Walk as Dimebag would say.”

Phil Anselmo on what Dimebag and Vinnie would say about Pantera’s legacy

“Dimebag and Vince always wanted this band to be a legacy band, to be massive… to be our own conduit to success, simply put. I think Dime and Vince, I know Dime and Vince would want the legacy and the name of Pantera to go on and on and on and in everybody’s damn face. I know that for sure. Absa-fucking-utely dude, that would be their biggest dream.”

Phil Anselmo reflects on Pantera shows and fans in 1992

“The atmosphere in ’92 as far as the audience band relationship went was so close we were literally on top of each other. I can remember a show in New York, in 92 I do believe 91/92. By the third song of the set, I was singing behind Vince, Dimebag and Rex were all behind their amps. The whole front of the stage was just people skanking and stage diving and tripping out. And that’s what every show kind of aspired to be in 92. This was before we were this massive band, it was we were playing nice sized clubs and packing them out and everybody knew what the score was. They knew what they were coming to that damn show to do. And it was, You know as much as it’s made-up of individuals, there is a unifying ocean of people. When they’re moving in that audience and they’re pitting and stage diving and catching each other and all that stuff. There is a beautiful unison, and I think I’m using that word right? Everybody in this beautiful unison. That’s what the shows were like in ’92… sweaty as hell. Filthy as hell. And some people might say violent…but I’d say beautiful.”

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