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"When I got [that] first guitar at nine, I wrote my first song. Even that young, I knew deep in my heart, no matter what phase of life I went through like sports or whatever, I'd always come full circle back to music. That's a whole different level of attraction." At the age of 13, Anselmo enlists the aid of area friends in forming his first band dubbed Samhain, preceding former Misfits vocalist Glenn Danzig's New Jersey-based act by two years.
When I picked up the guitar, it wasn't like I begged someone to teach me this or that song. Relegated to little more than garage performances, Anselmo splits both guitar and vocal duties, scraping together equipment wherever possible.
"You were surrounded by street musicians and musicians in bars all night 'cause there's no real closing time. The popular music of [my mother's] generation ― hearing it with her young friends ― there was no escaping the sounds of the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix. I can't count 'em out but I think about 'em a lot." Embracing influence brought on by the era's welcoming, laissez faire mentality amongst certain movements, Anselmo quickly discovers his artistic medium of choice. I was attracted to the instrument." Preferring creation over imitation, he instantly begins to pen original compositions and shun simply reiterating tunes of the day.
At the same time, his musical tastes are honing with the influx of New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands flowing through the underground metal circuit as well as standards such as Black Sabbath, Motörhead and Judas Priest.
We went through the stages of trying to find something to sing through.
I've sang through little recorder microphones rigged up through 20 different home stereo speakers, guitar amplifiers, bass amplifiers... 1985 to 1987 By 17, Phil Anselmo has graduated beyond pre-teen juvenility and is looking to form a serious act.
Discussing those monumental aspects that have created his legacy, Anselmo pares his core down to the three key sentiments: honesty, sincerity and always putting the next foot forward.
"I'm one massive fuck-up of an animal," he chuckles in his inimitably casual baritone rumble.
By the same token, I was the guy out with friends who were basically five bar stools away from him and his gaggle.Overcoming his demons, the past few years have seen Anselmo reconfigure into a stronger, meaner heavy metal powerhouse, re-releasing some his own greatest material as mastermind behind DIY-inspired label Housecore Records, become guitarist for old school hardcore brigade Arson Anthem, producer, engineer and eventually solo artist.While preparing to release Arson Anthem's obliterating sophomore full-length Insecurity Notoriety recently, Anselmo took time to pause and reflect on his storied history, enviable present and bright future."I was always the youngest guy in the band and we'd hooked up with some musicians who'd been playing in the local club circuit so that's how I got introduced to playing shows.