Philip Hansen "Phil" Anselmo (born June 30, 1968) is an American musician who is best known as the former lead singer of the heavy metal band Pantera. He is currently the frontman for the Louisiana-based heavy metal supergroup Down. Philip Anselmo is also the owner of Housecore Records and has been a part of many other projects.
Pantera was an unsigned glam metal band, with three self-released albums to their name. In 1986, it was decided by the band 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. They were signed to a record label by a scout who was stranded due to a hurricane. The band saw the scout at the venue and was disheartened when he left mid-set, but it turned out that the scout had left to phone the record label and to tell them to sign Pantera as soon as possible. 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 recorded Vulgar Display of Power. That same year, Pantera 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 #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. The trial was delayed three times. In May 1995, he apologized in court, pleaded guilty to attempted assault, and was sentenced to 100 hours of community service.
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 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 project, Superjoint 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." 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.
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.
In a lengthy and emotional video posted on Down's official website, Anselmo describes his regret over his previous behavior, 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.