Phil Anselmo Competes for Heavy Metal's Busiest Man
Phil Anselmo Competes for Heavy Metal's Busiest Man

Between Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual and so many others, Philip H. Anselmo has fronted nearly as many bands as he has tattoos. But with the just-released "Walk Through Exits Only," the venerable metal icon is putting his own name out front at last. And, he says, there's more where this came from.

"I know for a fact I do have two songs that I'll release strictly for the upcoming Housecore Horror (film) festival at the end of October in Austin, Texas," Anselmo tells Billboard. "Those two songs, I think, musically flow together pretty fuckin' well. They're very sarcastic, very tongue-in-cheek. It's all part of the ol' Philip Anselmo fucked-up world -- and I don't mean drunk or wasted. I mean just fuckin' crazy. It's crazy around here!"

Anselmo says the eight tracks on "Walk Through Exits Only" were culled from an estimated 15-17 songs he's been working on during the past couple of years, in-between producing other bands and recording with Down. 

"I could've put on any number (of songs) I wanted, but for me, these eight songs all together, 40-something minutes, that's my idea of a proper listening length," he explains. "When you start to get longer it gets a little redundant and boring, and I didn't want to bore anybody."

Stylistically, Anselmo says he and his band, the Illegals, "wanted to make a record that was as extreme as anything, really, without having to rely on blast beats solely or speed for the sake of speed or anything like that. I wanted it to be very unique within the extreme music genre. I wanted it to be a very tough record to slide into, a different listen and a difficult listen, but at the same time also show that song structure and songs and hook in general do not have to be as traditional as before. I wanted to make new types of hooks and new types of songs."

Anselmo and the Illegals hit the road starting to July 31 in Tulsa, Okla., with dates currently booked into August. He promises some "surprises" in the set list, adding that it's "very possible" some of those will come from the Pantera catalog. "But it won't be your average, humdrum Pantera song -- although I don't think there is a humdrum Pantera song," Anselmo says. "But there's a lot of bands out there that have covered "Walk" and songs like that. I would be more obscure about it."

His tour will cross paths with estranged Pantera bandmate Vinnie Paul's Hellyeah at the Heavy MTL festival in Montreal, but Anselmo doesn't expect any awkwardness between the two. 

"I think we're playing on different days. We always end up playing on different days," Anselmo notes. "Whether our paths cross or not, I still have my job to do, Vinnie has his job to do, so that should be the first order of business right there for both of us."

While more solo music is "definitely" in his future, Anselmo is also busy coordinating the Housecore Horror festival that takes place Oct. 25-27, which in addition to the movies will also featuring performances by Hate Eternal, Goblin and others. 

"That thing turned into a monster, it seems like, overnight," Anselmo gushes. "One of the most exciting things for me is we've received a lot of submissions from unknown directors and unknown filmmakers, a lot of new talent. That's like turning your best buddy onto a new band, so you're excited to do something like that. My biggest thing is I want people to come out and have fun, just have a blast with this shit."

Anselmo is also working on a book with true crime author Corey Mitchell, who's also his partner in the film festival, while Down plans to get together in November to start writing material for the next installment in its EP series, which began with last year's "Down IV Part 1 -- The Purple EP." 

"We already have some very, very great, great ammunition -- some killer riffs and some killer parts and some great ideas," Anselmo says. "I've been working pretty assiduously for lyrical concepts, 'cause with Down I can be more out there and write more to create an image instead of doing point-blank lyrics or sarcasm or anything like that. With Down I can be more trippy because it just fits the band better. I wouldn't be surprised if we're prepared and ready to release the next EP within the first month of 2014."