Happy Birthday: Phil Anselmo of Pantera
Today marks the 46th birthday of one of the hardest-singing gentlemen in rock ‘n’ roll: Phil Anselmo, late of Pantera.
Born in New Orleans in 1968, Anselmo has said in the past that he grew up as kind of a quiet kid, so one can only presume that heavy metal provided him with the highly cathartic opportunity to finally lift up his voice and scream his f***ing lungs out. His musical career began in the early ‘80s, when he served as a member of the bands Samhain – no, not the one with Glenn Danzig – and Razor White, but it wasn’t until 1987, when he was provided with the opportunity to step into the lead vocalist position of Pantera after the band decided to part ways with their original frontman, Terrence Lee, that Anselmo truly had a chance to dive headlong into hard rock.
You can hear Anselmo on Pantera’s fourth studio album, 1988’s Power Metal, but we’re all friends here, so presumably we can be honest with each other: by most fans’ estimation, the band you’ve come to know and love didn’t truly kick into gear until their Atco debut, 1990’s Cowboys from Hell. (If you doubt this, you probably need look no further than the cover art for Power Metal.) Anselmo continued to front the band all the way through their final studio album, 2000’s Reinventing the Steel, but after touring behind the album, Pantera went on hiatus, and although they released a best-of collection in 2003, they’d officially broken up by the time the year was over.
You may also recall that there was some tension within the ranks of Pantera at various points during the final years of the band, and that’s probably a bit of an understatement when you consider that their next-to-last studio album, The Great Southern Trendkill, found Anselmo recording his vocals in New Orleans while the rest of the band recorded the music in Texas. Although a lot of blame has been tossed around in regards to who was responsible for the band’s eventual dissolution, bassist Rex Brown – the Switzerland of Pantera – effectively said that Ansalmo was no more or less at fault than drummer Vinnie Paul and guitarist Dimebag Darrell (may he rest in peace), so let’s just leave it at that, shall we?
In the post-Pantera era, Anselmo has kept plenty busy, most notably as a part of the bands Superjoint Ritual, Down, and – most recently – Phil Anselmo and the Illegals. Perhaps most importantly, though, he’s also got his own label, Housecore Records, which has provided fans with some very good and very, very hard music since its inception in 2001.
To celebrate Anselmo’s 46th, we’ve put together a playlist which features a whole lot of Pantera along with a little bit of Down for good measure. Give a spin, rock yourself silly, and wish our man Phil the best of birthdays.