I’m a bit behind the rest of the world but today I figured I’d throw my two pence into the whole Phil Anselmo debate. When I say debate, what I really mean is I am going to agree with everyone else. YES, Pantera are one of the greatest bands of all time. YES, Anselmo was a big part of that. YES, he has since gone on to be in some other brilliant bands. YES, he is also a massive racist cunt.
Because that’s the thing, there is no getting passed that. There’s nothing you can say to defend Anselmo’s actions. The simple fact is, he is not a nice person. Can you believe that and still love Pantera, Down and so on? Of course, you can. You can divorce the man from the music and that’s fine, but that doesn’t mean we should let him get away with this and it terrifies me that that is going to happen.
As much as there were a hundred think pieces, much like this one, written about Anselmo last Friday, it feels like this Monday it has been forgotten. He issued an apology video, explained he was drunk, he was sad and he was joking with friends. And people, seem to have accepted that, scarily some suggest he didn’t even need to apologise. But here’s the thing. I’ve been sad, I’ve been joking with friends and I have sure as hell been drunk and yet I’ve never turned into a racist. I’m sure all of you have been in similar positions and I hope your experiences are closer to mine than Phil’s. This isn’t a one-off mistake and yet once again, the bastard is going to get away with it.
Phil Anselmo is not going to be touched by this. Sure, he has to put up with the likes of Robb Flynn calling him on his shit, but apart from that, where is he hurt? The likes of Andy Copping have laughed it off and quite frankly wimped out on listening to those that say he should be removed from the Download line-up, the same way he dismissed accusations about how fucked up it is when young girls are booed for not showing their breasts. Waking up this morning, nothing will have changed in Phil Anselmo’s life. There might be a minority of fans that refuse to go to his shows and a small number of bands who won’t tour with him, but nothing that will stick and that sucks.
It all reminds me of The Big Short, a film which rightly points out that nothing happened to the people who fucked the world’s economy. They were allowed to just keep doing what they were doing and are right now slipping back into those same old habits. Phil Anselmo’s fucked up time after time, and this time, he has been called on it. And yet I can’t help but think that next year it will have been forgotten. The metal community is one of my favourite things in the world and yet this kind of shit is happening far too often. It’s time for us to stand up and make sure that people don’t think guys like Phil talk for us, no matter how great his bands have been.