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Metal/Prog Metal Interviews

Superjoint Ritual

Interviewed by Bob Cooper
Interview with Phil Anselmo of Superjoint Ritual From 2003


MSJ: This interview is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 3 at lulu.com/strangesound.

How did this band come about?
Well, like any of the other bands, it just happened. In 1993, or just the 90's in general, Pantera put the spin on heavy metal as it was, so there was all these bands basically trying to catch up with Pantera, and now today in the 2000's they sure have caught up and they sounded exactly like Pantera sounded. What we wanted to do with Superjoint was really go back to the time when music meant a lot to us. I guess I've said it once and I will say it again, when heavy metal met with hardcore music and the crossover began, that allegiance of two styles of music was a beautiful one compared to other allegiances of music you could put together. Metal and hardcore definitely belonged together and that is basically what we are doing here with Superjoint.
MSJ: Yeah, it is undeniable the influence Pantera had on metal bands, and it did somewhat become the standard goal with many of the bands. Of those bands that did carry on this "tribute", are there any that you feel are worthy of the genre?
No.
MSJ: So was this project and actual songs up and running in 93?
Oh yes, absolutely. We started jamming then , and obviously everybody's schedule was a little taken up at the time, and all throughout the 90's, but we would always find time to write between seven and ten songs and get back together a couple of months later and rework them and eventually go ahead and demo them out. We would end up making three or four demos before anything else, so it all came real naturally to us. Believe me, when we wrote the stuff I wish it would've come out, but hey-I can't cry about that. This is just when it came out. Actually timing is perfect in a way for Superjoint, now that heavy metal is fucking obscure now in this era. I just got a big load of new CD's and stuff in the mail, and Chee-rist, it just seems like there are so many bands, so many people in bands, so many bands in general are just straight-up confused. They don't know what they really want to be, and when they say "we are this type of band" or "that type of music", I don't think most of the bands or the music is even strong enough to merit saying they are any type of music yet. It just feels very immature to me right now, and I think this is a time in music that is going to be looked upon as a very confused era.
MSJ: I couldn't agree more. Being in media I get those same stacks of CD's you get, and it is uncanny. What is worse is that they all respect each other but sound pretty much all alike. Years ago The Beatles influenced a plethora of bands, but at least those bands didn't try to sound just like the Beatles, and if they did, they were laughed off the stage. Now while it has got to feel pretty good that your music reached all of those people and that these people thought enough of you to pattern themselves after you, but good god-get some originality going on and they will achieve more on their own musical merits.
Well, besides being a good musician, with that you've gotta be able to write music, and be able to write songs. Anybody can learn a bunch of guitar scales and can get real fast at them or real tight at them, but if you can't write a song out of it, you are basically screwed. I am not the best guitar player in the world, but I can definitely write songs within the style of this kind of music. To get a song out of these kind of parts we're doing which are really giving props to bands like Agnostic Front and Discharge, who in all probability a band that should stick out in somewhat of an original way because there aren't any bands doing what we are doing right now, that are sticking out as noticeably as we are. And definitely at the shows the crowd is voracious, so we obviously know that we are carrying some kind of torch.
MSJ: Well, you have gained much respect by not doing what the bulk of the bands are doing trying to write pop songs in hopes of radio play. What you have done is write powerful songs that still stick in the fans' minds, but not to a degree of selling out.
No, not at all. Especially when you can tell that these bands in question are really shooting for that as well. Maybe somewhere along the line they may have been labeled a heavy band, but when they are sitting there shooting for hits and radio success and MTV success and things like that, then they are missing the point completely.
MSJ: Of course, you have to remember that many of these bands go into the studio sometimes armed with some great stuff, only to be told by the record company's A&R man that they have to change up their sound because old such-and-such is doing this or that and it's selling records. Executive contamination, I call it.
I know. I don't see how any record company exec or A&R person could be even functional right now. I don't see how they can go see a band right now and decide if it was pliable or not. What are they looking for anyway? An overnight sensation or a band with longevity? Hell, even when Pantera came out that was the question, you know, and Pantera was the answer. Well, we are kind of in the same situation here with music, and Superjoint to me is definitely an answer to any person who is sick of what they are hearing and they miss the rawness of old school heavy metal hardcore. We are the band to turn to.
MSJ: With a star-studded lineup like you have there, it sounds like this project has been too long in the waiting.
Yeah, way too long, and it is so comfortable with these guys. The chemistry is so there, and it feels so natural.
MSJ: With all the different bands and projects that you have dabbled in have you ever considered, in an attempt to battle scheduling conflicts, maybe touring, say, Superjoint with Down or even Pantera as sort of a "Philfest"?
I think maybe it has crossed my mind, but in all honesty I put out so much with any one of my bands that, say, if I did the Down set, and went off for 30 minutes and came back out and did Superjoint, then it wouldn't really be fair to the Superjoint kids, because I would have put out so much for the Down set, or vice versa. It just wouldn't work out. I don't know, it's kinda cool having other bands. I don't mind so much having a couple different bands play, and just see, you know. But with any of my bands, the music is so different. Each band has its own identity to the maximum, and they have their own different crowds. A Phil-fest would be kind of nice, but I'd probably have to be rushed to the hospital.
MSJ: When I saw Down at last years Ozzfest, it was blazing hot up there and every one looked like they were going to pass out. I especially felt sorry for the Mushroomhead guys, being in those masks and all. When they came offstage they jumped into the back of their truck and just started yanking off layers of latex.

Well, my last question is just for fun, but did Pantera ever do porno soundtracks under the table?
I have no idea. I was never involved to my knowledge. You never know-it sounds like something a couple of the guys might be into, but I have no idea.
MSJ: Actually Dime mentioned something about it too, so I set out on a porn-watching marathon in search of these rare gems, and while I never made a positive ID, there were some suspect Matt Zane films that I earmarked for reference.
Well, he might have been pulling your leg, or he could've been dead serious. I just don't know.
You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
 
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