About Phil Anselmo Yelling “White Power!”

As you probably heard, Phil Anselmo, former singer of Pantera (as well as Down and a bunch of other projects) decided to end a show at a tribute to Dimebag Darrel by yelling “White Power!” and giving what can only be described as a Hitler salute (a.k.a Roman salute). Since quite a few people called him out on it, he defended his actions by claiming that it was an inside joke, since he had been drinking white wine all night. As far as excuses go, I’ll be the first to say that it sounds pretty damn dodgy.

What some (obnoxious assholes) have called “Panteragate,” has taken some people to even investigate whether Phil was really drinking white wine that evening. This includes an 11-minute self-fellating video by Machine Head’s Robb Flynn, as well as some reports by Metal Sucks and Metal Injection, all of whom take the heroic and brave stance of saying “dude, it’s not OK to say Heil Hitler.” We can all be thankful that in 2016 we can finally find people who are willing to condemn Nazism.

The last couple of days have been full of people trying to boost their pageviews by condemning Anselmo and to increase their progressive cred. Hell, Robb Flynn even went as far as adding this nugget to the description of his video (titled, for some reason, “Racism in Metal,” ):

“Phil Anselmo screams “wh**e p**er”, and the silence is deafening…”

But the truth is that the silence isn’t deafening.

The reason why it’s good that Phil decided to do this shit, whether he did it as a joke or not (although he does seem to be daft enough to think it’s funny, and still not understand why people have a problem with it) is because it created a discussion. I think it’s terrific that people take sides and give their opinions, even at the cost of small cliques developing and “lol ur a faggot” being said over and over and over.

As soon as the video of Anselmo surfaced, people started to discuss it. People took stances, they opposed each other, they passionately argued about it. Sure, it’s the internet, so a big chunk of the comments were probably trash, since this is not the perfect medium to have a debate, but the discussion was there.

People seem to be arguing against this gigantic strawman of the racist heavy metal world, without providing any evidence besides the fact that Phil Anselmo seems to be a bit of a cunt. The many metal publications covering this event keep complaining about how metal publications aren’t covering this event. Look at any of the “big” metal magazines out there; every single one of them   is writing about this shit. And yet they all say it’s not being discussed (I’m looking at you Metal Injection, Loudwire Blabbermouth, Metal Sucks, SpinNoisey, etc.)

Another problem that has arisen as a result of Anselmo’s shtick, however, is that people are questioning whether they can still listen to his music. “Is it OK if I still listen to Pantera?” seems to be the question in many people’s minds. Granted, they’re not the brightest people (you shouldn’t need someone else’s permission to enjoy something), but the question exists.

Well, the answer is that it’s up to you. Since our only experience from musicians and artists is via the creations they put out, we are often surprised to see that they have their own opinions on things, and that many of them are dumb as fuck. Iced Earth’s John Schaeffer takes the film Zeitgeist as gospel, Dave Mustaine is a crazy born-again Christian, Varg Vikernes is a self-professed racist and survivalist, and Gene Simmons says crazy shit every time he opens his mouth. Whether or not you are able to separate the person from the art is something that only you can decide.

While there are bands, like Arghoslent, whose ideologies play an essential role in the music, people like Anselmo and Mustaine create (or have created) music that seems to be independent of their own ideologies. This is hardly a unique situation to heavy metal. Salvador Dali was an alleged supporter of fascism, as were Karl Orff and Arno Breker, and Richard Wagner really had a problem with Jews. For many people this taints their works to a level that makes it impossible to enjoy them (this is why performing Wagner operas in Israel usually encounters angry protests); others see the work as independent from their creator. Once it’s out of the artist it no longer belongs to them, at least as far as their ideologies go.

Although I was never a Pantera fan, I sincerely hope that Phil Anselmo doesn’t get banned from shows due this shit. He deserves to be called out on it by the people who were offended by his words, and I think he owes an explanation as to what the fuck he was thinking when he did it (UPDATE: HE DID). Beyond that, however, perhaps this is just another demonstration that paying attention to what is said by people whose talent (as big as it might be) is for playing music may not be the brightest move.

Still, I have to say it’s kind of weird that all these sites were completely OK with doing some of the David Bowie worship after his passing, even though the man was a rapist. Say what you want about dumb, old Phil, at least he isn’t the one fucking children.

UPDATE: Phil Anselmo published an apology.

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Considered by his mother as the brightest and prettiest boy, J's interest in metal started in his early teens, listening to bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica (coupled with an embarrassing period in which Marilyn Manson "totally represents me, man") eventually moving into the realm of power, black, and death metal. He holds a PhD in law, trains martial arts, practices law, and enjoys coming up with excuses as to why he has to miss work after going to a concert. He also dabbles as a concert photographer, you can see his sub-par work on his instagram.
  • Finally, a reasonable article about this situation. All other metal publications have spent their time condescendingly telling the metal scene that racism is bad, but this article actually put some thought into it. People nowadays really need to separate the art from the artist. Seth Putnam wrote a song talking about how Hitler was a sensitive man. Did Seth Putnam actually praise Hitler? Well, I don’t know because Seth Putnam is dead, but it’s retarded to think that Seth Putnam praised Hitler simply because he wrote a song about Hitler. Likewise, Phil being an asshole does not automatically make his music evil.

    • gp3hb

      I do separate the art from the artist. I will happily listen to my Pantera and Down records. Which doesn’t mean I can’t say Anselmo behaved like an asshole, and his racist remarks should be condemned. The fact that we now hear that he was always an asshole, apparently, is not an excuse.

      When you write: “…simply because he said something that other people found distasteful.” and use the term “authoritarian”, my neck hairs stand on end. It’s not a matter of taste, you know. Racism is bad, period. And speaking out against racism is not “authoritarian”, it’s just decent human behaviour. Anselmo’s band being cancelled from a music festival is not censorship; it’s just Karmic justice for asshole behaviour which was displayed ON STAGE. If Anselmo wants to start writing blog posts or even a book about how he thinks racism and nazism are okay, then he is constitutionally entitled to do so. But that doesn’t mean other people or organizations are OBLIGATED to provide a platform for such bullshit.

  • gp3hb

    I think the author is a self-fellating (word invented by himself!) hypocrite, and a jaded asshole, and self-contradicting even.

    First he calls Robb Flynn’s response out for being “self fellating” and then he writes: “He deserves to be called out on it by the people who were offended by his words (…)”. Uhm, yeah, that was exactly Robb Flynn’s point…?Your self pity about the metal community being “stigmatized”, does not mean we can’t call people out on their racism.

    And then the author writes “perhaps this is just another demonstration that paying attention to what is said by people whose talent (as big as it might be) is for playing music may not be the brightest move.”

    Okay, that’s the jaded bit that you see so much of on the internet, that I’m sick and tired of. This is what people mean when they write that racism and other cunt-behaviour is being “brushed off”. So just because people are musically talented, we must assume that they are total assholes on all other aspects? That may be true for Phil Anselmo, but there are plenty of super talented musicians who are totally decent and nice people. Yes, the author is write that plenty of music websites are writing about it… and rightly so, I would say! You think if everybody just ignored it and went “Oh whatever if someone yells sieg hiel, Hitler is long dead anyway.”, that would be better? I respectfully disagree!

    As much as there are people and websites talking about this (which the author seems to agree is a GOOD thing), there are (too) many people who are more concerned with speaking out against those websites, than against Phil Anselmo. And this author seems to be one of them… and yet still here he is, writing a piece about it, partaking in the discussion, while chastising other websites for writing about it. Seriously dude, I don’t know what your point is, or why you think you are more mature or ‘wiser’ than the others for writing what you no doubt think is an incredibly intelligent and nuanced response. Hate to disappoint you, but there is no prize, karma, medal or other reward for being “nuanced” about racism. You can just condemn it. There is nothing wrong with that.

    “We can all be thankful that in 2016 we can finally find people who are willing to condemn Nazism.” Uhm, yes in fact we CAN be thankful, because apparently it is still necessary. If you think nazism and racism are dead, and we can all just go peacefully back to sleep, brushing off Anselmo’s comments because racism isn’t a problem anymore in the world of 2016… then I’m affraid you are living in a utopia dream world. Speaking out against racism is STILL necessary, and I’m affraid will always be necessary. The fact that World War II was 60 years ago doesn’t give humanity any excuse.

    • J_MetalBlast

      Hi! Thanks for stopping by. Let’s go one by one

      1. “Self-felating”: It’s not an invented word. They’re two words. You can also use “autofellation” if you prefer.
      2. Robb’s video: The problem is not that he made the video, it’s that his video doesn’t add anything to do the discussion other than “what he did is bad.” It’s a self-promoting work. We discuss it at length in the podcast, you can go listen to it there.
      3. Hitler: I don’t know where you’re going with that. I never suggested people should just let crazy shit slip.
      4. Chastising sites: At no point did I criticize the fact that people are writing about it.
      5. Racism is dead: That’s not what I said.

      It seems fairly clear that you had a response in mind even before you finished reading. I’m sorry my article didn’t fit the strawman you so carefully built. I hope in the future I can be more deserving of that hatred so you eagerly want to spew.

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  • Rivershield

    Holy shit, you guys needs some red pills on race realism and even nazism. Before you call me a racist, I will say that I’m not a nazi advocator, I’m not even white.
    But let me tell this: Metal is dying because metal musicians themselves became a bunch of cringy faggots. The ideologies they fought against in the past (christianity, conservatism, etc) are already defeated. The western world is already under liberal rule, and you degenerate fucks contributed to this. You can do whatever the fuck you want nowadays, such as spit on crosses, be sodomites and all kinds of degenerate shit that only Marely Manson would be able to do 15 years ago.
    What you can’t be nowadays is a proud white christian heterossexual nationalist.
    The reason metal was so appealing is that it was culturaly danjurous, but now that the world is allied with the moral liberty that metal always advocated for, metal became almost irrelevant.

    My point is that Metalheads should understand two things: First, if they want to become appealing as they were in the past, they should shift political and moral sides. Second, Metal was a tool for cultural degeneration in the west by attacking its very foundations. The metal scene should stop trying to be edgy by doing the wrong thing and begin being edgy by doing the right thing. They should start profiting by offending the right people, not by attacking the ideologies of decent, working class people.