Philip Anselmo of Down, Pantera and Arson Anthem Meets Bill Moseley of "Rogue River" for "Rogue on Rogue"
Mon, 11 Oct 2010 07:34:09
All artists are driven by demons to some extent.
Behind the most powerful music and films, there's always some kind of thirst. It's that desire to push boundaries. It's that hunger to shake things up. It's that unquenchable fire burning through convention. It's that combination of blood, sweat and tears that makes an album like Arson Anthem's Insecurity Notoriety so brilliantly brutal. There are four souls driven by those classic demons propelling Insecurity Notoriety—Mike Williams [Eyehategod, vocals], Philip Anselmo [Pantera, Down, guitar], Hank Williams III [drums] and Collin Yeo [bass]. The album sprays vitriol like shrapnel, as all classic hardcore should.
Insecurity Notoriety is just what heavy music needs. You can feel that blast when it officially drops on October 12, 2010 via Housecore Records.
Legendary Down and Pantera frontman Philip Anselmo continues to conjure sonic intensity like no one else. Between founding Housecore Records and riffing on Insecurity Notoriety, there's no shortage of inspiring and invigorating music coming from Anselmo. In addition, he's got Down's new DVD, Diary of a Mad Band, a down-n-dirty look at the band on the road. You've never seen the road like this…
Horror stalwart Bill Moseley is driven by the same demons. He's become a fan favorite from playing psychos like "Chop Top" in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 and Otis in The Devil's Rejects and House of 1,000 Corpses. He's worked with everyone from Sam Raimi to Rob Zombie. Now, he's taking another turn at nefarious and malevolent in Rogue River, continuing to create real evil on screen.
There's an inherent connection between horror and heavy metal. "Evil Dead changed my life," Anselmo enthusiastically exclaims. "It was like Slayer's Hell Awaits, and they even came out about the same time."
That's not the only crossover between horror and heavy metal though. For this exclusive "Rogue on Rogue" feature, Philip Anselmo meets Bill Moseley to discuss their respective discoveries of music and horror, some pretty hilarious stories, favorite flicks and so much more.
Pick up Arson Anthem's Insecurity Notoriety and Down's Diary of a Mad Band and don't miss Bill in Rogue River!
Video of this interview will be coming soon!
When did you both find music?
Bill Moseley: I think it was when I was on my way to church on Sundays. I started playing bongos on the car dashboard because I didn't really like going to Sunday school [Laughs].
Philip Anselmo: That's where your musical career started? Believe it or not, the most influential album for me—when I was just a mere shrimp—was Walt Disney's Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House [Laughs]. It was side 2. The first side is a narration. It goes into this wind and howling banshees! I kept the whole house up with it. I lived in the French Quarter, and there was music everywhere, but that one record with all the shrieks and groans was it for me. As a kid, I'd be imitating that stuff. I think that's where I started using my voice. Not to mention, the whole house shook with Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. My folks were of that era. There you go!
Bill Moseley: My mom played Scott Joplin's "Rags," and the first '45 that I ever had was "Take this Hammer" by Leadbelly. I don't know why that was [Laughs].
Philip Anselmo: Wow! I inherited my folks' record collection. KISS was a staple when I was a kid. Other than that, it was The Beatles and Frampton Comes Alive—what a record at the time!
Bill Moseley: Your parents were into that?
Philip Anselmo: Yes!
Bill Moseley: We are of a different generation [Laughs].
When did you both become horror aficionados?
Philip Anselmo: When did you discover horror?
Bill Moseley: 10 years before you [Laughs]. I was actually crawling into the living room at night.
Philip Anselmo: It's the same story!
Bill Moseley: I'd see movies like Beginning of the End with the giant grasshopper and Killer Shrews. When I grew up, there was still black and white TV. I was told to never get out of bed once you're put to bed. I'd sneak down the hallway, try to avoid the creaking floor boards and go in and watch the "Midnight Movie." I'm from Northern Illinois.
Philip Anselmo: Did it have a horror host?
Bill Moseley: Yup!
Philip Anselmo: That's great! Your story is pretty much the same as mine [Laughs]. We had a black and white TV, and there was the "Saturday Matinee," which was a horror fest. As a matter of fact, I was home alone and I saw Mario Bava's Black Sabbath, but that's a later memory. There was the afternoon show, and then the Saturday night show had a horror host, "The Guru." Honestly, the most impactful one was the "Sunday Morning Movie"—films like Fiend Without a Face and How Awful About Allan. Believe it or not, those were on TV! Shit like that flipped me out. I would sneak up and beg my mother every night, "Can I stay up and watch Night Gallery?" [Laughs] I was sneaking out of bed too though.
Bill Moseley: My family was very Halloween-friendly, for all of the religion and whatever was going on. My dad loved to "arrange things" to take us kids to that scared the crap out of us on Halloween. He'd take us to the old "Hermit's House" at the edge of town. He'd park the car 100 yards down the street and say, "Go back there and get something off the front porch!" This was a house lit only by an old lantern with a bunch of old newspapers stacked outside.
Philip Anselmo: That's awesome! When you're a kid, you can see the ghosts in the windows.
Bill Moseley: We'd get up there, and somebody would scream! We'd all run back to the car. We'd go to the cemetery and dad would arrange it so the cops from town would bust us with the lights flashing and we'd freak out!
Philip Anselmo: He'd arrange it? [Laughs] That's incredible. As well-known as New Orleans is, it's a really small city. Man, they always had the neighborhood haunted houses. It stuck with me so much that I started "The House of Shock" in New Orleans. That's still a gigantic haunted house. I'm not associated anymore, but I was always Halloween-friendly as well. I loved the old rickety amusement park rides. I used to live for that shit. It's torn down now, but the only amusement park that we had in New Orleans was called Pontchartrain Beach. It was right on the water, and they had the roller coasters and all of that. However, it was The Haunted House! They'd play that Goddamn Chilling Thrilling Sounds soundtrack through the fucking speakers [Laughs].
Bill Moseley: Would you get in a car to go through the haunted house?
Philip Anselmo: Yes! It was this big Grim Reaper-type car. The skull would be holding you in his arm, and you're sitting in his fucking lap. It would break down so we'd get out of the cars, go running through and touch the props and shit. It was awesome.
Bill Moseley: I just went to a screening of Fun House!
Philip Anselmo: I like watching that movie for the fact that they're showing that haunted house. Those are killer memories.
Is there a real personal exorcism on the Arson Anthem record for you?
Philip Anselmo: When we'd created Arson Anthem, I'd come from a stint with Down. I'd done a stint with Superjoint Ritual, and Pantera had finished. Hurricane Katrina had blown through. When we came back home, Mike Williams' house was burned down in the riots after Katrina. Musicians were displaced, and everybody was scattered. We were fucking frustrated, man. Mike lost his record collection, which was legendary. He had every punk record you could think of from the beginning the genre. It's all melted plastic now. We were going through my stuff—which is pretty extensive—and reliving the days of Agnostic Front, Black Flag, Sheer Terror and Righteous Pigs. Then, we were like, "Let's jam!" In one way or another, that first EP we did was really out of blatant frustration. It was our spin on what moved us so much during that golden time in the mid-80s to the late 80s. That was when there were actual scenes. The scene in New York had hardcore matinees in the afternoon. No matter where you went, New Orleans had a great scene, and Texas had a great scene. You can't leave out California either. The best two bands to come out California were Black Flag and Slayer. Doing the second Arson Anthem—which is 17 songs and 30-minutes long—there was magic in the air. Hank III plays the ever-loving fuck out of the drums. I'm not a great guitar player by any stretch, but I'm pretty creative. I've always played guitar so that isn't so much of a departure. It's like going back and listening to your favorite hardcore record of the time, but there is something that comes to life there. There's a lot of attitude, and I'm proud of it.
Fans can depend on the Housecore Record label.
Philip Anselmo: To every music movement or scene, there is always a thriving underground. It may not be a scene in a city anymore, thanks to Facebook and all of this shit [Laughs]. I like gigging bands that will get out there and play live. That's the difference. As a musician, I like to think and hope that not all of the fucking notes have been hit. I'm looking for those missing notes and the difference in music. With Housecore, it's not just a metal label. There's extreme music of all kinds. There are genres and sub-genres. There are bands I've got like The Sursiks. Where am I going to lump them? They're definitely not a metal band. Frank Zappa-ish, sure, but no….Genius, absolutely! Take a band like haarp. You can get their first two records through TheHouseRecords.com. Don't think you can't! [Laughs] What I'm most proud of is their third release! I produced this fucking record, and it is a monster. It's coming out November 23rd, and it's called The Filth. haarp is a wide open vessel. They are conceptually bizarre. They're fucking great at what they do. There's an eclectic bunch that I'm dealing with here. We're not simply packing on bands to have this gigantic fucking catalog. It's one thing at a time. There's no pressure on the artist. That's another reason why I started Housecore. I don't want a record per month. I want motherfuckers to take their time and do the record the best they fucking can. Not many people get that opportunity to sit there and take months to finish a product. If it's worth it, let's do it. There's no rush here at Housecore. Take it easy. Be proud of what you put out.
How important is music to acting?
Bill Moseley: It's really important! I like to put together a soundtrack for characters. When I go into battle, I can chill out during my downtime and listen to the music that sustains that character and sometimes illuminates it. It's essential. Those are all kind of strands of the same rope. You have to hear something in your head when you're doing those characters.
Philip Anselmo: I get exactly what you're saying.
Bill Moseley: I actually did one scene in Army of Darkness, and I was hearing "The Ride of Valkyries." It was 4am, and I was on a horse. I was under about 30lbs of rubber, because I was the new captain of the army of the dead. I was leading a charge. I had a sword in one hand and the reins of my horse. I had a white milky lens over one eye and a patch over another with a little pinhole through it so I could actually see a little bit. I was leading another horse that had a rubber skeleton in the saddle, so I had to keep that low to pretend the skeleton was riding his own horse. We had to charge down through 100 extras with swords, pikes and torches at four in the morning in Acton, California. It was cold as shit. We ended up doing three different takes, and it was scary.
Philip Anselmo: How long was each take?
Bill Moseley: That was probably a five-minute take, which is a really long one. The situation was very perilous so I needed something to concentrate me, so it was "The Ride of the Valkyries." Somebody actually did fall off their horse, and I think he might've broken his back so there was a bit of a delay. The crew van showed up. Then there was a police car. That went away. Eventually a fire truck pulled up. That went away. About an hour later, an ambulance showed up and they actually carted the guy away. It was dangerous stuff.
Philip Anselmo: A five-minute take of one thing is long! I know that from doing music videos. Then again, that's an awesome story right there…
Bill Moseley: That was a stressful job!
Philip Anselmo: But now you can smile about it [Laughs].
Bill Moseley: I want to know your top five favorite horror movies.
Philip Anselmo: That's tough! Honestly, I get on different trips. I get on Karloff trips, man—roles that people don't know too much about. He's obviously a character actor, but I think he's one of the most underrated in a certain way. Of course, the image of Frankenstein sticks forever. However, right after Frankenstein, he did The Old Dark House, where he's Morgan the Butler. What a fucking movie! It moves at a snail's pace. The atmosphere is insane. It's got Charles Laughton and a young Melvyn Douglas, who was later in The Changeling. I saw that in the movie theater. I think The Changeling is one of the best haunted house films I've ever seen. Then there's stuff like The Black Room, where Karloff does a dual role. He's a twin brother. Bedlam's a great one. Then there's the original The Bodysnatcher with Karloff and Henry Daniel. It's so great!
Bill Moseley: When I did the remake of The Night of the Living Dead, I was told to prepare for the part of Johnny. I ended up using Die Monster Die with Karloff. I studied that.
Philip Anselmo: That's an awesome movie! I went through a phase of Lucio Fulci. He was relentless with the gore. I like atmosphere. I love Mario Bava. The atmosphere in Kill Baby Kill is incredible. How about all of The Exorcist spin-off movies? Demon Witch Child!
Bill Moseley: [Laughs] You know!
Philip Anselmo: I guess it's just a memory of being a kid, but I have an awesome collection of all the old TV series like Ghost Story and Boris Karloff's Thriller, which has great atmosphere and stories.
Bill Moseley: There's Night Gallery too!
Philip Anselmo: Night Gallery is awesome! You can't leave out The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.
Bill Moseley: Have you ever thought of writing a horror movie or putting out your own horror stories?
Philip Anselmo: As a kid, I used to do this and that.
Bill Moseley: Let's do one!
Philip Anselmo: I would do it. Given the outlet and the fucking time, I think I could pull it off. That's a heads down project, but if you say let's do one, then let's do one! It'd have to be pretty harsh.
Bill Moseley: [Laughs] Of course!
Philip Anselmo: We have to pick an awesome subject. I like to think that not everything's been discovered yet.
Bill Moseley: One of the reasons was happy to play Chop Top in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 was because The Texas Chainsaw Massacre had really disturbed me. It had hurt me deep. I made the mistake of thinking if I watched it another eight or nine times, I could push back from it. It only pounded that wedge deeper into me. It really freaked me out that rural America could be like that. I was young at the time. I was thinking everybody would be a hippie spiritualist at their core and not looking to eat me or my friends [Laughs]. I made it to Austin, TX in the Spring of 1986 to shoot Chainsaw 2, and I met Tobe Hooper for the first time. We were talking about Chainsaw, and I was shocked because he said he considered that a comedy! He thought that was funny, and I was shocked! He'd warped my mind for ten years, and now he's telling me it's funny [Laughs].
Philip Anselmo: Question, low budget, under-the-radar, did you catch a movie called Chasing Sleep?
Bill Moseley: No, I'm going to have to add that one to the list.
Philip Anselmo: It's a gritty disturbing film. You need to see it! It's a really trippy movie about this guy just imploding.
What's up with Diary of a Mad Band, Philip?
Philip Anselmo: Down has a DVD out that documents us getting back together. In 2006, we got back together after this long hiatus. I'd been through a major back surgery. I was just six months out, and that was pretty unexpected. It's raw. I hadn't really sang in a long time. We had never been to Europe as Down. Separately, we'd all been to Europe in our other bands, but Down hadn't been. We had this core audience there, and we got a slot as the unannounced guest on the Download Festival. It's the biggest shindig as far as summertime festivals go in the UK. We booked shows all around that for a month, and the DVD documents that pretty well. It's very raw, and you get to see how far we've come from that point.
What are you up to, Bill?
Bill Moseley: I've got a movie called Rogue River that's premiering Monday night at the Screamfest L.A. horror film festival. That is another happy film with me doing horrible things to people [Laughs]. I have a CD out called Spider Mountain No Way Down, and our music video for the song "No Way Down" is incubating right now. It should be ready some time in November.
Should Philip and Bill collaborate?
For more Philip check out our in-depth interview about Housecore Records here!
For the last "Rogue on Rogue" with Wes Craven and Corey Taylor of Stone Sour and Slipknot click here!