As Superjoint Ritual prepares to tour for the first time in ten years, Decibel caught up with legendary frontman Philip H. Anselmo — a top five extreme metal vocalist, by our recent estimation — for a chat about resurrecting dormant bands, the bittersweet upcoming third Housecore Horror Film Festival, the late, great Corey Mitchell, and the state of that long gestating autobiography, Mouth For War.
But it all began with a strange dissonant buzz…
Sounds like you’ve got a track mixing in the background…
A track mixing in the background? I hear a bunch of strange noises…
Oh, no. It’s this hum on my fucking line because I’m out in the goddamn woods and this phone sucks. It’s terrible, man. Can you at least hear me?
I can, no problem! Little disappointed though — I thought maybe I was hearing an exclusive Author & Punisher remix or something.
Now that you say so, it does sort of sound like that! Good one. Let me tell you, though…the new Author & Punisher record, Melk En Honing? Look forward to that sucker, because it is a real trip. Comes out on June 30 — my birthday, which I of course share with Mike Tyson. The songs and sounds Tristan Shone — he who is Author & Punisher — creates are something else. I’m real excited to get that one out.
So…first Superjoint tour in over a decade is about to go down. Is there a particular reason you’re resurrecting the band now or did the stars just align with everyone’s schedules?
Well, truth be told, I didn’t even want to revisit Superjoint. I was very much talked into it for Housecore Horror Fest II, largely by [the late celebrated true crime author, festival co-founder and metal writer] Corey Mitchell. I had mixed feelings, but once we got in the practice room and started jamming we all thought, “Fuck, there’s a lot of cool surprises about being back in this rigamarole again!” You know, there’s a simplicity — a straight-to-the-fucking-point-ness — to a lot of these songs that I never really gave its due before. And I’d forgotten the power some of the crowd favorites carry. Soon enough we were messing around with new riffs and talking about maybe doing this and that — it was all just very natural. So this tour is about hitting the small venues, getting our land legs back under us and testing the waters a little bit.
Now hold up a goddamn second. Did I just say getting our land legs under us and testing the waters? That makes no fucking sense whatsoever. Pardon me, I’m a little jet lagged. Point is, man, it’s fun. So fuck it, we’re doing it.
Why the initial reluctance?
I don’t know. I guess I hadn’t really even thought about Superjoint for a good long time. I’d moved on, you know? I was off doing a lot of Down stuff, which I still am. Doing the Illegals, which I still am. Doing the record label and my producing and the horror fest, which I still am. It all came together unexpectedly, but it’s been a blast. We just played Hellfest in France; headlined one of the stages there — our second show in ten years and first ever in Europe — and it was killer, man. No extra frills. Just us, the crowd, and the songs. I’m happy I got talked into it. Thank you Corey Mitchell.
Speaking of Corey, I interviewed him a few times, and he was just such a force of nature — just a passionate, awesome guy who loved what you guys were doing with Housecore Horror. Was it difficult to move forward with the fest without him?
Not at all. Corey would probably crawl out of his grave and strangle me if we didn’t carry on. [Chuckles] It was a must. He was the hardest fighter for this dream. And Housecore Horror is something he always wanted to build on. Boy, I’ll tell you this about Corey: He was a guy who shot for the stars. We’re trying to get the first one off the ground and he’s saying to me, “Man, we’re going to bring this thing to Europe one day and it’s going to be huge!” Meanwhile, I’m like, “Slow down, brother!” [Laughs] This year’s fest is definitely going to be about honoring his memory. It’s bittersweet, you know? Corey isn’t here to see the great bands we’ve lined up to play or the awesome movies we’re going to screen. But we’re doing exactly what he would want us to do. We’ve got a great team and we’re working real hard to do him proud — as we will every year we continue on with it.
The fest is in November. It seems like a huge undertaking. Where are you at in the process?
Right now the submissions are just starting to fucking pour in. I was just gone six, seven days and there’s a pile of stuff to go through — which is great. I love it. It’s a pretty diverse lineup thus far and, by God, the stuff I can’t tell you about future announcements? It’s going to be a big year. It’s going to be awesome. And it’s going to be for Corey.
Housecore Horror is moving from Austin to San Antonio this year. Why do you think that’s a good fit?
Oh, I think it’s a great fit. San Antonio is a very extreme music friendly type of place. Always has been. But still maybe a bit starved lately for this kind of huge blow out of horror and extreme music. The Aztec is a beautiful venue. It’s perfect.
Did you and Corey finish the autobiography you were working on together before he passed?
Nah. And if it ain’t with Corey, it ain’t with nobody. The way I feel about things right now, as far as book writing and all that shit goes? It’s like, I’m very goddamn honest in my interview giving. Take a look at how many video interviews have been shot out here, showing all the different facets of what we do. I open up a big window into my private life. So, yeah, I can go back in time to tell these stories people already have made generalizations about in their minds and maybe expand upon a point here or there, but I guess I’m sort of in moving forward mode instead of backtracking mode if you feel me.