08/16/03 @ Back Room Sports Bar
"Superjoint Ritual is a complete and utter fucking weapon," grunts Phil Anselmo, defining his unapologetically extreme hardcore outfit. "And it’s aimed at the head of any motherfucker who gets in the way. It’s aimed at pop culture and super-star-fucking talentless motherfuckers."
Meet the new Phil Anselmo, same as the old Phil Anselmo, and no less intense. With Pantera and Down on "indefinite hiatus," metal’s premier singer-songwriter has dedicated himself to Superjoint Ritual and its rekindling of early-Eighties punk-metal acts like Discharge, Black Flag, and Agnostic Front. Superjoint’s ominous and uncompromising sophomore set, A Lethal Dose of American Hatred
, is as much a rejection of modern metal as a tribute to classic hardcore.
"We’re the most important band anywhere," declares Anselmo, "stylewise, attitudewise, and musically – for this day and age. Nu-metal? Fucking Christ! It’s miserable out there."
With the unlikely addition of Hank Williams III on bass, SJR is taking its message to the faithful on a yearlong tour, on which Anselmo is enforcing a classically strict code of conduct for fans.
"I won’t allow any of the jumping up and down pogo shit," he says. "I’ll only allow circle pits, stage diving, and headbanging. If I need to, I’ll stop in the middle of a song, point someone out, and say, ‘Quit jumping up and down, you fucking asshole. You’re ruining it for everybody.’"
Even so, Anselmo’s not above admitting he’s his own worst enemy, with a penchant for off-stage violence and life-threatening bouts with heroin. He scoffs, though, at the perception that he’s racist.
"I’m anything fucking but," snorts Anselmo. "I know there’s shitty people and beautiful people on both sides of the spectrum – black and white. And I know for an absolute fucking fact there’s good Middle Eastern people who live here. And I know there’s good Oriental people.
"But if I’m writing a song and it has to touch on the negatives of certain issues, I’m not gonna beat around the fucking bush and fence-ride – especially with Superjoint.
"Before, with Pantera, I had to be slightly careful. Now I don’t. And I can see from the enthusiasm in the audiences that we’re on our way to something extremely relevant – something on top of anywhere anybody thinks we might go."
Devin Townsend’s Strapping Young Lad opens.
04/30/03 @ Back Room Sports Bar
Five years ago, Pantera’s Phil Anselmo described his Superjoint Ritual side project as "kind of like Discharge, kind of like Doom, kind of like late Black Flag." Finally, last year’s Use Once and Destroy
bridged decades of punk and thrash history with a barrage of punishing two-minute tunes. While the future of Pantera appears to be in question, SJR’s couldn't look better; with Hank Williams III on bass, Austin is the first date of a tour designed to preview July’s as-yet-untitled sophomore follow-up. Local volume goblins HeKill Three open.