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Interview

Superjoint Ritual Frontman Revisits Last Year's Festival And Gives Insight On This Year's Lineup

The nights in Austin, Texas will once again grow darker this October when heavy metal icon and horror cinema freak, Philip Anselmo brings his second installment of the Housecore Horror Film Festival. In addition to screening over 100 films of a twisted and depraved nature, the entire remaining cast of “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” part one and two will be on hand. A small number of fans can even purchase a ticket to dine with this ghoulish ensemble at the site of the original house.

This is just a brief overview of the film side of the festival. Each of the four days of the festival include nearly a dozen heavy metal bands of numerous sub-genres. Some of the bands producing the most hype include Glenn Danzig performing both Samhain and Danzig solo sets, Voivod, Gwar, Eyehategod, Macabre, Neurosis and Warbeast. Festival curator Philip Anselmo will reunite with Superjoint Ritual for a special performance. Blackened death metal cult of Portal, who holds a special place in Anselmo’s heart, will make their way to the Texas’ capital from Australia.

I had to split my interview with Philip Anselmo into two parts just to get a loose grip on all the festivities set to occur. In this first segment, we revisit last year’s festival including his personal highlights and talk about some of the inner workings in gaining this year’s lineup. Anselmo expresses his thoughts on some of the premiere artists set to appear and how he feels about them on a personal level.

Rex_84: Congratulations on a successful first installment of your horror fest. Did the festival go as planned?

Philip Anselmo: I think so. I’m not real keen on what other festivals do. I don’t have time to go to many. I don’t have time to enjoy the freedom of getting to go to other horror fests. I’ve heard a lot about them in the past, so as far as knowing the mechanics. Last year was really trial-by-file. I guess I was nerve racked leading up to it, not knowing what to expect. Once I got there it felt very organized. It was mellow. It was cool. It was great. All the special guests, the bands, the filmmakers—it was super cool! Everybody was very comfortable in their roles, which made me feel a whole lot better. It felt like it went over well.

Rex_84: What was your personal highlight?

Anselmo: There were so many of them. It’s not really fair, but I guess I could talk a little bit about meeting the guys in Goblin and watching them do as they do. It was just incredible. Watching them score “Supiria” was kind of mind blowing. I never thought about that experience in itself before. I never thought about watching a band score a film live. Just being there and seeing it was incredible. Of course, on top of that, situations that hit close to home where Eyehategod played and Dale Crover sat in for the late Joey Lacaze who was a great friend to all of us and just an incredible musicians. Really, more than anything, a great friend. All of us in the New Orleans camp having Dale sit in was just fantastic. And the films, the films themselves. Certain videos and what not. Debuting Portal’s “Curtain” video was a feather in the cap. I love Portal! Even my good friend Shawna (Sean Yesult) formally of White Zombie, now in Star & Dagger, showing her video for “In My Blood.” That’s a killer video. They’re dynamite people, and as a band in general, Star & Dagger. I really love the submissions. I love the newer directors—the new blood directors that submit their stuff. A lot of those shorts were fantastic. Once again, I’m looking forward to all this shit again, this year as well. (Exhales) so many highlights. I give you those in just a roundabout way just to give you an idea of some of them were. There you have it.

Rex_84: Is the lineup all set for this year? Will there be anymore surprises?

Anselmo: You know what? Until the fest actually rolls around and we’re in the midst of October I’m not going to say everything is finalized, until we’re living it. To put it this way, last year Coffin Joe was scheduled to come out. We all know, in the horror world, that he’s getting up there in age. I guess there was always that maybe he might not show up, and sure enough, he was apparently ill and couldn’t make the trip. That’s fine. He had his representatives down there and his merch for sale. That’s why I say never say never or never think it’s finalized until you are there. Then, it’s all hands on deck.

Rex_84: HHFF Creative Director Tammy Moore told me the idea for the festival started with Corey Mitchell wanting to have a place to showcase your films. Then when you began to book bands, some of your friends wanted to get on board and the whole thing became much larger than was expected. This year he intended to put the fest downtown on Dirty Six at smaller venues, like a mini SXSW. What happened with that?

Anselmo: I have no idea, man. That’s their job to procure the place of destination. Tammy does a great job. I know there was some issues this year with the venues having new ownership and this and that. Obviously, it’s football season and they make a lot of scratch by showing the games in their establishments. The gamble of having a horror fest on top or in place of that has everybody scratching their heads. So really, it’s going to be interesting this year, as far as layout goes. I’ll be touring my ass off. I’ll just be getting back from Japan with Down three days before the festival starts, so it will be one of those things when I get there, I’ll see it for myself for the very first time, which is kind of a shame. I would like to be more hands on with this type of stuff, but with the schedule I have all I can say these days is give a thumbs up or a thumbs down to certain movies. Thumbs up or thumbs down to certain bands. That’s always tough because you want as many bands as you can possibly get, but they have to be the correct bands. Sometimes you’re overbooked. Sometimes you’re underbooked. Then you have to say “maybe next year.” If there is a next year (laughs). There is always—I don’t want to use the term “politics” because there is always variables and options that sway how things end up turning out to begin with. Either way, Tammy does a great job and we all have a lot of trust in her. I’m thinking it’s going to be just fine.

Rex_84: Was there a band or film personality that you couldn’t get last year but were able to get this year?

Anselmo: Portal, for sure, when it comes to bands. And I think the Texas Chainsaw crew. That had always made complete sense to me. If we are going to throw this thing in Austin, Texas, then “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” should be celebrated. We were lucky that this year we could get the remaining cast of the “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” to come down and view the film as a whole, for what I understand, the first time for them to sit down, together and actually watch the flick. Portal was a band that was always on my radar because they are, in my opinion, the greatest death metal band out there. They embody horror. That’s the sole reason for their existence is the love and appreciation for horror that they have, and I have a great friendship with those guys because of it. They are from Australia, so that does add to the toughness of getting them down. But we got them this year and they are quite the spectacle live. I think it’s going to be awesome. I’m very happy on those two fronts for sure.

Rex_84: They have a crazy sound, pure vertigo like you’re moving sideways.

Anselmo: That’s a good way to put it, man. I think that is what they are definitely aiming for. I think it’s overdone now, but regardless they are as Lovecratian for heavy metal as it possibly gets.

Rex_84: One band that couldn’t make it is Satyricon. They were kind of vague in their press release. Do you know much about what happened there?

Anselmo: Once again, I’m very good friends with them. We were informed that the drummer was having visa problems. You know, to have Satyricon down without Frost, the drummer, just didn’t seem fair, honestly, for the true Satyricon fans that may come out. So that’s one of the instances where it’s not this year but maybe next year. In 2015, maybe we can actually work on this, get Frost his visa and bring him in. It wasn’t anything all that complicated just a matter of reality check. There is a difference (Frost not playing with the group) because I’ve toured with Satyricon in the past and I just can’t fathom another drummer behind the kit. I really can’t. To watch Frost play is like watching an Olympic athlete do his routine to perfection, no matter what it is. I’ll go out on a limb and say he is one of the best extreme drummer out there. He’s a beast! So on a pure level, I felt like I would rather bring the real Satyricon down here. Not like it would be fake or false or anything like that, but for my buck, which it would be my buck (laughs), I’d rather have Frost, I’d rather have the correct lineup than not.

Rex_84: You’re also bringing Danzig/Samhain. I’m very excited about that. The press release said you are friends with Glenn. How do you know him?

Anselmo: Tell you what, man, back in the day, obviously, the middle 80s and what not, getting to know music and getting to know the underground and all there that lies within—whether it be hardcore or whatever was up with metal at the time. Of course, you’re going to stumble across the Misfits. Of course, the further you delve into that you realize the history there. Misfits and Samhain and eventually, Danzig himself had a super, super successful solo career. I was always a tremendous fan. Really, about 1992, Pantera was playing a festival of sorts in Los Angeles. Believe it or not, the headliners were the original S.O.D. So it was Pantera/S.O.D. co-headlining this festival. I just saw Glenn walking through the audience. He made eye contact with me and walked straight up to me and shook my hand. Ever since then, every time we see each other it’s like a super cool reunion. Even though, these days, he’s a fucking email away, he’s always be receptive to all my emails and my reaching out to him or vice versa. I’ve been a Glenn fan for a long time and he’s been like a big brother to me. Nothing but an advocate. Nothing but a sweetheart, really. I love him to death and am very proud to have him jam at this fest, especially being so close to Halloween and him coming with Samhain, that’s the icing on the cake, so to say.

Rex_84: Speaking of Halloween, you’ve got Gwar coming again for the second year. Obviously, it’s not going to be the same because Dave Brockie isn’t in the band. Will this be the first time seeing them with Blothar?

Anselmo: It will be the first time for all of it. There are a lot of Gwar roots throughout my life. There are a lot of tentacles of being friends with many of the members of Gwar. Dave was one for damn sure. He’s going to be terribly missed. My fiancé was very good friends with him and the original members. She went up to his funeral. There is a great friendship there. We are friends with a lot of the remaining members. I have a lot of respect for those guys because of longevity and hard work ethic. They keep it going and going and going. This is a new chapter for them. Within that lies something a true friend and brother would do to have their backs and support them and their decision to sally forth into the night and continue. I’m on their side and really just having them back at the horror fest in this new incarnation of Gwar is my pleasure and my responsibility as well. I think it’s a mutual respect thing and it’s great to have them.

Join us tomorrow to read the second part of my interview when Anselmo talks about joining the Texas Chainsaw crew for lunch and his love for fallen guitar champions from the DFW area.

Rex_84's avatar

An avid metal head for over twenty years, Darren Cowan has written for several metal publications and attended concerts throughout various regions of the U.S.

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