Article originally posted here on nola.com
Creative pursuits of three President’s Arts Awards honorees focus on words.
Words – whether written in the stanzas, used to document historical facts or added to music to create a song – feature prominently in the creative pursuits of three President’s Arts Awards winners.
Phil Anselmo, former lead singer of the heavy metal band Pantera, fancies himself “a wordsmith to a certain degree, so I’m always learning and expanding my lyrical repertoire,” he said.
“Normally, like most bands, the music comes first, then the lyrics. But I’m always jotting down one-liners, or merely words that I may incorporate later,” the 46-year old added. “A lyric can inspire a riff, or a piece of music, so to collect as much phonetic info as possible is important. There is rhythm in everyday conversation, and I’m a believer in the fact that all rhythms in music haven’t been investigated. That’s what makes creating innovative music a blast.”
The New Orleans native grew up in a house filled with music that he adored “from as early as I can remember,” he said. He listened to the musical artists of the time, such as The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, as well as radio hits, such as Dr. John’s “Right Place/Wrong Time.”
But when it came to creating his own music, Anselmo said “I followed my heart, and the style of heavy metal and hardcore music appealed to me as a style and expression that would best fit me.”
Anselmo’s noteworthy music career has included leading “Pantera to Grammy Award nominations, sales of 20 million albums worldwide, legions of diehard fans, and an indisputable heavy metal legacy,” according his biography.
Anselmo then formed the band Down, which had a gold-selling debut and three more critically acclaimed releases, most recently, 2012’s “Down IV Part I – The Purple EP.” Then to switch things up, Anselmo formed The Illegals and debuted the album, “Walk Through Exits Only,” in 2013.
That album was released by his own label, Housecore Records, based in Covington. The label, which has recorded dozens of albums for national and international bands, began “as a way of life in the early ’90s when I bought my first house in Lakeview,” Anselmo said. “Being a musician, I have had many musician friends, and back in the day when jam sessions were a way of life when I was home from long, grueling tours, we’d kind of shun traditional studios, opting for home recordings on my four-track. That’s where the term Housecore came from– creating music at home and recording it at home. There’s a unique feel to it.”
While he’s toured all over the world, Anselmo has called St. Tammany Parish home for the past 15 years. “I love it for many reasons; I have 17 acres of beautiful land, many animals and fantastic neighbors that put up with the racket and noise that comes out of my studio,” he joked. “I take pride in this little community, and support its growth with all my heart. People are friendly, restaurants are plentiful and fantastic, and downtown Covington is quaint and wonderful.”
About being named Musical Artist of the Year, Anselmo said “to be recognized within the community I’m a part of is perhaps one of the greatest accolades ever.
“I want to thank all who recognized me and Housecore Records as this year’s best constituent,” he added. “And I hope our local music scene grows more and more, and I hope I can help facilitate a place for the cream of the crop to thrive.”
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