By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — The former singer of massively popular metal band Pantera, Phil Anselmo brings his long-running project Superjoint to Slim’s for a headlining show Sunday night.
New Orleans native Anselmo was drawn to music at an early age, singing in several groups before finding himself with Arlington, TX-based group Pantera in 1986. Led by the Abbot brothers — guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul — Pantera had started in ’81 as a glam-metal band, but was looking to move in a heavier direction by the time Anselmo joined. Though it took a few years to find their new sound, by the time they released their 1990 major label debut Cowboys from Hell, Pantera had developed a unique style of thrash-influenced, hard-grooving metal that would prove hugely influential over the course of the decade.
The band’s 1992 breakthrough Vulgar Display of Power established the quartet as the biggest new metal act since Metallica, with several songs earning heavy rotation on MTV. The group would continued its success with subsequent albums Far Beyond Driven and The Great Southern Trendkill, but the singer’s back problems from his intense stage performances led to alcohol abuse and an eventual heroin habit, distancing Anselmo from the band. But even with his struggles and Pantera’s busy schedule, the singer founded the first of numerous side projects, the thrash-meets-hardcore band Superjoint Ritual with Eyehategod guitarist Jimmy Bower as well as the all-star group Down featuring members of Crowbar and Corrosion of Conformity guitarist Pepper Keenan.
Despite growing tension between the singer and his Pantera band mates, the band only grew in popularity through the end of the ’90s and until their eventual acrimonious split in 2003 that was partly spurred by his continued focus on his other bands, including Superjoint Ritual. Though they didn’t record until 2002’s debut Use Once And Destroy, the band’s sludgy style of punk heaviness found an sizable audience. The next year, they followed up with A Lethal Dose Of American Hate with touring bassist and country/punk rocker Hank Williams III. However, a dispute between Anselmo and drummer Joe Fazzio led to an extended hiatus starting in 2004 that lasted a decade.
A new line-up of the band came together in 2014 when they reunited for Anselmo’s Housecore Horror Film Festival in Austin, now playing under the shortened moniker Superjoint. While Anselmo found himself targeted with charges of racism after an ugly incident at an LA concert paying tribute to the late Dimebag Darrell early last year, he has tried to put the controversy behind him with Superjoint releasing it’s latest effort Caught Up in the Gears of Application on the singer’s Housecore Records label in the fall.
A more hardcore-influenced blast of fury than heard on previous recordings, the raging tunes will give Anselmo and his fans ample opportunity for cathartic release at Slim’s Sunday night. For the current tour, Superjoint is joined by Michigan neo-thrash outfit Battlecross and Detroit noise-punk band Child Bite, another of Anselmo’s Housecore signings who released their venomous fourth album Negative Noise last year to wide praise and favorable comparisons to such bands as Unsane and the Jesus Lizard.
Sunday, April 30, 7 p.m. $26