It’s just over two weeks before The Thrash Blast Grind Tour kicks off, causing destruction and chaos throughout Australia and New Zealand! On any given night, King Parrot would be more than a suitable headliner, but this year Philip H Anselmo & The Illegals are crowned with that highly sort after position!

Getting the opportunity to speak to Anslemo about the upcoming tour, he showcases his dry humour within moments as he quips, “I don’t know if I’m excited about the travel, but it’s going to be great to be on the tour with King Parrot and performing in front of those Australian and New Zealand audiences!”

Touching on the fact that this is the first trip to Australasia for Anselmo with The Illegals alongside him, he was quick to express, “We know these are unique circumstances; I think right now is…alright, tuck in for a standard but necessary story at this point,” before taking us through an in-depth and personal history of the band. “When we first started The Illegals, it was really just to be an extreme band no matter what mood we were in; whether it be extreme thrash, death metal, black metal, grindcore. Basically whatever we’re in the mood to be! Fast forward again upto, I guess, just last year, I was rehabbing my back after my second surgery and getting ready to it the road again; that’s when I found out Vince Paul had passed and everything changed right then and there. There were many people, friends and close fans alike who reached out and asked me to play more Pantera songs as I will say when we first started, we did a few Pantera songs for kicks, because it was fun.

“This time around it was tribute and this was a whole different animal; for the first time in my life, it felt necessary and important. I got with my guys and I knew it was going to be a heavy thing to lay on them, to say ‘we need to learn a set of Pantera music’, as none of these guys signed up for that! Everybody respected the fuck out of it, understood and respected the situation; everyone did their best and it’s come along wonderfully! It’s a unique situation to be in and now I have the opportunity to bring this to Australia where it’s a known fact this is what I’m doing, but I think it only adds to the excitement. I’ll tell you now, it’s a bag of emotions when I’m up on that stage, but at the end of the night it’s the energy from that audience; from the old dudes like myself to young blood in their teens who never had the opportunity to see Pantera live, it’s just overwhelming and awesome!”

Once again showing his admiration for King Parrot by stating, “They’ve opened up for me for many years and they’re great, especially on Australian turf is awesome!”  Anselmo took time to reflect on the upcoming Thrash Blast Grind Tour as a whole. “It’s going to be fun and I’m ready to check out some new bands as I’ve only just heard about both PALM and Potion, but I can’t wait to check them out. I’m looking forward to the showcase for the bands to get out there, play and be seen; I’m not in it for the old dick measuring contest…I mean, I’m pretty well hung. On that note though, people may not know I’m a geeky fan still and just a fan like everybody else. I love music and I can’t think of a nicer group of guys than King Parrot and I owe them a big heap of love for pulling this tour together and doing all the work they’ve done to make it happen! I can’t wait to meet the other bands and just have a great gig…I mean, I’m easy like Sunday morning.”

Turning the topic to The Illegals and what songs Anselmo is looking forward to playing on our shores, he responds with a semi-defeated groan and quips, “That’s a difficult one.” After thinking about it for a few seconds, he lets out a small chuckle before stating, “One to always watch out for is Walk Through Exits Only as there’s a drop in that; it’s almost like by the time we get to that point in the set. I won’t spoil it but it’s much needed as the beginning part of the set is pretty fucking noisy…I’ll just say that the floor shakes and it’s proper!”

Throughout the interview, Anselmo has showed nothing but admiration for the rest of The Illegals. Showing his inner father figure, Anselmo was beaming with joy as he explained just what this band means to him.  “I’m so proud of those guys and right now I feel so blessed in my career to be surrounded by these young, hungry, humble, grounded, talented people; they keep me young and they keep me on my toes! A lot of the Illegals music is ugly and is an ugly style of music, which has people asking why I do it when I can sing… I want them to know it’s because I’m having fun and enjoying myself! I do want people to know that to me, every Illegals album is different and the next album we’ll be working on is going to be a lot different to the first two albums or the EP, I’m always looking to throw that curveball.”

Drawing the interview to a close, Anselmo was super passionate with his final message to fans and wanted everyone to know, “I love all of you so much and I hope I get the chance to hug everybody. Me and The Illegals are coming over and I love you all more than you’ll ever freaking know and could imagine. It consumes me and it makes me dizzy; I feel stunned, amazed and gasping for air!”