CHILDREN OF BODOM frontman Alexi Laiho has weighed in on the incident two months ago when ex-PANTERA singer Philip Anselmo made a “white power” gesture onstage at a concert.
Anselmo performed the PANTERA classic “Walk” at the January 22 “Dimebash” event at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood, California in honor of his former bandmate, late PANTERA guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. As he left the stage, he made a Nazi-style salute. He appeared to say “white power” as he made the gesture, but he later claimed he was referring to drinking white wine as part of an “inside joke.”
During an interview with Horns Up Rocks, Laiho commented on the incident, saying (see video below): “I heard about it, yeah, and I actually haven’t seen the footage. But I don’t… I’m not sure what to say about that.
“Obviously, racism in general, you know, it’s bullshit, and it’s definitely not a part of metal or rock and roll; there’s nothing rock and roll about it, and that’s a fact. But what he did or what he said… Who knows? But on some level, though, I kind of believe that he didn’t mean it that way, but, of course, it sounds kind of bad. [He said] ‘white power’ or something like that? Yeah. Let’s just put it this way: I wouldn’t say that.”
He continued: “Obviously, especially nowadays, everything is filmed with a thousand different cell phones, so, of course, it’s gonna become a huge matter. You can’t get away with pretty much anything nowadays, so you’ve gotta be careful what you say.
“It’s not a cool thing to do, but still… It seems like nowadays, especially, when bad stuff happens, or even good things happen, people forget so quickly, ‘cause there’s just so much information on the Internet, and people get it automatically. I’m pretty sure that… Give it a year or two [and he’ll be okay]. Hopefully, yeah. I don’t know… But I hope so anyway.”
Asked if he has ever been a similar situation where he said or did something controversial while under the influence of alcohol, Laiho said: “Nothing like that ever. No matter how drunk I’ve been or whatever the hell, it’s never entered my mind to say stuff like that. I might have, in the past, when I was in my 20s or whatever, when you’re young and arrogant or whatever, and at fifteen beers deep, I might have talked some shit about some fellow musicians that didn’t deserve it. Just because I’m not a fan of their music doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t respect what they do, and that’s something that’s not very cool. So that sort of thing, it’s stupid. But, to my knowledge, I’ve never said anything politically incorrect.”
Several notable musicians have come out and criticized Anselmo for his actions, including MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn, who uploaded an eleven-minute video response to the incident in which he called Anselmo a “big bully” and described Philip’s behavior as “fucking wrong.”
One musician who stuck up for Anselmo was Adam Crosier of the Arkansas band HYMNS, which is signed to Anselmo’s Housecore label.
“This slanderous attack against Phil Anselmo in the metal media right now is reaching a despicable level of ugly, inept judgment,” he wrote on his Facebook page. “There are no words that can accurately describe how false the racism claims truly are … I know, without a doubt, that Phil Anselmo is NOT racist. This accusation could not be further from the truth.”
Crosier told BLABBERMOUTH.NET: “I think he has just made some mistakes in the past and obviously at the Dimebash — which, added together, may paint an ugly picture of his personality. It’s very unfortunate, because he truly is a very compassionate and loving person.”