DOWN guitarist Pepper Keenan was asked in a brand new interview with Metal Wani if there is still a future for the band after the controversial incident more than two months ago when ex-PANTERA and current DOWN singer Philip Anselmo made a “white power” gesture onstage at a concert. “Well, I don’t why there wouldn’t be,” Pepper responded. “You know, DOWN didn’t do anything wrong. I mean, we were just guilty by association on that one. That was Phil’s mistake. I’ve spoken to Phil and told him to get his shit together, and he is. He knows he made a mistake and was being stupid.”
He continued: “I’ve known the guy [most of my life]. He’s not what that whole thing framed him to be at all. But, yeah, there’s definitely a future for DOWN. I wouldn’t throw all the shit we’ve done, beautiful music we’ve done on one stupid moment that was caught on camera, and he apologized for. [So we are] far from done.”
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.”
The singer apologized for the incident and wrote an open letter to the organizer of the French festival Hellfest in which he said it was not the right time for DOWN to tour. He also revealed that he was suffering from a recurring knee injury and needed rehabilitation.
Besides Hellfest, DOWN was scheduled to play at the Download festival in the U.K.
The band was dropped from the bill by Dutch festival FortaRock in February.
Two months ago, Keenan offered his take on what transpired, writing in a Facebook post: “I am saddened and confused by the behavior of Philip Anselmo. I do not condone what was gestured and said. This lapse in judgment of ‘making a joke’ was in terribly poor taste and unacceptable.
“That philosophy is the opposite of what I am about. My heart follows love and soul and my music has been inspired from people of all walks of life and musical styles. I view music as a gift that is universal and intended for all of humanity. As a proud New Orleanian, life is about celebrating diversity through music, it’s about bringing people together, not tearing apart.
“I won’t speak for Phil but I’ve known him most of my life and I know there is not hate in his heart. However, I hope at this moment in time Phil will focus his energy on self-reflection and begin the process of regaining perspective, healing himself and those lives he has touched through music.”