DOWN‘s Philip Anselmo, Pepper Keenan and Kirk Windstein recently answered a number of fan-subimitted questions from the readers of the web site. A few excerpts from the chat follow below. What was the cause for such a dramatic change in your vocal style on the later PANTERA albums?

Anselmo: Oh, I guess I was finding myself more and more and more. I have certain values and I guess attitude and with that comes a music that you keep close to your heart as genres. Emulating and being an extension of those genres, I was a young man, so I would say impressionable. It helped me define myself. You take a good listen around today and I don’t think it’s the earlier Phil Anselmo kids are apin’, but it’s the more later PANTERA kids have been most influenced by. You just released “Down IV Part I: The Purple EP” as the first of four EPs you’ll be releasing. Where did the idea come from to release a series of EPs rather than regular albums?

Anselmo: Laziness, man. Laziness and opportunity. All of us do our own little thing but when it comes to DOWN, we know it’s time to do DOWN now. For me personally? It’s much easier for me to give my full attention to, say, four to six songs as opposed to 10 or 12. Let me preface this by saying DOWN is the absolute worst fucking band in the world as far as predicting and telling people when our next records are coming out. Normally, it’s about five to six friggin’ years between albums. So with that said, in theory, having to pay attention to less songs and give it more attention per song, in theory it’s supposed to get the music out quicker to our audience, man. I’m all for that, and also with that, we talked about approaching each EP with perhaps different styles because we are a diverse band, as we’ve shown with heavy metal songs and songs like “Stone The Crow”, which is more smooth rock and acoustic songs. We can do all that and we’ve shown that diversity, but still I think it’s all gonna come down to what kind of mood we’re in. By the time we’re ready to record a new EP, it’s gonna depend on the fucking mood. If we all walk in the room and word has it that it’s gonna be an all-acoustic record and we’re all in this completely heavy metal mood, why waste the mood? So, I don’t know. To me, I’d rather just fuckin’ rather feel it out as time goes on. What is the biggest difference in audiences on various continents?

Keenan: Some of ’em have white skin; some of ’em have brown skin.

Anselmo: Well, you know, how do you put this? As far as DOWN goes, man, it’s almost an unfair question, ’cause we have a core following all over and anywhere we fucking hit. So the kids that come out or the people I should say because they’re not kids anymore, the people that come out to the shows are informed. They know what they want to hear and they know what they’re all about. We played some shows with ST. VITUS and PENTAGRAM and the attendance doesn’t skip a beat. It makes sense. Then we played with WARBEAST and HAARP who are newer bands and again it doesn’t skip a beat. We have fans of all ages and all I can say is just from my experience and maybe the rest of us, the U.S. fans maybe could… Oh, I don’t want to the wrong thing. But let me put it straight — the European fans have longer memories. The European fans have long, long, educated old rock root memories and they’re not just spoon fed the flavor of the day. They’re very, very knowledgeable. The Japanese are extremely different as far as the energy they give you. It doesn’t have to be all physical, because they’re very, very attentive and they’ll watch you. You can kill and destroy a song and come out of it and hear a brief round of applause and hear a pin drop. It’s no disrespect to the band but it’s just how they’re raised and how they do things. I don’t know. Everywhere has its own little flavor to it, man.

Keenan: I think another thing is it’s amazing how simple it is when you’re traveling and playing different countries around the world how the whole heavy metal rock and roll world is really similar in a lot of ways. You could take these kids and transplant ’em just about anywhere. But it’s just a love of that music and it’s really funny when you’re traveling to see that cross all kinds of different lines.

Anselmo: It’s a universal language, baby.

Keenan: It’s an underground rock and roll or heavy metal, or whatever the fuck you want to call it. It definitely transcends borders all over the fuckin’ place. Can you still go falsetto like in [PANTERA’s] “Cemetery Gates”?

Anselmo: I never sang falsetto in my life. I was singing full throat out on “Cemetery Gates”, and no, I can’t anymore. But ya know it’s like, “Do I want to?” No, I don’t. But the point is get it straight-that ain’t falsetto. Falsetto’s fuckin’ falsetto. The difference between what I did and what falsetto is I was singing it the way Rob Halford would sing it and not the way the dude from MANOWAR would sing it. Put it that way. Are you looking at the new “Down IV Part One: The Purple EP” as a separate entity that can stand on its own? Or is it more like a piece in the puzzle with the other EPs to come?

Anselmo: Well, there might be some dot connecting along the way. I don’t think there won’t be some common themes that we’ll consciously put out there. Like I say, it’s gonna come down to what moods we’re in as far as the type of stuff that comes out. Like the fact that the next EP is new; the fact that it’s more; the fact that it’s the next four, five or six DOWN songs that are gonna be fresh to the ears. It’s gonna be its own experience once again. Don’t get me wrong — it’s gonna be DOWN music and why change the formula? But within that formula there lies that noxious diversity. We’re all over the place by design, like Pepper said before. We could take this thing a million different directions. It just depends once again on what fuckin’ mood we’re in.

Keenan: Also each one of these EPs has to have the capacity to stand on its own. That’s what I was talking about.

Keenan: Yeah, one doesn’t need the other to make it exist if it makes any sense.

Anselmo: Along with that answer, real quick, that’s what I was getting at when I said the fact of the matter it’s new DOWN and each EP is gonna be new. They have to stand on their own and they’re going to. You’ve been talking about having Zakk Wylde come in on guitar if PANTERA ever toured again? (Anselmo reportedly told The Village Voice last month about a possible PANTERA reunion with Zakk on guitar, “I talked to Zakk about two weeks ago, and he’s very open for it. He’s got an open mind about it. But, truth be told, Vince [Vinnie Paul Abbott, Dimebag’s brother and former PANTERA drummer] has got a grudge against me that is really unfounded. And, honestly, I’ve always had a wide-open door when it comes to Vince.”)

Anselmo: Absolutely. That whole thing was taken way out of context. All that happened was Zakk and I spoke and what it was about was just a personal issue between he and I that was worked out quickly and easily. We were cozy as kittens after that, and we just shot the shit. And honestly? The whole PANTERA thing did not come up at all. Whoever interviewed me, and I fuckin’ forget the whole thing, but it was taken out of context because we didn’t even talk about PANTERA reuniting or anything like that. Matter of fact, we talked about relations and mutual friends and just honestly everybody getting along and that’s really all we talked about.

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