Former PANTERA and current DOWN frontman Philip Anselmo spoke to U.K.’s Metal Hammer magazine about the Joey LaCaze, New Orleans native and drummer for EYEHATEGOD, MYSTICK KREWE OF CLEARLIGHT and OUTLAW ORDER, who passed away on August 23 of respiratory failure. He also suffered from severe long-term asthma.

“It was dreadful news and still is for everyone round here,” remembers Phil. “Honestly, Joey was one of the funniest motherfuckers you could ever meet in your life. He was one of the most down to earth people I’ve ever known, as well as one of the most humbly yet superbly talented drummers I’ve ever had the opportunity to watch play.

“I was at his funeral. It was held at a place in the French quarter called the Voodoo Temple. It was a beautiful ceremony and a moment where we all felt the pain of the loss.

“I’m not a spiritual guy, but when the high priestess was giving her sermon, they passed out tambourines and percussive instruments to all these people that loved him. We went through interludes in these gigantic drum circles in his honor. Tears were streaming down my face, sweating was pouring off the top of my head and I was lost… I had my eyes completely closed and I was beating this drum until my thumb basically got disolocated! I wasn’t paying attention to what was around me; I was thinking about Joey. [EYEHATEGOD frontman] Mike IX Williams was stood next to me, and little did I know, but I was getting sprinkles of blood on my head because he was beating this tambourine with such intensity. He had bloodied up his knuckles and pretty much ruined this tambourine… but we all took it later, wrote messages and buried it with his ashes.

Mike and his wife live above my studio, Nodferatu‘s Lair; they’ve been here for almost ten years. We’re twenty feet away from each other, and you know, we’ve been through some tough times together — we both became clean together. I’m around ten years, maybe ten years plus, away from hard drugs and Mike too… I’m very proud of him.

“It was a beautiful ceremony and the perfect sendoff for Joey. But once that happens, there’s always the quietness of the day after. That quietness was like a dagger in our hearts. That was when reality really soaked in…

“It’s been a bit dark and gloomy around here since Joey passed.”