Jan 292016

Robb Flynn calls out Phil Anselmo


We don’t spend time writing about metal scandals, metal gossip, or other forms of salacious but largely time-wasting subject matter (aka click-bait). It’s not that I blame anyone for reading that stuff — I do it myself from time to time. It’s just not part of our mission.

But this video is powerful, no bullshit, from-the-heart stuff, and I thought it was worth sharing. And I’m posting it despite the fact that I tend to turn a blind eye when it comes to noxious ideologies and hateful speech by members of metal bands, as long as it doesn’t hit me right in the face through the music itself — which I will probably continue to do. Besides, preaching to people about what is or isn’t suitable content for what they should be listening to isn’t part of our mission either. But I still think this is worth sharing.

Here’s Machine Head’s Robb Flynn getting some important things off his chest. If you happened to have missed out on the recent controversy he’s addressing, you’ll find out about it in the first seconds of the video. Your comments, as always, are welcome.


  48 Responses to “WORTH WATCHING”

  1. Thank you Flynn for posting this. And fuck you, Anselmo.

  2. I’m having a real hard time getting myself even remotely interested in what Phil Anselmo or anyone else in the metal community believes or thinks. I took a peek over at metal’s two largest cesspools, Metal Sucks and Metal Injection, and unsurprisingly, the people running those sites are having kittens over this. At the very least, this post reminded me why I don’t visit either of those websites anymore. I’m not defending Phil, nor am I condemning him. Same goes for Rob Flynn. I simply don’t care.

    • Truth is, I don’t care much either. I listen to what I want to listen to, and ignore what I don’t, and most musicians (regardless of genre) aren’t the people I go to for insightful thought-provoking opinions about much of anything besides music anyway. So having said that, I can’t quite put my finger on why I liked this video. I personally thought what Anselmo did on stage and then what he said about it afterward was bullshit, but I also didn’t think it was worth paying attention to. I guess besides the fact that I largely agreed with what Flynn says, I thought it was effective as a piece of speech and came across as genuine. Beyond that, I got nuthin’.

      • “I listen to what I want to listen to, and ignore what I don’t, and most musicians (regardless of genre) aren’t the people I go to for insightful thought-provoking opinions about much of anything besides music anyway.”

        Here here! Well said, good man!

    • Goddamn…I dont know which was worse on Metalsucks, the huge amount of pearl clutching in the article over someone who hasnt been relevant in years…or the psycho comment section that appears to have completely lost its mind when the cheeto eating, sewer dwelling racists who dont even listen to metal started chiming in

  3. Good on Flynn. I’ve always been of the opinion Anselmo is a (drugged out) piece of shit. Just more confirmation, drugged out or not. Not sure why people hold him in such high regard. Yes, Pantera had three pretty damned golden albums a couple decades ago, beyond that, eh.

  4. Christ…even when I agree with Robb Flynn I find myself wanting to shove an ice-pick into my ear listening to him talk

    …with that out of the way, Im the last person to get behind one of these calls to “rise up and police our metal community” (mostly because I dont buy into the idea of a metal community to begin with) but the truth is Anselmo got drunk, shot his mouth off and said/did some pretty fucked up shit. Does he have the right to do this?…yes. Is he an actual racists?..Ive got no damn clue. Should people call him out on it?…if it offends them on a personal level, than absolutely point that shit out…theyve got as much right to speak as anyone.

    As for me…Im going to continue not caring about Anselmo or Pantera and let people decide this shit in the manner they think is best for them

    • “mostly because I don’t buy into the idea of a metal community to begin with”

      I buy the idea of it… I’m just not that much of a part of it. I’m here for the music. Not the people (because people inevitably disappoint you… but music lasts forever).

      • If you asked me if a metal community existed 30 years ago Id agree, but in this day and age…nope. When metal fractured into 1000 different genres (as well as fracturing into mainstream and underground) it fractured a good chunk of its audience. We’re not a brotherhood anymore, we’re a loose affiliation of tribes

        • I think you have it right. Metal has fragmented just as much as society as a whole. That’s neither bad nor good, it just is. I like to think there are still common denominators, but even if there aren’t, the great music is still abundant and so are the good people.

        • Agreed. Though I think even your assessment is optimistic. Look no further than comment sections on metal websites. This place is a diamond in the rough, but on almost all other websites the hate is palpable.

        • That’s a very interesting point…I don’t think I’ve looked at the community from this perspective before. Thanks for the insightful post.

  5. I still love this man. For good reason.

  6. It’s not always about whether or not you personally care about this incident or what Phil Anselmo says. There’s two important factors at play here: 1) Phil Anselmo is, whether or not you care, a hugely influential member of the heavy metal community, to both musicians and fans. He isn’t a nobody, and when he speaks it’s to thousands of people who hang on to his words because Pantera is important to them. 2) What Phil did and said (and has consistently done and said) isn’t just “offensive”, it’s inciting hatred. It’s inciting violence. I’m tired of hearing arguments implying that there’s some kind of grey area here, what could what could your goal POSSIBLY be when raising your hand and screaming WHITE POWER to a packed room, from a stage?? Rob Flynn is right–what if it was Chad from Nickel back or Justin Bieber who six that? We need to start making a collective effort to understand that telling other people to ” get over” or stop being “offended”by racist shit is such a fucking luxury. It’s easy to ignore shit or even defend it when you have not and never will be its target. At the very least, you should seriously consider the motives of anyone who jumps to the defense of blatantly racist, hateful, VIOLENT outbursts. Smh.
    I realise this is rant-y (and this post isn’t directed at anyone here or the OP) but enough is enough. This shit is embarrassing to me as a metalhead, as a white person, and as a human being who wishes to continue living in a world that presents me with very little immediate danger. We can do better than this.

    • Good points. Anselmo’s BS might not be targeted at me, but there is a reason why society in general despise neo-nazis. Once you got a medal for killing nazis. Just saying. I don’t think its alright to throw of hatred like Phil does, and your comment makes me think “what can happen after a show, where hundreds/thousands of drunk youth with high levels of adrenalin hits the streets after catching white power propaganda”?
      Thanks to Robb Flynn for speaking up when no one else does.

  7. I agree with all of the comments but all I have to add is this. Yes we have become a very sensitive nation to ANYTHING that may offend us but the best thing that Rob said here was that like Phil,we all have the right to say and or believe anything we want but expect criticisms when you say things that refer to opposing other beliefs,religions and race. My personal belief has always been this. Love what you love,be who you want to be and believe what you want to but if you don’t like what every one else’s is just keep it to yourself. Grow some skin and just do you just try to do it with a little dignity.

    • Yeah, I decided awhile ago to be a bit pickier who I associate myself with, all I can do and I do it for myself.
      Not going to change anyone else.

  8. Glad someone said it.

  9. This is probably at least partially due to my own lack of information, but as a comparatively young metal fan, it is and should be concerning that this incident is the first I’m hearing about the extent of Anselmo’s apparently disgusting levels of racism. I had long known there was a bit of uncomfortableness there, with regard to the Confederate flag showing up more than it should (i.e. at all), but I truly didn’t understand the extent of it, which is partially my fault for not informing myself better, but also partially the fault of whatever you want to call the loose metal community: after looking a bit into it the association between this racism and Pantera should be about as strong as the associations that the ’90s Norwegian black metal scene has to church arson and many other crimes of its members: they really should be mentioned as part and parcel, a qualification for a listener to keep in mind as they listen; and a turning point from which a listener may either be turned off from listening, or otherwise continues to listen with that qualification in the forefront of their mind.

    Hopefully this comes off right, and not just as some kid blaming his lack of (prior) information on others.

    • Well, it came off right to me. I’ll say two things that this brought to mind: First, when I went off to college in the northeast before you were born, I brought a Confederate battle flag with me from Texas and put it on the wall of my dorm room in an effort to express my identity. I like to think I’ve learned a few things since then. And second, when I think of racism in metal, the first thing that comes to mind, well before American metal, is black metal from Europe — mainly bands who are aping the nationalist/socialist/aryan purity stuff that was being reflected in certain parts of the scene when it was new, decades ago. I guess those newer bands are trying to be edgy. Hopefully, they’ll grow out of it. It’s like being proud of the tradition of slavery in the U.S., instead of being ashamed of it.

      • Nothing wrong with that flag, but considering all the bullshit around it I understand people not showing it off.
        The intolerant attitude about it though is also ridiculous, but that’s the far Left, embarrassing all of us with similar views that aren’t jackasses.

        Sorry kid, but if you automatically think anyone who has waved that flag is an all out racist, you need to get out a bit more.

        • I had thought that the way I put things specifically didn’t imply that one who waves that flag is automatically racist. However, you can’t ignore that that flag is a symbol of oppression and hatred for many,

          • I absolutely don’t, and have a big problem with people not being able to see that. I also
            have a big problem with people who can’t see why others do not see it as that, and for them
            its simply a thing of heritage and the land they call home. I grew up in the South,
            although I was never really one of “them”, so I get both perspectives. I think ignoring either
            view is what is the greatest ignorance, and that is all too common.

      • Ok, you’ve been around a while like me, remember back in the 90’s when the internet was in it’s infancy, there were flashes of controversy around the song “They Breed” off of Malevolent Creation’s album Eternal? The ending of the song, where the lyrics were supposed to say something harmless but it sounds an awful lot like something else? Haha, I think at this point the people offended by that stuff have developed outrage fatigue with Malevolent Creation.

    • Phil Anselmo spreads unjustified hatred. Aimed at people who has seen enough oppression since being kidnapped by our white forefathers.
      Black Metal retaliate on oppression from ancient middle eastern religions that is as natural in our society as tigers in Seattle. (And “many other crimes” have merely been loose incidents).
      I see no reason to compere these, but yes, other shit has been brush aside and tolerated too, and that’s a shame.
      NSBM, on the other side. I shake my head at such embarrassing shit, even if I must admit having enjoyed some of the better releases from a few such acts.

  10. Stay calm and listen to metal.

  11. I’ve got a lot of time for Robb, he always comes across as such a genuine dude. And this video is no exception. I’m glad he posted it, and I’m glad he was open about being unsure whether to post it, and just completely putting the whole situation out on the table. Kudos to him. I haven’t listened to Bloodstone & Diamonds that much since it came out, but it feels like now is a good time.

    • Unlike a lot of people, I didn’t know he made a habit of doing video blogs. This was the first thing like this I’ve seen. Maybe it would have made a smaller impact if I’d listened to more of his stuff. All I can say is it hit me the right way at the right time.

      • Also meant to say I was surprised to hear even Robb Flynn can’t afford his own house with how big Machine Head is… I mean we all know metal does not pay well, but damn

  12. I don’t know. Was it a dumb ass thing to do? Yes. Does it really surprise me that a clearly intoxicated metalhead said something insensitive? Not, not in the least. I’ve never really been a fan of Pantera personally so not much will change there. I was however somewhat surprised to see how much of a dramatic bitch the guy from Machine Head can be. His video had almost a political attack ad kind of feel to it in my opinion. In the end don’t hate Phil Anselmo because he said something stupid (to my knowledge he doesn’t use his music as a vehicle to further supremacist views), hate him because he is a questionable singer at best who has bands far more talented (EYEHATEGOD) signed to his label. Such is life.

  13. I wonder how many Metal musicians would no longer get coverage, if every site decided to ban them. I guarantee you, a lot of them. I mean a whole fuck load. You think Urgehal or Ragnarok care about this shit? Probably not. Bands like Kroda or Arkona with a debatable NS past? Gone. I can connect almost EVERYONE within two or three degrees of racist bullshit, yes myself included without a doubt.

    People are fucked up, and Metal attracts fucked up people. I got mixed feelings about this, because I hate this modern metal pretty boy cool kids club trend that is steeped in Lib-drool rhetoric. I’m also sickened by ignorant shit bags that call caring about slavery and Indigenous slaughter “apologists”, but nothing I say or do is going to change that.

    But, we all know many will use this to feel better about themselves, which is really what it is all about. Fuck it. drink whiskey and try to not be a total shit bag, best you can do in this life.

    • “Fuck it. drink whiskey and try to not be a total shit bag, best you can do in this life.” Hard to argue with that. And I guess it’s pretty obvious from the kind of bands I write about here (including the 4 you mention) that I don’t have much of a political litmus test for music. The main test is, “is it good?” There’s still some stuff I don’t have an interest in writing about, even when the music is good, because the music itself is overtly racist (for example). But that’s my choice; everyone else can make their own.

  14. So Phil yelled white power what’s wrong in that? Imagine if a black guy said Black power, nobody would have batted an eyelid. There has been too much hate on the white guys by SJW’s and the media over the years. This fucking white privilege bullshit among SJW’s. Its high time white guys show some pride in their culture and be shamed into white guilt. Metal has no place for PC faggots/tumblrtards. It has always pushed boundaries and will always push boundaries. Before you call me racist, I am a brown guy from India.

    I love this site. I have discovered some amazing music here. But please don’t turn into another Metalsucks like site.

    • …because the context is completely different. “Black Power”…whether you agree with using it or not, was a rallying cry by a group that, especially at that time, had been completely marginalized in our society. They were claiming back what had been denied to them for far to long.

      “White Power” has always had one very negative connotation ascribed to it…it is a statement made by people who are trying to claim genetic superiority based solely on the color of their skin. It is nothing but a claim of by people trying to say “I am better than you and you are lesser than me”

    • Glad you love the site. And no, we’re not going to become another Metal Sucks.

  15. As the self-described token black guy on NCS, I feel an obligation to chime in: Being a black (black) metal fan sucks. It really does. Separating the artist from the art is difficult when the artist represents everything one hates about humanity. However, I can’t simply stop listening to the music that inspires me to wake up every morning…I feel like every none-white metal fan is effected by Stockholm Syndrome. I literally hate many of my favorite artists and many of my fellow fans, yet I proudly wear my Burzum and Mayhem shirts knowing I’ll be negatively judged by my both my fellow fans and my black peers. I hate you all. See ya at Migration Fest.

  16. I see this a little differently than many, and more inline with tomato. I understood Robb to be talking about social and cultural change. There’s a difference between extreme music with extreme lyrics, and furthering a climate of bigotry, hatred, and racism. (Necrophilia doesn’t appear to be a big problem in society today. Racism, unfortunately is.) He’s talking about standing up to someone who’s behavior fosters bigotry, instead of turning a blind eye to it or making excuses for it. That’s how change happens, and that’s how young, impressionable kids (and immature adult idiots) who are discovering themselves are exposed to better ideas. That’s why we, as a nation, are where we are and not still back in the 60s and stuck in backward ideologies of those times and before.

    All this talk about listening to whomever we want and disregarding politics is besides the point. He’s not telling anyone who to listen to or not. He’s just saying he’s not going to recognize or promote a hate filled asshole. And although I absolutely respect Robb Flynn, I’m not going to start listening to Machine Head because I share his beliefs.

  17. I’ve long wondered why Anselmo, at least in certain circles, has become deified. Even if you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Pantera fan, Anselmo is basically the dude who broke them up. He talked plenty of crap about Dimebag, who if anything is even more revered in death. Anselmo also appears to be an unrepentant addict (I’m remembering him saying how he wouldn’t “be killed so easily” after an O.D.), and at best, a complete asshole and fairly racist. But somehow (and again, in certain circles), he’s become some kind of father figure/hero to people who should know much better.

    Is the explanation that some people are stupid? That’s probably the explanation.

    • I’ve never understood Anselmo’s attraction, and so I don’t have an explanation. I do sort of understand Pantera’s attraction, but I also think that if Dime hadn’t been assassinated that band wouldn’t still be as revered as they are (in certain circles). I would guess Anselmo has also (ironically) benefitted from the same undeserved reverence, and for the same reason.

      • Ive always disliked Pantera’s music and honestly Phil’s meathead, knuckle dragger stage persona is at least partially responsible for that.

        That being said, hes apologized, so now the metal world can spend the next three days dissecting his apology and debating whether he really meant it or not…ugh!

        The thing I find so tiring about stuff like this isnt the outrage or the horribly disgusting people who pop-up and defend these statements, its the fact that its the same exact cycle over and over again…its a fucking go-to statement:

        1)Say/do something stupid…outrage achieved
        2)Horrible people on both sides show up and argue
        3)Apology issued
        4)Debate authenticity of apology
        5)New stupidity uttered, go-to 1

        • We were discussing the same phenomenon in our little NCS staff group on FB earlier today, so I’l just copy/paste what I wrote there: This whole subject is so well-trod and there is nothing new under the sun to be said about it, and yet it’s still guaranteed to generate massive frothing at the mouth whenever it surfaces again for the millionth time.

          Of course, having posted Flynn’s video myself, I guess I ought to be reminded of the “pot, meet kettle” adage. 🙂

    • Pantera is one of those bands that seems to either define metal for some, or not really matter to others. Music festival in Oslo, didn’t see a single pantera shirt. Music fest in rural BC? CFH tattoos everywhere you look. I enjoy listening to Down on an occasional mindless summer drive, but Phil Anselmo’s music doesn’t mean anything to me. But for a lot of people, Pantera was their introduction to aggressive music, and their allegiance to Anselmo possibly has less to do with his actual role in the band (re: breakup) and more with a) his position as the very visible frontman of an extremely well known band and b) perhaps their own failure to explore heavy metal outside that sort of first later where pantera resides. At the risk of sounding judgemental I’d say for most of us reading this site, our interest in heavy metal extends past banging our heads against a wall… This is potentially not the case for some members of the Anselmo clergy.

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