PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS and SUPERJOINT drummer José Manuel Gonzalez has defended the former PANTERA frontman over the incident more than two years ago when Philip Anselmo gave the right-arm salute and yelled a white-supremacist slogan at a California concert.
At a January 2016 "Dimebash" event at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood in honor of late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, Anselmo performed the PANTERA classic "Walk". As he left the stage, he made a Nazi-style salute. The singer appeared to say "white power" as he made the gesture, but later claimed he was joking about drinking white wine backstage and was reacting to the audience members up front who he says were taunting him.
Asked by "Jon's Untitled Podcast" if he was ever concerned that the events of the 2016 "Dimebash" might negatively affect PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS and SUPERJOINT, José said (hear audio below): "Not a lot of people know this, but I was there that night. Me and Steven [Taylor, guitar] actually went up there as guests for NAMM.
"For me, man, what made me the maddest out of that whole situation was that everybody that wanted to throw around this nasty word" — apparently referring to "racist" — "about one of my best friends, not one media outlet decided to look at pictures of him jamming with SUPERJOINT RITUAL. Kevin Bond [guitar] is half black and Jimmy Bower [guitar], he's American but he's pretty coonass, so that's, like, kinda — he's pretty much there. And as for me, I'm full-blooded Mexican, dude. And Marzi [Montazeri] at the time, when he was in the band, Marzi is Persian, or whatever he likes to call himself.
"So we have different backgrounds, and what made me the maddest out of the entire ordeal is not one media outlet or publication decided to call me, decided to call Kevin, decided to call anybody that actually worked with Philip," he continued. "They fucking all got quotes from all these uppity fucking dickheads that call Philip a friend and they just wanted to fucking make it seem like Philip owed something to the rest of the fucking world. I mean, it was just ridiculous.
"I was behind him since day one. I knew it was… When I saw it happen, I was, like, 'Oh, man, that was weird. That might bite us in the ass.' But he's he's one of my best friends, dude. I'll go to bat for that motherfucker for anything, dude. And again, not one person, not one media outlet decided to call us, call his bandmates, and be, like, 'How is he, really? How does Philip really treat you guys?' And it's, like, well, I had a baby. He's helped me… He's put me on the road. He's given me a job. He's given me a life, a career. I mean, he's helped me grow. And if you're saying that he is what he is, there is no way a person that is that evil and thinks like that would ever help somebody from another ethnicity feed their children, feed their child, grow, build a family, have a home — all these amazing things.
"I became a young man with Philip's guidance," José added. "I've traveled the world with him. And you're gonna just base your idea and negate everything this man has done over one stupid incident that happened way too far in the night when people that are professionals absolutely know that no rock star needs a microphone in his hand at 2:30 in the morning at a party. I mean, it's just common sense. Everybody was excited for him to be there. And another thing is it no one really... the video that was posted that went viral, that's why videos go viral — because they are snippets of the best piece of whatever tragic, traumatic, hilarious event that happened. There was a dude that was on his balls, goading him for a good 15, 20 minutes, because, like I said, it was the end of the night and he was drunk and he was rambling anyways, so there was a dude talking shit all the way up until that. But no one sees that, no one brings that up. That was aimed at nobody but one particular dickhead that was being a dickhead. But nobody cares — nobody cares because he's fucking famous."
Last year, Anselmo blasted "false journalism in the metal community" for suggesting he was racist because of his actions at the 2016 "Dimebash".
In the days following the incident, MACHINE HEAD's Robb Flynn — who played PANTERA songs with Anselmo at "Dimebash" — released an eleven-minute response video in which he denounced Anselmo as a "big bully" and a racist. He concluded by saying that he would never play another PANTERA song again. ANTHRAX's Scott Ian, who is Jewish, released a statement on his official web site saying, "Philip's actions were vile" and invited Anselmo to make a donation to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Former PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, who hadn't spoken to Anselmo since the band's split in 2003, was dismissive when asked for a comment on the singer's white-power salute. "I can't speak for him," Vinnie said in a 2016 interview. "He's done a lot of things that tarnish the image of what PANTERA was back then and what it stood for and what it was all about. And it's sad."