For those who have never heard of the band Superjoint Ritual, there is much to be learned. Superjoint Ritual, formed primarily by former Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo and EYEHATEGOD/Corrosion of Conformity/Down drummer Jimmy Bower, have taken the metal and hardcore underground by storm. Although Anselmo is still Superjoint Ritualís frontman when they take the stage, he and Bower perform most of the guitar duties on the albums. The band is rounded out by ďstuntĒ guitarist Kevin Bond, drummer Joe Fazzio and country legend Hank Williams Sr.ís grandson, Hank III, on bass. When Superjoint Ritual takes the stage, the atmosphere is reminiscent of old school punk, hardcore, and metal shows complete with circle pits and stage diving. After two phenomenal albums, Use Once And Destroy, and the smashing A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred, Superjoint Ritual has stormed the nation with a grueling two-year American tour. Metal Update spoke at Ozzfest with a very tired (possibly sedated) Jimmy Bower about Superjointís Ozzfest trek, their songwriting, work ethic, and the formation of Superjoint Ritual amidst so many other side projects.
Interview with Jimmy Bower on 8/14/04.
METAL UPDATE: Another Ozzfest, another one of Phil Anselmoís bands on the bill. Pantera has been on the bill twice, Down in 2002, and now Superjoint Ritual.
JIMMY BOWER: Weíre excited, man. Weíre freakiní out.
MU: You guys should be excited, itís an awesome bill.
JB: Superjointís been touring for 1 1/2 or 2 years straight. Weíre fuckiní...weíve just been keeping up that busy, strict regiment and itís starting to pay off man, you know? We really worked hard. Hopefully things will work out for the best.
MU: I think Superjointís drive is unparalleled. I mean, honestly, itís got to be tough touring that much, considering with this type of music you donít make much money.
JB: Itís not really about the money, itís about being accepted for who you are and for what youíre doing, and stuff like that. Thatís whatís important, and that you only get from playing live and feeling it from the people. Thatís the only way. I think this next record we write is the most important record of our career.
MU: Definitely, it definitely is.
JB: I think itís gonna be downright brutal, mixed with some melodic shit. Itís just gonna be a really good record.
MU: What surprised me with A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred was that you sort of upped the ante on the guitars, as compared to Use Once And Destroy. Was it you or Phil as the main songwriter?
JB: Me, Phil, Joe. Everyone gets their input, but Phil writes 70-80% of the music. We all contribute our parts though.
MU: So Phil isnít the sole songwriter?
JB: Vocally, he is.
MU: You can tell they are Philís lyrics.
JB: Pretty much, Iíll come to Phil with a part. Phil will take my part, add a bridge on it, and show me where itís gonna go in the song. Heís a visionary. Heís got the vision because heís on vocals, so itís a really cool process man, and to work with Philip is really, really, really cool, man. Heís like one of the best arrangers Iíve ever worked with in my life. He knows where parts go, and he knows when they should come about to get the full impact of the part. It seems obvious it would take a singer to come up with that. Donít get me wrong though, Philís one hell of a guitar player, man. We actually auditioned people to sing for this band.
MU: You did?
JB: Yeah, Phil was going to play guitar [live].
MU: Superjoint stakes its claim in having a lot of old school influences, as far as music goes. In the past, you guys have listed Black Flag, Bad Brains...
JB: Righteous Pigs...
MU: Right. Are there any new bands that influence Superjoint?
JB: High On Fire, bands like that. Mastodon, Darkthrone, Immortal...
JB: Burzum, Beherit...Thereís a lot of black metal, but I donít want to say itís all black metal. Weíve been listening to a lot of old Carnivore, a lot of old Agnostic Front. A lot of old shit, man. Itís been pumping us up to write a really good third album. Itís totally cool.
MU: I donít have any doubt that your third album will be better than A Lethal Dose Of American Hatred.
JB: I think itís gonna smoke Lethal Dose.
MU: Phil has the sort of personality that many people would describe as egotistic, and a confidence that could be mistaken for ego. Is he difficult to work with as a musician?
JB: No. Phil is who he is. Phil is what Phil is. If you respect Phil, and treat Phil for who he is, heíd be cool to you, man. Itís the same way with anyone, you know, it just so happens that heís a...heís a star, you know?
MU: He definitely has a presence.
JB: Thereís a lot of misconceptions about Phil. Heís really cool, man.
MU: Has Philís drug problem ever been an issue in Superjoint Ritual?
JB: Maybe in the past, but thatís all, like I said, you know, in the past. For a band that has toured nonstop for the last two years, I donít think thereís any drug problem hindering us at all. As long as...
MU: As long as shit doesnít get too fucked up, right?
JB: Right, right. We all went through some hard times, you know. Phil went through a divorce, you know, I broke up with my girlfriend of 10 years. I had some hard times, and you do some stupid shit when you have hard times, but weíre a fucking drug-free band. We burn grass and shit, you know, we drink, weíre human beings. You have hard times, sometimes you get stupid.
MU: Back to the touring...How in the hell do you tour so much? Iím sure you have some label support, but even with that, the touring has to wear on you.
JB: We just get guarantees and we get discovered, you know? We just tour constantly and just try and promote it as much as we can, you know?
MU: As far as promotion goes, I think Superjoint Ritual and the street teams have done an excellent job promoting the albums and the tours.
JB: I think the record company could have helped us out a little more. Sanctuary didnít know what to do with us when they got us, Iíd say that was obvious.
MU: What should Superjoint fans expect from your third album?
JB: Brutal, true, underground metal, man. Itís gonna be good, dude. Ripped up, hooks, you know these songs, youíll remember them for the rest of your lives, you know, those type songs, epic type songs.
MU: Do you have anything written for the third album?
JB: We donít have any recording done on the new record. It doesnít matter, man, weíre gonna go in the room and knock it out. Weíre not afraid. We have riffs, man, you know, I mean weíre not blind right now, we have plenty of riffs and songs ideas, you know, but nothing set in stone.
MU: With the Pantera breakup, was it Philís intention...
JB: No...no Pantera questions man, if you donít mind.
MU: Thatís fine, I donít mind.
JB: Itís a dead deal, I think itís been discussed and answered many times.
MU: Can I ask any questions about Down?
JB: Uh, yeah, well...I mean...Down, to me,...all Iíll say about Down is itís a timeless band and I think we could do a record 3 or 4 years from now and it wouldnít matter, you know? I think the people would still support us and it would be good, and Iím looking forward to anything with Down. Right now, I think Superjointís a little bit more important, you know? Itís making more of an impact.
MU: Thatís the main reason I was starting to ask about the Pantera/Down issue. Itís basically a question of ďIs everyone on good terms?Ē
JB: I just wasnít in Pantera, you know, but everyone in Down is on good terms.
MU: My question was going to be, ďWas Philís initial intention to focus all of his time on Superjoint Ritual in order to quit Pantera?Ē It was reported that he wasnít happy in Pantera anymore.
JB: No, he quit the band, he quit Pantera before we even did the Down record. Thatís his decision, not ours. We didnít influence him in any way. I feel fortunate that he did make the decision because we get to do what weíve been talking about for 10 years.
MU: So what about the other side projects? Arenít you in some other side projects with Phil as well?
JB: The only side projects Phil and I are in together are Down and Superjoint Ritual.
MU: Which side projects are Phil and Kevin in then?
JB: Christ Inversion.
MU: Are we ever going to hear anything surface concerning Christ Inversion?
JB: Iím sure it will pop up sooner or later, and it should, because itís really good stuff.
MU: When I interviewed Satyr of Satyricon, he said that he and Phil were talking about getting something done with Eibon [another Phil Anselmo side project, featuring Killjoy of Necrophagia, Fenriz of Darkthrone, and Satyr] very soon.
JB: That would be amazing, if they came out with a record. It would be amazing.
Reviews of Superjoint Ritual on Ozzfest 2004
Review of Superjoint Ritual at New Jersey Metal and Hardcore Festival 2003
Reviews of Superjoint Ritual's 2003 Tour
Reviews of Superjoint Ritual at New England Metal and Hardcore Festival 2003
Reviews of Superjoint Ritual on Blackest of the Black 2003
Review of Superjoint Ritual A Lethal Dose of American Hatred
Review of Superjoint Ritual Live in Dallas, TX 2002 DVD
Reviews of Superjoint Ritual's 2002 Tour
Reviews of Superjoint Ritual Use Once and Destroy
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