Frontman says his band has 'dedicated itself to bringing people together'
Anselmo was forced to apologise after being caught on film making a Nazi salute and shouting “White power” at the end of his performance at Dimebash 2016, a festival held in Hollywood last month in tribute to his late bandmate Dimebag Darrell.
After initially dismissing his actions as a “joke”, Anselmo came under fire from his peers in the metal community, with the likes of Machine Head’s Robb Flynn and Anthrax’s Scott Ian speaking out against the musician’s actions.
Answering fan questions for The Guardian, Taylor said that he had “kept mum for the most part” about the incident because “I wasn’t there. So I don’t know the background on what happened, I haven’t seen the video of it – though I’ve been told by many people that it’s blatant, and there’s no way to misrepresent what was done.”
Taylor added: “I will say this. This is a bigger problem than what happened that night. Slipknot has dedicated itself to bringing people together, to fighting racism, to fighting hate in general since the day we were started. I don’t have time for people who judge other people by the colour of their skin. If that in itself offends some of my fans, then I’m sorry, you’re wrong. I don’t ever want our fans to feel like we’re judging them because of colour, religion, culture, upbringing, etc. We welcome everyone, we always have and we always will.”
While admitting that racism “is a problem in metal” and “across the board in music”, Taylor remained confident that “it will take very little to eradicate racism from [the metal community] because the majority of it isn’t racist”.
Taylor said: “I know there is a problem in metal, and it all comes down to, at least in America, where you grow up and what that culture is passed on from: parents, family members, friends, adults. It’s a generational thing. I thought we were close to phasing it out, but unfortunately I was proven wrong. So I just dedicate myself to fighting it. It’s across the board in music, though – it’s not a specifically metal thing. But it has come up in the metal community. It’s risen its ugly head because of the incident we’re talking about.”
“But I’ve not only played a lot of metal shows, I’ve been to a lot of metal shows, and I know for a fact they are quite diverse and they always have been. We welcome the tribe of misfits – we’re the island of misfit toys, and we always have been. It will take very little to eradicate racism from metal because the majority of it isn’t racist.”
“What I love the most about the metal community is the sense of community that comes along with it,” Taylor continued. “Unlike other genres there’s a support system and common sense of appreciation for what we are all striving to achieve. It feels like when one of us crosses over and wins we all win. We are, collectively, kind of treated like bastard stepchildren by the rest of the music world, so any time we get to fly the flag in their faces, to me that means that more people are hearing what I consider real music. You get used to being a bastard stepchild, it goes hand in hand with the attitude, and the reactionary vibe of the music itself – which makes you feel something whether you want it to or not.”
Phil Anselmo recently issued a formal apology over his actions. He said that he “completely deserves” the criticism he’s been receiving” and that “anyone who knows me and my true nature knows that I don’t believe in any of that.”
He subsequently offered to quit his band following the incident.