Philip Anselmo: why I love The Cure

(Image credit: Fin Costello/Redferns)

Having risen to fame with metal legends Pantera and kept things pounding along with Down, Philip Anselmo is not the most obvious advocate for The Cure’s darkly romantic goth anthems. And yet, as he explains here, Robert Smith’s gloomy mob are an essential part of his record collection…

I was a teenager, living in Texas, when I was first turned on to The Cure by a friend. I’ll be honest, it’s two of the older records that most absorbed me: Seventeen Seconds definitely my number one, and then Faith would be number two. I like certain songs off all their records, but those two in particular grabbed me. I have an incredible amount of respect for the band, but at a point they got so popular that I kinda lost interest, which I know is a little shady on my part.

But Seventeen Seconds is amazing. It almost sounds like a four-track recording, and essentially it’s Robert Smith and a drum machine, but there’s a great atmosphere and vibe on that record. I love the moodiness of the album. It’s a perfect evening-time record, with that dark, sexy atmosphere. And Faith is really great too.

One of the most impressive things about The Cure is the way Robert Smith could conjure up so much wonderful atmosphere to frame these great songs. You can do anything in that atmosphere: burn some candles, light some incense, cook food and hang out with a chick.

Like The Smiths, another band I love, The Cure aren’t a band for everyone, and certainly some of my teenage metalhead buddies back then were confused, to say the least, as to why I’d listen to them. But if they were supposed to be a guilty pleasure, I didn’t feel very guilty about listening to them. And most of my friends were open‑minded enough to understand why I would like them and what I could hear in them.

People might not necessarily hear any direct influence from Robert Smith in the albums I’ve made, but I’ve been sitting on a great wealth of four-track recordings that the world has never heard, and I think I’ve made some music among them that, while not similar to The Cure, is in the same vein in terms of mellow, atmospheric music.

I’ve definitely drawn a lot of inspiration from Robert Smith, with the simplicity of the music and the sounds he gets. His songs are… romantic, for lack of a better word. It’s rare to find songs that do what they do. They have a beauty to them and they definitely touch a spot in my heart.