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Articles Home » Music Talk » In Major & Minor Keys - Interview with Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals Guitarist Stephen Taylor By Thomas Amoriello Jr.
In Major & Minor Keys - Interview with Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals Guitarist Stephen Taylor By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

In Major & Minor Keys

Interview with Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals Guitarist Stephen Taylor

By Thomas Amoriello Jr.

Boston Rock Radio


Next month Slayer along with a few other legend metal acts will start what is being billed as the "Final Campaign" tour which kicks off in Asheville, NC.  Along with this monumental "Big Four" act fans will be treated with sets from Primus, Ministry as well as Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals.  A Vulgar Display of Pantera will be what Philip and company will be presenting and with that in mind we are excited to share the thoughts of Illegals guitarist and longtime Anselmo collaborator Stephen Taylor.  In addition to The Illegals, Mr. Taylor is "strumming away" as part of the latest En Minor project of Anselmo and his Louisianan circle.   Boston Rock Radio listeners can catch the tour in the area on November 8th at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, MA.  Thank you Stephen Taylor for granting this exclusive interview for Boston Rock Radio.


The band is about to hit the road for what is being billed as Slayer's "The Final Campaign” tour along with Ministry and Primus.  Did you have any favorite recordings by some of these artists that really "hit home" when you were coming of age as a musician?

ST: First and foremost, completely in awe that I’ll be a part of this epic event that is about to get underway!  Angel of Death is about as metal as it gets! Blistering.  Stigmata was the jam from Ministry at the time;” Tommy The Cat” and “Jerry Was A Race Car Driver”... I remember jamming those from Primus.


Philip & The Illegals will be bringing   "A Vulgar Display of Panera" setlist to the fans, what is your personal highlight during the set and what were a few of the guitar challenges (if any) of rehearsing these classic Darrell Abbott parts for the upcoming tour? 

ST: Well occasionally I’ll take a solo if it’s within my grasp. I take the main solo in “This Love,” and we split the solo in “Walk,” so those are always a rush!  One of the most challenging parts for me is that fast chuggin pick thing going on in bridge right before the solo section. I still fumble that one if I don’t drill it.


This tour will be hitting larger venues.  What are a few adjustments as a musician do you anticipate that you need to make in the performance and sound departments as compared to playing in clubs?

ST: We’re pretty dialed in for either scenario, basically the same set up for clubs or big stages. This run is with a bus, so we can take various amps/backups. But on tours where we fly a lot, I’m trying for smallest footprint I can.


For Boston Rock Radio readers, how did you come about initially working with Philip?  Were you a part of the same music scene in New Orleans?

ST: I was born and raised in New Orleans. Back when the scene was being created I used to hang around the guitar player Matt Thomas’ house from the Razor White days. I remember going over to his house one afternoon, and he was bummed but excited at the same time, and  he looked up  at me and just said “He’s gone man, he got the gig!” This of course being Philip getting the call that changed lives forever till this day, the day he joined PANTERA!  Fast forward a lifetime or two, living in Texas, I start jamming with Marzi and long story short, he called one day out of the blue to offer a bass spot to me. I’ve never played bass before this gig, so I got one, and started going after it! Never, ever in my wildest dreams did I ever think I’d be ripping these songs up there next to Philip and my bros The Illegals. 

The En Minor 7 inch EP released earlier this year displayed a different expression from Philip Anselmo and his circle.  Your guitar contribution to "On the Floor" marks a continued collaboration with Phil in the studio.  Is there a freedom or "loose environment" when interpreting this music in the studio and or the live performance that took place?  

ST: It was really late one night. We were just wrapping up my Illegals tracks. I picked up the 12 string and started jangling a tune I had been playing on my back porch.  Was just Philip, Stephen Berrigan, and myself. He immediately asks, “Why aren’t we recording this? Get in there!"  We were pretty spent, but went with it. I recorded 2 acoustic songs that early morning. These will be known as “Mausoleums” and “Hats Off.”  This led to Philip going back in time and pulling some very personal music out to the forefront. We started adding songs and building on them. Then we started adding other players to learn the songs and record. As we were tracking, Kevin Bond went in control room and wrote the riffs to “On the Floor”.  En Minor music just comes, we don’t think about it, it just naturally falls in place.  (https://enminor.bandcamp.com)


Housecore Records has a growing reputation in the independent label department. It must be so cool to watch its growth and other specifics related to the labels operation.  What are a few milestones you have witnessed that you have admired?  

ST: En Minor is the milestone witnessed by me, the growth of a piece of music so simple as me on my back porch playing to the wind chimes to what the end product is, is astounding.  Or to take a Philip 4-track recording from all those years ago, rework something that is already amazing, and make it a masterpiece! That's Admiral!


Do you have any projects in the works for 2020 that you would like to share with the public?

ST: I'm constantly writing, next En Minor mostly written already. More Illegals and En Minor for 2020!


11/2 - Asheville, NC @ Explore Asheville Arena
11/3 - Raleigh, NC @ PNC Arena
11/5 - Salem, VA @ Salem Civic Center
11/6 - Hershey, PA @ Giant Center 
11/8 - Springfield, MA @ Mass Mutual Center,
11/9 - New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
11/11 - KFC Yum Center, Louisville, KY
11/12 - Columbus, OH @ Nationwide Arena
11/14 - Moline, IL @ TaxSlayer Arena
11/15 - Sioux Falls, SD @ Denny Sanford Center
11/17 - Fargo, ND @ Fargodome
11/18 - Omaha, NE @ CHI Health Center
11/20 - Colorado Springs, CO @ Broadmoor Arena
11/22 - Billings, MT @ Rimrock Arena
11/24 - Spokane, WA @ Spokane Arena
11/26 - Oakland, CA @ Oracle Arena
11/27 - Las Vegas, NV @ MGM Arena
11/30 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum


Boston Rock Radio Guest Contributor Thomas Amoriello is a heavy metal guitarist, educator, recording artist and children's picture book author who resides in Lambertville, New Jersey.  You can learn more about Tom at  https://thomasamoriello.com.

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