Anyone who follows metal music might be aware of how former Pantera singer Phil Anselmo was caught on video giving the Nazi salute and shouting “white power!” While much of the metal community has condemned Anselmo’s actions, Corey Taylor of the popular metal band Slipknot recently admitted that racism in metal music is actually a much bigger problem outside of Anselmo.
Corey Taylor spoke to the Guardian about everything from Slipknot’s infamous horror-masks, to the 2016 presidential election, to the racism in metal music in general. A Slipknot fan wrote in a question to Corey Taylor asking him to address Phil Anselmo’s Nazi salute.
While Taylor didn’t explicitly condemn the Pantera frontman’s actions, he used the Nazi salute as a launching point to discuss the racism in metal music that many performers exhibit in addition to Phil Anselmo.
“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.”
The Slipknot singer didn’t identify any metal bands specifically who are guilty of this, but he assured fans that his band, at least, will never discriminate against anyone based on their race.
“I will say this. This is a bigger problem than what happened that night,” said Corey Taylor. “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 color 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 color, religion, culture, upbringing, etc. We welcome everyone, we always have and we always will.”
But Corey Taylor also took the opportunity to point how diverse and inclusive much of the metal community can be. And, like bigotry present in any group of people, the racism in metal is vastly outnumbered by those who are accepting of all ethnicities.
“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.”
According to NME, Phil Anselmo has apologized for his Nazi salute, but only after being “forced” to do so. The incident occurred during a performance at Dimebash 2016. He tried to play the shocking action off as a joke, but many of his fellow metal musicians weren’t buying it.
Slipknot’s Corey Taylor said of Anselmo’s salute, “I’ve been told by many people that it’s blatant, and there’s no way to misrepresent what was done.”
Anselmo has been quoted as saying, “anyone who knows me and my true nature knows that I don’t believe in any of that.”
You can see the video for yourself below. Is this an example of racism in metal music?
In addition to acknowledging racism in metal, Corey Taylor accused presidential front-runner Donald Trump of blatant racism and added, “that’s one of the reasons why I support Bernie Sanders. And I will never support anyone who uses racism as a passive-aggressive way to win votes.”
What do you think? Did the Pantera singer mean what he said and did? And is Corey Taylor right about racism in metal? And if racism in metal is a real problem, is there hope to eradicate it?
For more on Slipknot’s Corey Taylor, read about how he loaned his infamous death-metal growl to a villain in the show Doctor Who.
(Photo by Raphael Dias/Getty Images)