Phil Anselmo: 'I Don't Regret Quitting High School, There Was Nothing More For Me to Learn'

"I was advanced because I was smart," former Pantera singer says.

Ultimate Guitar

Metal master Phil Anselmo recently discussed the touchy subject of leaving high school in the 12th grade back in the day, calling it a decision he never regretted.

Chatting with Rock Sverige, Uncle Phil was directly asked about having regrets of never getting formal education.

"No, there was nothing more for me to learn," he replied (via Blabbermouth). "I was advanced because I was smart when I applied myself and I had four credits left, which meant I could get there early in the day and leave at noon. The credits were two PEs, mythology, which I adore and love and wish I would've studied more of and geometry.

"I had a terrible teacher in geometry. She hated me, I f--king hated her and it was like a makeup class. I was doing, at the time, four or five a week gigs at night and getting home at six in the f--king morning, so for me, my homework was on stage. Don't get me wrong - there are certain subjects, like history and mythology, that I wished I had applied myself more and had a better foundation.

"I enjoy history especially and literary works that you still read. If you look at the f--king Bible and the way it's written, it's very powerful. The text and certain use of antiquate and archaic language is powerful and I love it! I'm a wordsmith, so it's intriguing," he added.

Focusing on his parents' reaction at the time, Anselmo added, "They hated it! They f--king hated it! I remember I came home and said, 'I'm f--king quitting school!' and on the very next day my mom was on her way to work and she leans in my doorway and says, 'This is the saddest day of my life.' My stepfather kicked my door in and goes, 'You better start looking for a job if you're not gonna go to school!'

"I f--king had a job; I played gigs," Phil said. "I was making zero money, but I was, like, 'Have a little faith in me, will ya!' She doesn't complain too much now that I've bought her a house with a pool and a car. I can understand it though. 'Hey mom, I'm gonna be a rock star!' and she's like 'No, you're not.' [Laughs]"

42 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Love it. She doesn't complain now that I've bought her a ****ing house with a pool and a car.
    "If you look at the fuking Bible" - Philip H. Anselmo
    Sorry, but what he says kind of comes out as him being arrogant. He is a good role model, how he managed to pursue music and making a pretty good life out of it, but the way he talked about it, it just didn't sound modest (for want of a better word).
    You're imagining things. He just criticized bad teachers and said he quit it cause he wasn't going for a formal job. He isn't pretentious or trying to come as a know it all.
    It's really funny hearing justifications from people dropping out of school. This guy would've been a complete loser if he wasn't EXTREMELY lucky.
    Or maybe extremely TALENTED?
    Talent is NOT an insurance policy against failure. Artists can do all the right things & still never succeed. Hell, he overdosed & almost died once, so a lot of the reason he's still here to voice an opinion at all IS luck.
    Even bands like metallica have stated they were just a bunch of lucky fans that made it big...I see extremely talented musicians all of the time who aren't successful at all
    Is there no talent involved here? He is just so lucky that he got gigs, got the talent to sing and got the courage to go for it? Man, how LUCKY he is.
    Talent is not enough, sadly
    True, "luck" does play a roll, but people need to stop expecting to "make it big" through music. Make music for the sake of makin some damn good music that YOU like. If other people like it or don't like it, whatever. Become your own critic. Also, connections play a MAJOR roll in success no matter what you do, so learn to be nice and respectful to people you meet. Get out of your comfort zone. Expectations lead to disappointment, so rock the f!?k out, have fun, and do you.
    dumbass you hear this shit only from who got lucky
    You make your own luck in life.
    No you don't. Your entire life is dictated by how other people dictate their own. Phil happened to be doing the right stuff at the right time, that's it.
    If you think you have no power over your success and aspirations, I feel really sorry for you. Change your perspective brah, you'll never get anywhere with that attitude.
    it's great that it happened for ya phil, but today, kids can't/and shouldnt risk to just up and quit school for their "music careers" lol. the industry is dead and there's no such thing as originality anymore...and if there is, you better be damn marketably sexy and willing to sellout to appease the mass of superficial fans who just want to see your goodies. lol.
    "No, there was nothing more for me to learn" and didn't even finish high school... yeah right.
    for some people, there's no point in sticking around in school. especially if you already know your calling in life. in his case, it was one that lasted a life time. some aren't as lucky. you can quit school for something you know is the right thing, but then a year or 2 later, if it doesn't pan out, then you're kinda fvcked for the most part, if you're unwilling/unable to push yourself further.
    Try, fail, try again, fail, try again, fail, try again and again, fail, succeed a bit, fail, fail some more, succeed even more, fail, fail, fail fail, SUCCESS! Failure is what stops most people, change what you're doing and don't stop!
    Oh you guys. I know a lot of old guys who don't ever regret quitting school, because they started working right away, but the world was a wee bit different back then. He's not saying kids should quit school, he's saying he did and doesn't regret it. Get over it.
    I think it is unhealthy to live in regret. You cannot change yesterday, you can only change your outlook upon it. I don't think anyone has been harmed by STAYING in school and learning as much as possible. I think Phil would be better off having finished school, but being regretful doesn't help. Anyone at any age can go to school!
    By saying that "There was nothing more for me to learn", I think he means social knowledge and knowledge that was useful to him. How to handle people and how to react to what people do, for this is one of the most important lessons learned at school. But Phil already knew how to do this according to what he says. No man ever needs every single thing he learns at school. I mean, maths and physics are pretty useful but only when you want to do something with it in your future life. Most of you probably thought that he meant that he already knew everything that they were teaching there, but that's obviously not what he meant nor is it possible for someone to know everything beforehand, and Phil is intelligent enough to know this.
    If that was his logic, he's still wrong. He's a great singer, but he's not an expert in "social knowledge". If he was, he'd have a job with more noble intention behind it. In some ways, some of his lyrics even reflect an absence of social knowledge greater than that of a 17 year old's, so its not like he has an abundance of evidence to support dropping out of high school as a generally good idea in the first place. What most likely happened, is what happens with almost every 16-18 year old ...somewhere in that time frame, they tell themselves they know more than their parents & teachers, and then they set out to do something that they think will prove that notion correct. Of everyone in that age group who claims they "don't need [anymore] education", consider the small percentage of people who actually do something wildly successful with their less than average level of education. Its an anomaly when high school dropouts make 6 figures or better per year, not the norm. I love Pantera, but his is ex-junkie logic.
    Tim the Rocker
    Man, I hate this guy. Praises himself constantly, which is the most despicable attribute any famous people can have, imo. And he sucks, as a musician and singer. He just strikes a chord with lost, doped up drunk kids between 14 and 21, and those old wanna-be-young again metalheads between 35 and 50...
    Uncle Phil was directly asked about having regrets of never getting formal education. The real Uncle Phil would have slapped Phil Anselmo silly for not finishing high school.
    He's very fortunate that his music career worked out. There's not too much you can do anymore without your highschool. Funnily enough, my friend was the first man in his family to graduate high school. Back then those guys just didn't need it for what they were doing.