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Vision Of Disorder

Tim Williams Reveals How Vision Of Disorder Landed Phil Anselmo On “Imprint”, Explains Band’s 2002 Breakup


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Tim Williams of Vision Of Disorder/Bloodsimple fame is the featured guest on the latest episode of ‘The Ex-Man With Doc Coyle‘ podcast. The discussion finds him delving into the band’s early days in the hardcore scene, touring ‘Ozzfest‘ in 1997 and the divisive reaction to 2001’s “From Bliss To Devastation“. Also discussed were the band’s 2002 breakup, forming Bloodsimple and more.

Speaking on how then Pantera/Down frontman Phil Anselmo came to guest on “By The River” from Vision Of Disorder‘s 1998 sophomore album “Imprint“, Williams revealed that his burgeoning friendship with Machine Head‘s Robb Flynn on the 1997 ‘Ozzfest‘ led to  Anselmo and himself also becoming friends. He commented:

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“I had met Anselmo prior to that a few times, a couple handshakes, chat. But it was Robb Flynn who really introduced me to him and we all started to hang out together and stuff. And that made the ‘Ozzfest‘ really cool.”

Though good friends at the time, Flynn and Anselmo have since publicly fallen out. When asked about about the track and the cameo from Anselmo, Williams responded:

“That was a big moment for VOD, a lot of people asked about it. I’m proud of it, it was an awesome moment. Some might say it was a pinnacle moment. Back then Phil was still—he’s still a superstar—but he was a SUPERSTAR then. Pantera was full steam…”

Williams later went on to say of the collaboration:

“We got to be really good friends throughout that tour [‘Ozzfest‘] and it so happened right after that tour we started to write and record ‘Imprint‘. And, you know, the one thing about ‘Imprint‘, we fuckin’ banged that record out. And that was, we had a crazy tight schedule where we practiced and played every single day, very limited distractions, we didn’t work. All we were doing was riding the band ticket. So we were writing some amazing music at a sick pace.

And I remember being like ‘we got to get something special on this record.’ Like we did ‘Ozzfest‘, we did really well, the first record sold well for the times, and for what we were—which was essentially a hardcore band. And I don’t know we got to get some special, who can we get? And I was like maybe I’ll try… ‘What do you think if I called Phil? You think I could get him?’ and they were just like ‘what are you nuts? You should definitely try. Are you fucking crazy?’ So I called him up. And I was just like, ‘yo, we’re doing this record, we’d love for you to be on it. You know what do you what do you think?’ and he’s like ‘I’d love it brother I would do it.’ I’m like, fuckin’ a. That’s fucking great.

We’re almost done with it [‘Imprint‘]. I’m like. ‘What do you want me to do, send the stuff down to you? Do you want to come up here?’ And he’s like, “It’d be better if you come down here. So I’m like ‘I’ll bring it down there.’ So we’re recording and we’re doing our record and, and like I said, I was in pretty sick shape.

Singing every day, I was partying, but nothing that was really affecting my voice, and my voice was vicious. Like my voice was really well, tuned up and in tune. And I was just real strong at that point. I was cranking fucking songs out I just came off ‘Imprint‘.

And the last track we had to do I did my singing tracks that ‘By The River‘ song up here in the studio, and then I flew down to Anselmo‘s house, and we hung out for like a couple of days, so that was a that was pretty wild.

I had been to his house—that might have been the first time I was at his house—because I went back again for Halloween, but I think that was I think that was after. But um yeah, he was again in that mellow mood. I showed up, I was with a girlfriend of mine, we both hung out for the whole weekend. And the first night, we just hanging out in his living room, and I didn’t hear any of his parts.

I don’t know what the fuck he’s doing on it and I just know I did my singing parts, and I was bringing my scream parts. I was gonna do the scream parts with him in the studio, my parts. And we’re just drinking a couple beers, smoking a little bit, you know, I’m taking it easy because I’m gonna be fucking singing toe to toe with this guy tomorrow, like I’m not gonna fuck up, you know?

He’s one beer, two beer, a little weed here there, and the party starts rolling. But it was mellow, there was a good vibe. I’ve been around when it was not good, this was a good vibe, you know?

And he was like ‘do you want to hear my parts?’ I was like, ‘What?’ ‘Do you want to hear my parts?’ I’m like, ‘sure’, and I thought he’d go over and press play and have like a rough demo or something; He starts doing the part, he puts it on the stereo, and starts doing the parts like right in front of me and, like full animation.

I was like, ‘Yeah, that sounds good man that’s cool’ and like holy shit. He had some of his lyrics written down already and he’s like ‘what the fuck are we gonna call this thing?’. And he said something about the road down by the river or something and I was just like, ‘how about ‘By The River?’ He looked up and was like, ‘That’s fucking great.’

So nothing really the rest of the day. At the end of the night we were out in his yard at some campfire setup and we were playing like acoustic, doing some singing songs. I wish I had a recording of that it would have been cool. He was playing guitar and I was doing some singing. That was cool.

And the next day we went out for breakfast, like lunch. You know he wakes up, God knows when, and he brings us to some local joint. We had a bunch of crawdaddies, they put the paper down, it was like a mountain of fucking bugs. We ate all those. And I had like this meatball sandwich that he gave me—it did not agree with me.

So we got into the studio. And you know everything’s fine, we’re chillin. And I guess he’s like well ‘Who’s going first?’ We weren’t really drinking, but I was like, ‘I guess I’ll go first.’ ‘Alright,’ so I went in on my own, I went to a separate room. And I blasted ’em out in like two takes. He was just like ‘God damn, you sound fucking vicious.’ and that was it, two takes all my screams, done.

I was just wide open. I just came off that record. He was recording in the same room, which I hadn’t really seen before, you record in the same room with the engineer. I’ve done it later, I did that with Machine. But that was the first time I ever saw that. I was like ‘wow this is cool.’

And he starts doing it, and I was just like his fucking voice sounds like shit. What the fuck am I gonna do? And I still remember thinking Baumbach‘s gonna fucking kill me ’cause his voice, his voice just wasn’t sounding that good. It sounded really busted up, and I was just like ‘fuck.’

So I got out of the room and by the time I came back again, maybe I’m too hard on him, his voice warmed up, and it was fucking Phil Anselmo right there. And that was a unique experience. When do you get to see one of your heroes of that caliber, that was a major influence on my life and music, do that shit right in front of you, nobody around, just him and an engineer. And he really put he really put his weight into that track.

Because at that time he was a superstar and everybody was asking him to sing on their records and I saw and I heard some of his guest spots on some of the other records and they were nothing like he did on the VOD thing. I don’t know, he was really into VOD and I know he always had a certain thing for the underground.  Maybe, you know, that’s where he was from and he wanted people to remember or himself.

He saw something in bands like VOD, and I really think he brought his game to the table as he wanted that—Not that he needed it—But I think he just, he did something special on that recording man. His fucking vocals are sick.”

Though they have since reunited, Vision Of Disorder disbanded in 2002 for a number of years. Williams had the following to say about that period and how a phone call while out on a Japanese tour set off a chain of events for him personally in that split:

“….I was passed out on the floor and the phone in the hotel keeps ringing, like ‘what the fuck?’ It just wouldn’t stop, so I got up and answered it. And it was my girl at the time she’s like, ‘Look, you need to call, you need to figure it out and come home, your dad’s not really doing well… I’m just letting you know that you need to get back.’ It wasn’t a long tour, so our commitments were filled and I got to go back. But that was it. When I got back he was in a, I guess, in a coma, or in just the state that he was unresponsive. He died like a couple… he died very soon after that, and here’s what happened.

I think he died on like the first or the second, which was huge, my dad died, and it was very abrupt. And we had ‘Tattoo The Planet‘ lined up, and then fucking 10 days later the Trade Center came down. So those are two major life events. At this point, I was living downtown very close to the Trade Center and we, long story short, we got out a day before. So us and Pantera were the only bands that got out. So my dad dies, within a week, I’m on a plane going to ‘Tattoo The Planet‘. No other bands get out but us and Pantera.

Basically long story short is, every day they tell us ‘drive to this city, the tour is going to start. We’ll book you a club day to keep you afloat. Hang in there for two days, drive to this, this shows gonna start.’ It went on like that for two and a half weeks. So between everybody grinding out on each other; I can still remember me and Kennedy, we liked ‘Bliss‘, but we were kind of unhappy with which way the band was kind of going, so we were already kind of cultivating Bloodsimple on that tour, when we were in Europe talking about it.

And my dad passed… I was, I was present but my mind was not fucking there. And then the Trade Center going down that was it. VOD was done, we were on hiatus.

And you know, another crazy point, where we were sitting there in Europe watching the Trade Center get bombed, Baumbach‘s brother was in there. And we didn’t know if he was dead or not. And we had another very close friend whose brother was a fireman who fucking died in there. So we were a fucking mess. Thank god Baumbach‘s brother did get out. He has a harrowing tale that was on talk shows and shit, but I guess that’s story for another time.”

Williams also spoke of his forthcoming newly unveiled project Rollin’ Coffin, which finds him working with an unspecified co-songwriter. That project’s debut single “Runaway” is set to launch on April 02nd via Static Era Records. Speaking of that new venture, he commented:

“It’s a whole new thing and it’s stuff that I’ve been writing for a long time. I had the opportunity and interest to go record some songs, finally, because it was a long time that I’ve always wanted to do it… I finally got it done. So I got a couple of songs coming out, I’m really happy about ’em. I think any fan of me is gonna be really, really into ’em. They’re really great songs, they’re dark, they’re definitely heavy in their own way and I’m very, very proud of ’em.”

Interestingly, the podcast’s host Doc Coyle (Bad Wolves/ex-God Forbid) shared a story about their own run on the 2004 ‘Ozzfest‘ and the financial impact it played on the group. He said of that:

“Like almost half the money we still owe Century Media is just from ‘Ozzfest‘. Because we did the buy on, and then we took another like hundred grand—because we literally weren’t getting paid. So you needed the money to do… We took the money. We rolled super professional. First time we had full crew. And our off-dates were Slipknot, Slayer, Hatebreed, God Forbid. That’s the peak man. It was all downhill from there [laughs].”

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