Philm, the recently resurrected power trio featuring famed drummer Dave Lombardo, has joined forces with Halford on the road this winter, opening shows across the country with their inimitable blend of heavy rock. Fronted by Civil Defiance main-man Gerry Nestler, Philm combines the psychedelic sounds of the 1960s with a modern, multifarious twist.

Prior to the band’s appearance in LA, I had the chance to speak with Nestler about the band’s resurgence, his own musical background, and what 2011 has in store for Philm.

So you guys are out on the road with Halford right now. How are the shows going?

Beautiful, they’re lots of fun.

Philm is definitely quite a different sound than Halford. So far, has the overall response been pretty positive?

Oh yeah, I think we’re probably a different sound from most out there anyway. (LAUGHS)

Your demo included just four tracks. How are you filling up the rest of your set?

We have over an hour or more of music, so it’s quite full. We have the demo–those songs–and then we’re writing new stuff as well.

I remember hearing something about the band taking part in the Volcom Vinyl Club…

Right, right.

What was the song you did for that?  Was it a cover, or was it an original track?

Half of it is a drum piece that Dave had wrote, so that’s Dave work.  And then the other half of the 7” is “System of the Universe.”

The band actually started up in the mid-90s, but wasn’t resurrected until recently. What was the catalyst behind getting back into it?

Well, time, I think. Dave had some time because Slayer had a break from their tour, and we got together–he just called me up like last November or so, and he said, “Bring your guitar and meet me at the Rainbow.” And yeah, we definitely did one of those Rainbow jams upstairs, (LAUGHS) and then we decided to look into starting this up again.

The sound is definitely a departure from everyone’s mainstays, so where did the actual inspiration come from?

I think that when Dave and me first started playing, that the inspiration just came from our love of different types of music–you know, just our different loves of music.  And it’s a pretty broad gamut of stuff, including some electronica and also free-form and twentieth century; I guess what they love to term the genre is “avant-garde.”

But, you know, some of it is stemmed from quite-structured work, early in the century, and indigenous music, from different cultures. It’s a whole, again, plethora or spectrum of different types of music. And it’s groove based, it’s a lot of groove based stuff.

Well, aside from Civil Defiance, what’s your musical background? Are you classically trained?

Yeah, the background, mine–yeah, I guess I was very young. We were trained very young in my family, for me, myself. And there’s also R&B and jazz in my background too, and a lot of experimental stuff.  Pancho, he’s the bass player in War, so he also has a background in a lot of different jazz, R&B, and funk–really funk, for him. But I don’t know, when you’re a musician, when you really love music, you try to get into all kinds of stuff.

You guys have somewhat resurrected the power trio. In doing so, do you feel that the music you’re creating lends itself to taking on a more scaled-back approach?

Well, for me personally, I’m not conscious of any of that kind of stuff. I mean, each one of us has a different kind of perspective on what’s happening, but for me, I’m not really conscious of that. I’m just sort of going, or connecting, to some type of area that we all connect to.  And most of the set we play while performing on this Halford tour, the set is very much glimpses–each piece is like a glimpse, and they’re all different.

We haven’t really been able to, yet, really unleash everything that we can do, so we’re just starting out with little glimpses of different pieces. Sometimes we’ll play, and it will go on for hours, and it’s very–there’s a lot more playing involved, as far as instrumentally, there’s a lot more happening that way. And maybe that’s the power trio thing. But for me, it’s just a lot of playing, that’s all.

Different audiences expect different things, but I don’t know, we’re trying to keep it very simple pieces of music, and that’s just it for now.

Wednesday was the 6th anniversary of Dimebag’s death, and I know you took part in this year’s Dimebash at the Key Club. How important was it for you to be a part in that event?

Obviously, he was a very, very important person, so it was really an honor to be a part of that. And yes, it was very important to be a part of it. I just have a lot of respect for him.

How did you get involved?  Did you know him personally, or was it through Rita?

Actually, my only connection with him is that I know Pat from Damageplan; we used to be friends. Actually, Pat had played with Dave early in the ’90s–Pat was actually going to be one of the guitar players of this band. (LAUGHS) Yeah, but he ended up being the singer of Damageplan.

But yeah, no real connection, nothing really.  But maybe sometimes it feels that we all connect when the pieces all fit together.

You’ve got shows lined up the rest of the month. After that, what’s next for the band?

After the shows, there’s Christmas and we’re helping Dave out at the Guitar Center Drum-Off (at the Music Box in Hollywood) on the 8th of January, and there’s nothing else really booked other than that.

For more information on Philm, check out:

Shannon Joy In addition to moonlighting as a freelance writer, Shannon Joy heads an online marketing consulting company specializing in alternative marketing, image management, and branding.  The core of her endeavors have been centered around music, particularly hard rock, heavy metal, and hardcore.