by Michael Christopher in Spotlight for vanyaland.com:
We had no idea what they were going to do with it because they said “remix” and we were like, “Let’s see what happens.” I really thought that what they meant by “remix” was remix; I didn’t know they were going to rework the songs and almost turn them into dance grooves and stuff. I don’t think any of us were too thrilled with it and of course the record companies do what record companies do and put it out whether you like it or not, so that’s kind of how that happened.
Looking back, are you glad you decided not to go with the original artwork on Far Beyond Driven [depicting a drill bit entering an ass]?
Hmmm…um, not really. The original thought was “metal up your ass,” you know? And like you said, in 1994, heavy metal was uncool and we wanted to be as metal as we could. The label agreed with us and then came back three days later and said, “Uhhh…we can’t get this into Walmart, Target and retail and it’s gonna kill us.” So we got back with the guy who did the artwork, Dean Karr, and he did the one with the drill in the head which signifies the same thing.
Speaking of artwork, one of the things I’ve always wanted to ask you was about the Cowboys from Hell cover. There’s a notion by some that on the first pressings that you were holding a sandwich or a hamburger or something.
Honestly, it was money, but I have definitely heard, “Were you holding a sandwich?” or “What were you holding?” At the time, we didn’t have any money to speak of and the art director, Bob Defrin, handed me like six hundred dollar bills that he had in his pocket and that was like the most money I’d ever in my hands – ever!
In the Pantera catalog, from Cowboys on, where do place Far Beyond Driven in terms of importance?
Ahh man, it was huge, you know? It took us from being an opening act to being the headliner, and we were really all about playing live. The studio was something that we did and we were proud of, but the band built its reputation from playing live and that’s what we were all about.
One final thought on Pantera. Obviously the time has passed, but are you content with Reinventing the Steel being the swan song of the band?
Well…my brother envisioned Pantera as being the Rolling Stones of heavy metal and going on as long as we were going on, you know? It’s unfortunate that [his death] was the end of it, but I think it was a great record and probably the most anthemic record we ever made. We really felt that when it came out it was misunderstood and it took a while to grow on people. But it’s one of my favorite Pantera records.