abc News: Pantera Lines Up All-Metal Festival

Originally from abcnews.com here.

After two years of Ozzfest excess, Pantera will play leader this year with the upcoming Extreme Steel Tour, the band’s own metal festival, sans the hip or the hop. With Slayer, Static-X, Skrape, and Morbid Angel scheduled as the appetizers and Pantera as the main dish, there’s a distinct absence of Korn or Bizkit additives in the recipe. This trend-defying Texas-based band doesn’t dignify the enormously successful rap-meets-metal scene.

“We will always do our thing no matter what trends go on around us, that’s why we’ve lasted 12 years at this level,” says Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul. “We’ve outlasted all bands and phases to this point and fully expect to outlast hip-hop, rap metal.”

For the past decade, Pantera has been doing more than surviving. Born out of a common love for unadulterated, in-your-face metal rock, Philip Anselmo (vocals), Dimebag Darrell (guitar), Rex Brown (bass), and Paul live life like they play music — hard. From their 1990 breakthrough disc Cowboys From Hell to last year’s Reinventing the Steel, the band hasn’t wavered in its commitment to unrelenting heavy grooves and dark, brooding vocals.

Yet, as far as their lifestyle is concerned, Pantera has mellowed to some degree.

“I’d say we’re all lucky not to be dead,” says Paul. This statement takes an even greater significance considering that lead singer Anselmo came as close to death as possible from an overdose of heroin a few years back.

“Four years ago, he got sidetracked and for some reason wanted to go into some heavier stuff,” said Paul. “Everybody knows the story — he wound up OD’ing and he was actually dead for five minutes and it was a hard lesson to learn for everybody, but it was a good lesson to learn. When we party, we party … but it ain’t none of that cocaine and none of that crap. It’s strictly what I would consider recreational where you wake up the next day and you might have a little headache and you continue doing what you do.”

What Pantera does is rock, in the most bare-boned sense of the word. The band is the heir apparent to the pre-MTV Metallica. If today’s Metallica is all about the rags-to-rock-star lifestyle, Pantera is the group’s stubborn bastard child, with an open container and the pedal floored.

The members of Pantera are at a point in their career where redundancy is a constant threat. That is, while the band remains committed to black-and-blue metal, the act must walk a fine line between keeping it real and just keeping it going.

Commenting on an Anselmo quote, “We are the kings of heavy metal,” Paul says, “That is our place in music and we proudly carry the torch high. The only pressure we feel is to not let ourselves or our fans down.” — John Benson

EXTREME STEEL TOUR DATES:
June
June 20 — New Haven Coliseum, New Haven, Conn.
June 21 — Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y.
June 22 — First Union Center, Philadelphia, Pa.
June 23 — Centrum, Worcester, Mass.
June 25 — Copps Coliseum, Hamilton, Ontario
June 27 — Civic Arena, Huntington, W.Va.
June 29 — Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, Mich.
June 30 — Detroit, Mich.
July
July 1 — CSU Center, Cleveland, Ohio
July 3 — Allstate Arena, Chicago, Ill.
July 5 — Excel Energy Center, Minneapolis, Minn.
July 6 — FargoDome, Fargo, N.D.
July 8 — US Cellular Center, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
July 9 — Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City, Mo.
July 11 — Denver Coliseum, Denver, Colo.
July 14 — Smirnoff Music Center, Dallas, Texas
July 17 — America West Arena, Phoenix, Ariz.
July 18 — Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev.
July 19 — Long Beach Arena, Long Beach, Calif.
July 21 — Cox Arena, San Diego, Calif.
July 22 — Centennial Gardens, Bakersfield, Calif.
July 23 — San Jose Arena, San Jose, Calif.
July 25 — Tacoma Dome, Tacoma, Wash.
July 26 — Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver, British Columbia

Metal-Rules review of Pantera show Feb 8, 2001

As originally posted on metal-rules.com here.

I was not sure what to expect from PANTERA. This was my fourth time seeing them, so I’m pretty familiar with the basic features of the show: lots of blistering thrash metal, Phil riling up the crowd with familiar homilies such as, “There you are, the marijuana smokers of ___________!” (fill in current geographical locality), and a generally testosterone-flavored evening. Pantera checked off all the boxes, but instead of merely business-as-usual they gave an excellent and above all fun show. Their set list contained a large number of tracks from their new album, “Reinventing The Steel” (“Goddamn Electric” and “Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit,” for instance), but I think this helped their set tremendously. The new tracks, while no one in particular stands out, are all groove-oriented, fun songs, and from this experience I wonder if they weren’t written specifically to be performed in concert. Dimebag Darrell, while hamming it up for Ice Maiden’s camera, approached his material, both new and old, with the competent but light-hearted touch we’ve come to expect from him. (Ice Maiden’s Commentary: Dimebag smiled at me and stuck out his tongue for the camera! I feel so honored! 😉 ). Phil was probably at his best. Gone is the hyperactive, shaven-headed lunatic from the “Vulgar Video” days, and in his old(er) age Mr. Anselmo has actually mellowed a bit without losing his edge. In fact, compared to his appearance and performance the second time I saw Pantera, in December 1997, Phil has improved remarkably. In recent years his voice has tended toward a gravelly, drug-addled moan. Not so at this show: his tones were clear, his vocals strong, and he even managed to find a melody or two. As if announcing the return of his fairly formidable vocal talent, Phil teased the crowd by singing the opening of “Cemetery Gates.” That would have been a treat if he’d have continued! (Ice Maiden’s Commentary: I had heard horror stories about Phil staggering around at shows too drunk to sing. I must say, I was really pleasantly surprised. He didn’t seem that intoxicated, was lucid, and actually sounded good! Bonus. )

Phil AnselmoWhile I’m not usually partial to the between-song soliloquies of frontmen, something Phil said turned out to be the highlight of the show. Apparently he noticed someone toward the front of the crowd wearing an old Venom shirt, and he commented favorably on it. He urged the crowd to go back to the roots of heavy metal and discover the old, classic albums that are the backbone of the genre. Then he snarled, “I’m talking to the kids in the Slipknot T-shirts right now!” which elicited long and sustained applause. While a bit hypocritical (Phil Anselmo is, after all, single-handedly to blame for the introduction of Coal Chamber), I thought this was a brilliant touch, and a perfect middle finger to raise in the direction of Pantera’s growing legions of critics who claim their appeal to young, unsophisticated listeners has somehow magically transformed their meaty thrash metal into mallcore. Pantera are still a metal band, and a damn good one.

Pantera’s emphasis at this show was clearly on giving the crowd a good time, and they succeeded. My only real complaint is the lack of certain older songs. While Pantera seem to acknowledge the obligation to play at least “Cowboys From Hell” and “Fucking Hostile,” their far-and-away best song — “Mouth For War” — was not even attempted here, and some other fine gems from albums past (“Five Minutes Alone,” anyone?) were conspicuously missing. (Ice Maiden’s Commentary: They played “Fucking Hostile.” I was happy. But he certainly could have eliminated about three of the overly-long and tiresome ballads. How many Pantera fans really want to hear Anselmo sing a ballad? Ok, besides Muertos? My personal opinion is that I watch Pantera to hear aggressive music that sounds like it is being spit out in a venomous rage. Don’t be given me any wussy ballads. Also, Phil needs to chill a bit on the rants. One or two good ones is fun. More than that and I start wishing they would play a little music.) However, the lack of old stuff did not significantly detract from the energy or punch of the show as a whole. By the time the encore ended with flames spouting out of an impressive larger-than-life steel Pantera logo, the crowd was very satisfied. There was even something here to titillate fans of Pantera’s infamous home videos (“Watch It Go,” et. al.). Phil and Dime were chucking cups of beer into the crowd, and camcorder addict Bobby Arntberger could be seen recording the mayhem as usual. I did not, however, see “Big Val” as I did the last time Pantera played Portland. Bummer!

For the rest of the review that includes Morbid Angel, Soulfly, and more pics, check out the metal Rules site here.

Vinnie and Rex interviewed by MTV in Stuttgart, Germany 1994, and some live clips

Pantera’s Vinnie Paul explains what makes Phil Anselmo so “Fucking Hostile”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 27, 1992

Would you let somebody punch you in the face for 300 bucks? Considering that knuckle sandwiches sometimes come for free, 300 smackers might not sound too bad. Then again, it depends who’s on the other end of the fist.

And whether or not dental coverage is thrown in.

According to Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul, the guy getting slugged on the cover of the band’s new album, Vulgar Display of Power, received $300 for his troubles. Along with a nice, fat lip.

“All I know is that it’s some guy from New York City,” says Paul of the unidentified human punching-bag. “We told ’em exactly what we wanted, and from what I understand, the guy had ice packs on his face for two days, so…he’s really gettin’ popped. It’s a vulgar display of power, right there.”

As you may have already guessed, aggression plays a sizeable part in this Dallas band’s approach to music. And when singer Philip Anselmo’s angry-as-hell lyrics combine with the group’s brutal sonic onslaught, the result—as brave headbangers will discover when the band opens for Skid Row at the PNE Forum this Wednesday (March 4)—is one of the raunchiest noises either side of Laramie.

So what—to use one of the new album’s song titles—makes Anselmo so “Fucking Hostile”?

“There’s a lot of things that make him angry,” explains Paul, “but he’s not necessarily writing anger in a negative fashion. He’s angry and he’s expressing a viewpoint, but it’s also an anger that turns positive, you know what I’m sayin’?”

The heavy doses of anger and aggression on Vulgar Display were channelled together by Seattle producer Terry Date, who is currently working in Vancouver with New York thrash-funkers 24-7 Spyz. Date’s credits also include Mother Love Bone, Soundgarden, and Screaming Trees, but Paul says he’s not concerned about the oh-so-trendy Seattle Sound rubbing off on his l’il loud band from Texas.

“Texas has a great music scene, but it’s very unique and diversified. Every band that has come out of Texas that you know of—King’s X, Stevie Ray Vaughan, ZZ Top, Pantera—they all have a distinctive sound about ’em, whereas the bands from Seattle tend to sound like bands from Seattle, and bands from L.A. sound like L.A. bands.

“That’s the cool thing about Texas, is everybody kinda has their own feel for what they’re doin’.”