Pantera legend Vinnie Paul feels that the Texan war machine could have become the biggest metal band in the world.
Vinnie, along with Rex Brown and Phil Anselmo, exclusively talks to us for our huge new cover feature that journeys through Pantera’s unstoppable golden age – and their tragic end.
“We’d see [Phil] before the show and then he’d be gone, and you never knew which Phil you were gonna get,” remembers Vinnie of the band’s difficult relationship with their frontman. “You might get the pitbull that we all knew and loved, or you might get some dude who was completely whacked out on heroin and didn’t do what he was supposed to do. It did become difficult on that touring cycle, but also we’d never had a break, so we could never get away from it.
“None of us had any clue that he was even thinking of doing heroin — we used to be the most anti-drug guys in the world — and when he OD’ed in Dallas, when we played our big homecoming show to 18,000 people, the first thing that came to my mind was that he’d passed out because of the heat. When I saw him laying on the ground, blue, I was, like, ‘What the fuck?’ If it hadn’t been for our drum tech, Kat, chasing down some paramedics, [Anselmo] wouldn’t be around anymore. And it really would have been a shock because none of us had a clue.
“We kept working, and, really, our intention wasn’t to stop. Until Phil decided he’d rather go and do Down and Superjoint Ritual, we never stopped. I really felt like we were gonna be The Rolling Stones of heavy metal, and we could have been.”