Flashback! Pantera’s Vinnie Paul & Rex Brown


Although it sounds like Paul and Brown follow one another closely onstage to attain their super-tight grooves, Paul says that both he and the bassist tend to listen most closely to Dimebag Darrell’s guitar playing: “It just seems like that’s where the energy evolves from. Whereas in a jazz band it may be the drums and the bass that push it along, in this type of music, it’s really the guitar. For some reason it just feels a little better. The bass is always carrying the low end, but it just seems like if you’re going to follow somebody, the guitar is more natural for this kind of music. I talked to a couple of my other friends who play in hard rock/heavy metal bands and they say the same thing.”

Nonetheless, there are nights when either Paul or Brown have a bad gig. Sometimes it can be the result of equipment failure, other times it can come from fatigue. “Nobody’s ever perfect,” Paul admits. “We’re all generally pretty consistent and really proud of that fact. But when somebody is having an off night, we all try to pick up the slack and help him make it through it, because he’d do the same for us. When Rex is having a rough night it’s usually something technical like his rig went down or he broke a string. It gets irritating when you’re onstage in front of people and all of a sudden the bass goes out. The other guys just keep performing and act like nothing’s wrong and when the problem’s resolved, generally a lot of people don’t even know that there was a problem.”

In the end, that’s what Pantera is all about: four old friends who have always been there for each other, ever since they were high school kids. To Paul, playing with Brown has simply become second nature, like pulling on an old pair of jeans that fits just right. But Brown was more eloquent in summing up their long-term relationship: “I can’t imagine Pantera without Vinnie. No way. He’s got the feet.”

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