Korn, Slayer, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, Gojira and more Talk Pantera
Tue, 04 Dec 2012 10:00:16
Pantera's influence remains truly staggering.
You can hear strains of the legendary group's patented style everywhere from Korn and Five Finger Death Punch to Shinedown and Avenged Sevenfold. They shaped an entire generation of bands, and they forever altered the course of heavy music as we know it. That's why they're one of the most important bands in history and very easily arguably the greatest metal band of all-time. You'd be hard pressed to find an outfit more consistently crushing both in the studio and on stage. Albums like Cowboys from Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, Far Beyond Driven, The Great Southern Trendkill, and Reinventing the Steel still resound with a ferocity that's never been matched. At the same time, some of the greatest grooves in history populate their catalog. Philip Anselmo, Dimebag Darrell, Rex Brown, and Vinnie Paul still can't be topped as a unit after all these years.
On December 8, it will be eight years since Dimebag was tragically taken from us. However, ARTISTDirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino decided to ask a myriad of artists about Pantera's impact on them. So many of them cite Vulgar Display of Power, celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, as a life-changing milestone.
In this exclusive feature, Korn, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Slayer, Avenged Sevenfold, Mastodon, Gojira, Five Finger Death Punch, and more share thoughts and memories on Pantera.
Can you share your thoughts on Pantera? Do you have a seminal Pantera experience or memory? When did you first hear them? What do they mean to you? What's your favorite record or song by the band?
Jonathan Davis [J Devil] of Korn & KILLBOT
Jonathan Davis: I remembering hearing the groove metal, crunchy guitars, and Philip Anselmo going off. There was this intense aggression, but you could move and dance to the music. I absolutely loved that groove element. Vulgar Display of Power really got me into metal. Helmet was another one of those bands along with Prong. I love swinging groove, and Pantera were the kings of that. Every time Korn played in Dallas, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul would come out and see our shows. They were good times. Dimebag did not deserve what he got. I got to sit down with Philip one time, and I just thanked him. I said, "You're the one who inspired me to do metal music, and I just want to thank you". He was like, "Man, that's crazy!" I like all of his side projects too. There's one band he did called Christ Inversion which is crazy, satanic evil music. It's really cool and dark.
James "Munky" Shaffer of Korn & Fear and the Nervous System
James "Munky" Shaffer: I think we were living in Huntington Beach at the time. I thought Dimebag Darrell's tone was so badass. Together with Vinnie's tight kick drum, it was incredible. Of course, there's Phil too. That's anger. That's the pinnacle. Those are some of the heaviest vocals I've ever heard on a record. It was Vulgar Display of Power. KNAC played all the metal back in the day. I think they were the first ones to play "Walk". Pantera set the bar high. We're still trying to hit that.
Rob Zombie: I first heard them when we played with them. We played a show with them at a club in Brooklyn called L'amour. That was early on. Cowboys From Hell had just come out. That was my first time hearing them.
Corey Taylor of Slipknot & Stone Sour
Corey Taylor: I saw Pantera with White Zombie in 1996. That was just a ferocious concert, man. That was officially the last time I was in a moshpit too because I had a nipple ring get ripped out in the pit. I was like, "That's all for me! Thank you very much! I don't think I ever want to do this again" [Laughs].
Kerry King of Slayer
Kerry King: The first time I heard Pantera was at a club they were playing. We were going through Texas, and it was a day off before we actually played. I can't remember if somebody suggested we go there or if we ended up there. That's how it went down. That was before Power Metal. Philip was in the band, but I don't think the album was out yet. Philip was awesome, and Dime was awesome. I'm a guitar and vocal kind of guy. I'm extremely happy we were able to do a Pantera run. At the end of the day, it was the last Pantera run. I'm glad we got to make that happen. Dime and I wanted to tour together forever. After that, we did some of Damageplan's last run. We had a lot of experience with the Pantera and Damageplan boys.
M. Shadows of Avenged Sevenfold
M. Shadows: I go back to all of the old stuff I've listened to my whole life. I'm actually dissecting Pantera records right now as we're working on our new album!
Mike Mushok of Staind
Mike Mushok: The first time I heard Pantera was Vulgar Display of Power. The same friend who introduced me to Metallica played it for me. I remember going out and buying it as soon as I could. It's funny because a friend of mine had Power Metal, the album before Cowboys from Hell. I was like, "This is the same band?!" After I got Vulgar, I went back and got Cowboys from Hell. I definitely wore out those records. We never played with Pantera. We played with Damageplan a couple of times though. In fact, about six weeks before what happened in Ohio, we were playing in Albuquerque, and it was a fly date for the Damageplan guys. I spent the day hanging out with Dimebag Darrell. I remember the last thing I said to him. I've never done this either. He was watching our set from the side of the stage. They were getting ready to leave and catch a flight. I walked across the stage in between songs and said, "I can't tell you how much of an honor it is for me to have you standing here right now". To me, he's one of the best. That was the last thing I said to him and the last time I saw him. I was thankful for that day and the few times I got to hang out with him because he really was a beautiful person. I never talk to anybody during a set. Looking over and seeing him standing there while we were playing meant a ton to me. They're a band we used to cover. I watched all of their videos. Pantera were just amazing. They were a big influence.
Ivan Moody of Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody: I don't think there will ever be a band that compares to Pantera. In my book, they are the icon metal band of all time. Their catalog speaks for itself. What the four of those guys did for music in general is beyond incredible. Philip's lyrical ability and what Dimebag did as player are incredible. There is no torch to be handed down from Pantera. Pantera is one of our biggest influences as it should be for anyone who listens to rock 'n' roll. I first heard Pantera after getting out of a detention center as a kid. I caused a little mischief. I had a Walkman at the time, and I went to a store. I saw this cassette on the shelf, and it said Cowboys from Hell. I was like, "Dude, that's badass." There were only two copies of it so I knew it was underground at the time. The second I put it in, my entire life changed. My soul lit up. My eyes turned red. That was it for me. They'd become the greatest band on earth to me. You go down the line on the CD and get to "Cemetery Gates". I just freaked out like, "Wow, somebody can make good rock 'n' roll and still incorporate extremely painful misery and have a sense of relief." They kept getting bigger and better from there. My god, Vulgar Display of Power is still one of the greatest albums ever. Of course, my favorite is Far Beyond Driven. They just nailed it on The Great Southern Trendkill too. Anytime I saw that band live, it was absolutely jaw-dropping. I've never had an experience like that, and I've seen thousands of bands from Rammstein, Tool, and Metallica to Slipknot and Korn. Those are all phenomenal acts, but I never missed a Pantera show. Pantera was the beginning and end for me.
Robb Flynn of Machine Head
Robb Flynn: I remember I was hanging out Gary Holt from Exodus. He had just toured with Pantera, and he played me Cowboys From Hell. I was like, "What the fuck is this? This shit is sick!" I was rocking out to that record pretty hard. It's a whole different trip. Vulgar Display of Power is my favorite for sure. Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, and Far Beyond Driven are awesome, but Vulgar was when they got really heavy. It still had the melody though with songs like "Hollow". That song is sick. I'm a sucker for the Pantera ballads like "Cemetery Gates" and "This Love".
Scott Ian of Anthrax
Scott Ian: People tell us we were so lucky to tour with Pantera. We weren't lucky. We were just bands at the same time. Obviously, we were really good friends and still are so it only made sense that we'd play shows together. I can't say I have any specific stories. Anytime we got to spend with those guys, all of it was classic. We were on tour for three months. Not one day was better than the next, every day was great. Being with those guys was a three month party. That's the best way I can explain it. Going to shows to see them or hanging out with Darrell and Vince was always a special occasion even if we were doing it every day.
Phil Labonte of All That Remains
Phil Labonte: It was Cowboys From Hell. I saw the video for "Cowboys From Hell" on Headbangers Ball. I was amazed! Cowboys From Hell came out after Nirvana had killed metal. I was like, "Whoa!" Pantera kept metal alive the entire time grunge was shitting all over it. There was a wow factor because there was still a band out there doing it. I mostly listened to underground metal like Cannibal Corpse, Carcass, and Grave. It was just Pantera in terms of what people knew about on a large scale. They were so good. They wrote such great songs and did whatever the hell they wanted to. There was no compromising. They had songs like "Cemetery Gates" and "This Love", but they also had "The Great Southern Trendkill". It was phenomenal. "Fucking Hostile" is super heavy and aggressive, and they got away with all of it. In my opinion, they're one of the greatest bands of all-time. The diversity was on a level that's difficult to describe.
Ben Bruce of Asking Alexandria
Ben Bruce: I didn't necessarily grow up on them, but lately, I've been listening to Pantera because our road crew is into them. I fucking love the jams! Dimebag was a phenomenal guitarist and songwriter.
Matt Tuck of Bullet for My Valentine
Matt Tuck:I first heard Pantera in 1994. A live version of "Dominaton" came on MTV Headbangers Ball, and my ears were overloaded with this insane assault. It was so cool and energetic. I was like, "Fuck!" [Laughs] I actually got a couple of Pantera records that Christmas because of that. I got Vulgar Display of Power and Cowboys From Hell. I was 13- or 14-years-old, and I was like, "I'm fucked. I'm going to be a musician". I knew what I was going to do full-on. There was no compromising.
Andy Biersack of Black Veil Brides
Andy Biersack: I think everybody remembers being a teenager and hearing "Walk". Our sound guy is a huge Pantera fan. We always have to celebrate certain Pantera holidays. I don't know all of the days, but we'll wake up and he'll say, "Today is the anniversary of the first time they played in Europe. We all have to take a shot of Black Tooth Grin".
Tim Lambesis of As I Lay Dying
Tim Lambesis: I was a kid and "This Love" came on the radio. I thought the verse was cool, but when the chorus kicked in, I was stoked at the aggression. At that age, I don't know if I'd heard screaming on the radio before.
Troy Sanders of Mastodon
Troy Sanders: I heard Vulgar Display of Power in 1992. It absolutely blew up. It took over high school rockers by storm and everyone was rocking it. I got to see them support Skid Row at the time. I remember thinking it was really cool a band like Skid Row would take out a badass band like Pantera as support. It was really awesome. I was an immediate Pantera fan for life at that moment. Now, we've done all these shows with Down. It's so cool. We're sitting around talking about swimming pools and saying, "You blew my mind in the early '90s with your old band". We did Soundwave across Australia with HELLYEAH. Vinnie Paul is a total sweetheart. I drank a lot of booze with that man.
Joe Duplantier of Gojira
Joe Duplantier: With Pantera, I caught myself saying, "This is the best band ever" a couple of times [Laughs]. When I first heard Pantera, I was in high school, and I already had a band because of Metallica. I was the guitar player doing backing vocals. The singer showed us Cowboys From Hell, and we were like, "Damn, what is that?" We were in a small town in France, and there wasn't much interaction with metal communities. For us, it was a surprise to discover that. It changed my approach. You can tell how you're shaped by your influences. It's like there's a little bit of Metallica, a little bit of Pantera, and a little bit of classical music. Here I am!
Jacoby Shaddix and Jerry Horton of Papa Roach
Jacoby Shaddix: They just had that groove. The first time I heard them was at our friend's garage at a "Moshpit Party". Jerry's buddies in high school used to throw these parties where they'd play Primus, Metallica, Pantera, and oddball industrial music. We'd sweat, mosh, drink Mountain Dew, smoke weed, and get weird [Laughs]. We had some good times growing up in Vacaville!
Jerry Horton: Somebody bought Cowboys from Hell for Christmas for me, and it flipped me out. I was into metal, but I was more into the mainstream stuff. If you were a metal guy, it was Metallica and Megadeth. Pantera was this other thing for me. Talk about unique. They had their own thing with the metal and Southern rock thrown in, plus the hardcore.
Alexi Laiho of Children of Bodom
Alexi Laiho: The first time I heard Pantera I was probably around...it was actually after Slayer. Maybe I was like eleven or twelve and actually you know what it was Vulgar and I heard yea so the video for "This Love" and I liked it a lot, but it didn't really hit me until I heard the album and that's when I was totally blown away and yea, I'm still a big fan.
Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge & Creed
Mark Tremonti: I was watching MTV Headbanger's Ball and "Cemetery Gates" came on. The very next day, I ran to the record store and bought Cowboys from Hell. I love that record. It's probably my favorite because of my memories of being young and first discovering them. I met Dimebag Darrell for a minute once. We were doing an interview, and they were up next. It was in passing, but since then I've hung with Vinnie Paul a bunch. He's a super nice guy. I've actually got Dimebag's sticker on my favorite guitar. Pantera was one of the baddest live bands. They're one band you'd never ever want to play after [Laughs].
Clint Lowery of Sevendust & Call Me No One
Clint Lowery: The first time I heard Pantera was Cowboys from Hell. I was driving around Virginia on tour with a band way back in the day. I remember hearing that riff, and there was something completely different about it. I'll never forget my next introduction. I was in Orlando driving around with the same band, and someone was playing Vulgar Display of Power in its entirety. I felt completely depressed because I thought there was no way I'd ever be able to do anything as cool as what I was listening to [Laughs]. I was really inspired by that record.
Chad Gray of HELLYEAH
Chad Gray: A friend of mine and I got Cowboys from Hell. Pantera was just so fucking metal. I loved them to death. The first time I saw them was at a club in St. Louis when they were doing three warm-up shows before Vulgar Display of Power was dropped. I'd been a fan for about a year already. I saw them at this club, and it was fucking badass. It was so killer. When Vulgar came out, it was lights out. Then, Skid Row took them out. It was done. Greg and I went and saw them together. I think I saw Pantera three times on The Great Southern Trendkill. It was White Zombie and Deftones. They had the Kabuki with the Trendkill record cover with the snake on it. I told Vinnie that was classy. That was the best way to do "Suicide Note Pt. 1". To make sure it was done to perfection, play that motherfucker from the board off the CD. It was always going to be record quality from the loudest fucking home stereo in the world at an amphitheater. To see the lights come down and set this mood with the song, you're digging it so hard and the kabuki drops, and that place erupts man. I'd probably seen them eight or nine times, and they got bigger and bigger. The club was so great though. I was down on the floor, and I worked my way up to the front row. I was right in front of Dimebag Darrell. Grady, his guitar tech, would run out Dime's wah pedal just when he needed it. There were 40 people on stage all the time, and it'd get fucking stepped on and turned on otherwise [Laughs]. I was right in the front wearing an old school leather jacket with the buttons, dying and getting squished. Grady ran the pedal out and put his fucking arms down to me. I grabbed his arms and he pulled me up on stage. I launched fucking backwards, and that was my first stage dive ever. I didn't do a backflip, but I went in backwards.
Wes Borland of Limp Bizkit & Black Light Burns
Wes Borland: It was probably on Headbangers Ball. They were doing a tour supporting Cowboys From Hell. They were playing excerpts of them from their home video standing in some leaves or something. I saw the video for "Cowboys From Hell", and I was hooked. Vulgar Display of Power is my favorite Pantera record for sure.
Brent Smith & Zach Myers of Shinedown
Brent Smith: Vulgar Display of Power is still in my top ten records of all time. We were recently listening to Philip Anselmo talk on Sirius and he was like, "Music's supposed to be fun, goddamn it!" Best quote ever [Laughs]. It's super catchy and it's brutally honest lyrically. The drums were a bit more mechanical as far as the tone, and it worked with the guitar. The bass is all played with a pick. It's real metallic-sounding, and the vocals are super dry. It sounds like four guys in a room shredding it in their own way. You hear it, and there was nothing that had ever been recorded that sounded like that. It's unadulterated pure fury.
Zach Myers: I never heard guitar like Vulgar Display of Power. I probably heard that record a couple of years after it came out. I remember thinking, "That guitar is so in your face!" You never heard tone like that. It's incredible.
Adrian Patrick of Otherwise
Adrian Patrick: I liked their message. They just didn't give a fuck. Now, Vinnie Paul is one of our friends. He's a big supporter. It's crazy. I remember watching their videos on MTV as a little kid and being terrified [Laughs]. I was like, "Who are these guys?" Everything is coming full circle for us.
Zack Lopez of Middle Class Rut:
Zack Lopez: Pantera is probably my favorite heavy band ever. I don't know how I heard them. I was in seventh or eighth grade when Far Beyond Driven came out. I hadn't known much about them before them but the record was blowing up, and it was in the malls and shit. I remember seeing the cover and displays in the stores. I think I bought it because of that. It blew my mind when I put it on, especially being that young. It terrified me, but I couldn't stop listening to it [Laughs]. The Great Southern Trendkill is super heavy. You can't argue with it. Every night on this last tour, we were listening to Pantera. It's perfect for hanging out after a show. I got into Superjoint Ritual and Down too. I love the first Down record. I pretty much like most of the stuff Philip Anselmo does.
Brian Conner of Weaving the Fate
Brian Conner: I love Pantera. I was always into the slower riffs. I first heard Vulgar Display of Power in ninth grade. One of my friends had the tape, and those riffs were crazy. My instant reaction was, "Holy shit, I'm going to get my guitar that my dad got me from Sears and try some of these riffs." Those right hand chugs that Dimebag did really make you strengthen your strumming hand with the speed aspect of it.
Andrew Wetzel of Attack Attack!
Andrew Wetzel: I was in middle school. There was a guy who played guitar in my school, and he first introduced me to Pantera. It frightened me a little bit. I was like, "Wow, this is fucking metal." That was my first memorable experience hearing Pantera, and it was pretty epic. They're one of those bands all of my friends listened to, and I always heard them.
Darren Lynn Bousman
Darren Lynn Bousman: When I was eleven-years-old, I was jumped on Halloween night. I was beat down by five guys. My dad was like, "We're putting you in martial arts. No kid of mine is going to get beat up." I went into a seven-year love affair with martial arts. The guy who was teaching martial arts would play Pantera in the background to rile us up. I got a Pantera mixtape from my friend, and I'd play it in the middle of the night. One afternoon, my mother came in my room and heard Pantera. She took the tape and freaked out. It was this taboo thing. After that moment, my parents started really supporting everything I did including giving me back my tapes. It was crazy. I always think back on my life. I found that band after getting beat up. I don't know if it was the energy or what. I learned not to be taken advantage of, and I learned that metal or rock 'n' roll edge saying, "Fuck you, no one is going to tell me what to do. I'm going to make my own rules." A big part of that had to do with the soundtrack of my life.
Sal Costa of My Darkest Days
Sal Costa: I have two sisters who are nine and ten years older than me. I inherited their music collection. There were some Pantera records in there. The first time I heard "Cemetery Gates", I was blown away. I was like, "Who is this? This is badass!" The song goes from this epic, emotional intro into this heavy riff. There's this great storyline going on too. It was definitely Dimebag Darrell who spoke to me when I heard the record. That's usually what screams out to me as a guitar player. He was amazing. They're another band who will definitely go down in history. They're undoubtedly one of the greatest metal bands ever.
Davey Suicide: I heard Far Beyond Driven, and I backtracked to Vulgar Display of Power and Cowboys from Hell. I ended up liking Cowboys the best because I liked the guitar work on "The Sleep". "Cemetery Gates" was awesome. "Domination" is incredible. Those dudes were full-on the real deal.
When was the first time you heard Pantera?