Pantera were one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history, and arguably the most important metal band of the 1990s. But Pantera also endured a long, almost secret existence for much of the 1980s, long before the incredible run of success, and tragic circumstances that felled its driving force, making any future reunions virtually impossible. Here, we look back at the band’s legacy with 20 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Pantera.
Pantera started out as a family operation. Darrell and Vinnie’s father, Jerry Abbott, produced and engineered their albums, then released them through the band’s own independent label, Metal Magic.
‘Metal Magic’ was also the title of Pantera’s 1983 debut album — a play on the band’s original full name, Pantera’s Metal Magic.
Pantera self-financed two music videos during their glam era, fronted by original singer Terrence Lee Glaze: ‘All Over Tonight,’ from 1984’s ‘Projects in the Jungle’ and ‘Hot and Heavy,’ from ’85’s ‘I Am the Night’. You may be surprised at what you see and hear.
Before he mastered the bass, Rex Brown learned to play the piano and was a big fan of ragtime composer Scott Joplin. Even after embracing rock (inspired by ZZ Top, Def Leppard and others), Rex played bass with his high school jazz band and was even offered a college scholarship to study jazz.
After parting ways with Terrence Lee Glaze, Pantera briefly worked with singer Rick Mythiasin of power metal band Steel Prophet, until eventually hooking up with long-time frontman Philip Anselmo.
Prior to joining Pantera, Anselmo fronted several NOLA bands, including one named Samhain, but not the same Samhain led by Misfits legend Glenn Danzig.
‘Power Metal’s’ final track, ‘P*S*T88’ features Diamond Darrell, as he was then known, on vocals.
Darrell successfully auditioned for Megadeth’s vacant lead guitar position in 1989, but when he couldn’t convince Dave Mustaine to also hire big brother Vinnie Paul, Darrell decided to carry on with Pantera instead.
Producer Terry Date, who helped Pantera redefine their trademark sound on 1990’s ‘Cowboys from Hell,’ was hired based on his impressive resume, including work for Metal Church, Dream Theater, Soundgarden, and others.
The C.F.H. tattooed on the side of Philip Anselmo’s head stands for — you guessed it —‘Cowboys From Hell.’ Dimebag Darrell sported a similar tattoo on his shoulder.
1992’s ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ album was named after a memorable scene in the 1973 horror classic ‘The Exorcist.’
The Pantera fan who volunteered his face for the punch captured on the cover of 1992’s ‘Vulgar Display of Power’ reportedly had to withstand almost 80 whacks before the “money shot” was secured.
On ‘Far Beyond Driven’ Dimebag Darrell tuned his guitar far beyond standard rock and roll tuning, going as low as a C# to get the heaviest sound possible for some songs.
Around this time, Pantera briefly feuded with Kerrang! Magazine, after the powerful heavy metal weekly printed an unflattering cartoon of drummer Vinnie Paul, subtitled “You fat bastard!” Luckily, cooler heads prevailed.
While the band recorded 1996’s ‘The Great Southern Trendkill’ in Dallas, Philip Anselmo cut his vocals back in New Orleans — in Trent Reznor’s studio, no less. However, Anselmo told us he was with the band for the writing sessions.
The ‘Trendkill’ song ‘13 Steps to Nowhere,’ features guest backing vocals by Seth Putnam, notorious singer with New England grind core favorites Anal C—t.
Anton Crowley, who played guitar on cult death metal band, Necrophagia’s 1999 album, ‘Holocausto de la Morte,’ was actually Philip Anselmo, operating under a pseudonym for legal reasons.
‘Goddamn Electric,’ from Pantera’s final studio album, 2000’s ‘Reinventing the Steel,’ feature Slayer guitarist Kerry King, performing a one-take guitar solo which had been recorded backstage during an Ozzfest date!
Another ‘Reinventing the Steel’ song, ‘Death Rattle,’ was used in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants, entitled ‘Pre-Hibernation Week.’
At the age of 14, Philip Anselmo burned a portion of his parents’ house down during a prank gone horribly wrong. Hear the story straight from Anselmo himself right here:
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