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Martin Adam Pavlík
August 9, 2022, 4:30pm
Reading time: 7:09

Pantera: Guitarist Murdered By A Psychopath Right On Stage, Singer Experienced Cardiac Arrest After Overdosing

10 interesting facts about the band Pantera

Martin Adam Pavlík
August 9, 2022, 4:30pm
Reading time: 7:09
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Pantera: Guitarist Murdered By A Psychopath Right On Stage, Singer Experienced Cardiac Arrest After Overdosing
Zdroj: Getty Images/Mick Hutson/Redferns
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As they ran onto the stage, a hurricane came. When they left it, nothing was left of it. Phil Anselmo's aggressive vocals, Dimebag Darrell's juicy guitar solos, Rex Brown's straightforward bass and Vinnie Paul's crazy rhythms. It didn't take long for the Panther to become an unstoppable monster, rolling and devouring everything in its path.


Hits such as Cemetery Gates, Floods, Mouth for War, Fucking Hostile and Walk have been etched into the hearts of metal fans forever. And although we thought we wouldn't see the original members on the same stage together again, some of them (Anselmo and Brown) will reunite to renew Pantera, according to Billboard.

In 2023, the musicians will go on tour, with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante replacing the late members Paul and Darrell. On this occasion, we decided to introduce you to the history of the band, present memorable moments and clarify the relationships of individual members. Somethin you may have known already, something may surprise you.



1. Glam metal period

With the term Pantera, everyone today probably imagines angry tattooed big guys who are not fun to play with. However, the band members did not always look so rough and dangerous. In the 1980s, you would probably have laughed at the foursome from Texas rather than been scared of them.

Their first four albums were in the style of glam metal and were much more reminiscent of Mötley Crüe, Whitesnake, Kiss or Van Halen than Slayer, Metallica or Anthrax. The appearance of the band also corresponded to this. Their long messy hair was complemented by tight jeans, leather or elastic pants, tight headbands or tiger tank tops and T-shirts.


Source: Metal Magic Records

2. Devoted fan and inspiration of The Exorcist

The band hardened and changed its image only at the beginning of the new decade. A new chapter began with the album Cowboys From Hell (1990). Two years later, Pantera came out with the breakthrough record Vulgar Display of Power with distinctive visuals. The album cover featured a guy getting punched hard. According to Ultimate Guitar, it was a devoted fan of the band, Sean Cross.

He volunteered to pose for a photo, the goal of which was to capture his pained facial expression as faithfully as possible. However, stories about how the photo came about vary. While Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul said that Cross received up to 31 punches in the face, receiving $10 for each one, cover photographer Brad Guice said that the loyal fan actually did not receive a single punch during the photo shoot. Did you know that Pantera's album title Cowboys from Hell was inspired by a scene from the famous horror movieThe Exorcist (1973)?


Source: Atco

3. Strip club in Dallas with daring dancers

Although Pantera made a kingly profit from records and concerts in the nineties, the Abbott brothers (drummer Vinnie and guitarist Darrell) decided to enter another business, and so they founded a nightclub for adults called The Clubhouse in Dallas. But it was not ordinary. Since Vinnie was a great lover of golf, he adapted the club's visuals to this sport.


However, the strip club was also special for another reason. As Vinnie Paul revealed to Texas Monthly, the dancers danced there completely naked. For example, Marilyn Manson or the bands Kiss, Metallica and Black Sabbath visited the company. Regular visitors reportedly included American football players from the Dallas Cowboys and hockey players from the Dallas Stars, as well as professional golfers and NASCAR drivers. Perhaps that's why Clubhouse has become one of the most successful adult establishments in all of Dallas.


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4. Megalomaniac concert in Russia

On September 28, 1991, Pantera experienced the biggest concert of their career. Paradoxically, they did not play it in the United States, but at the Russian Monsters of Rock festival in Moscow, where they performed in front of an incredible half a million spectators and also with a lot of military police. Musicians with bands such as AC/DC and Metallica took turns on stage.


“We played at two in the afternoon and it was the biggest stage we've ever been on. Looking out into the crowd was blinding. It wasn't a crowd, it was a bloody ocean. Well, when we started playing, we killed it. We have become f*cking machines. We were ready for war and we brought it," Anselmo told Revolver magazine. During the cult song Cowboys From Hell, the frontman donned a devil mask and ran around the stage delirious.

5. Fatal dose of heroin and cardiac arrest


Pantera became one of the most famous metal elite, but everything was complicated by Phil Anselmo's drug addiction. As Metalhead Zone writes, during the creation of the legendary album The Great Southern Trendkill (1996), the frontman literally became a wreck. The use of heroin marked the tone of the album, which can be described as the darkest record of all that the band has created.

The hard fall came on July 13 of the same year in his native Texas during the tour. Anselmo took a fatal dose of heroin, his heart stopped, and the rescuers managed to revive him, but it took several minutes. He recovered in the hospital. "I didn't know what happened. I had various tubes connected to me. I sat up and immediately threw up. Then the nurse said to me: 'Welcome back. You overdosed on heroin,'" Anselmo recalled.


Source: Getty Images/Mick Hutson/Redferns

6. No amicable parting


Anselmo was extremely creative and active at the beginning of the new millennium. In addition to Pantera, he had side projects, the bands Down and Superjoint. He released an album with both in 2002, while Pantera stagnated, and relations between him and the Abbott brothers soon became so strained that the musicians began sending each other harsh and abusive messages through the media, rather than talking in person or calling each other. For example, Anselmo said of Darrell that he is a fool who deserves a hard punch.


Everything culminated in 2003, when the brothers finally ended the band, and they definitely did not part with Anselm on good terms. As the singer later revealed to Loudwire, while on the phone with Darrell, he told him that they were all tired and sick of waiting for him to rejoin Pantera, so they decided to form a new band, Damageplan.

7. Terrifying death right on stage


What happened on December 8, 2004 on stage at the Alrosa Villa club in Ohio absolutely shook the rock world. No one had ever experienced anything like this and had no idea that something like this could happen. It was during the performance of the Abbott brothers, who were already in full concert with their new project Damageplan, that a terrible tragedy happened.

In addition to fans, a 25-year-old mentally ill man named Nathan Gale came to their concert, but with a gun in his hand. He took aim at Darrell and shot him, setting off an all-out frenzy. However, the inferno continued, besides him he killed three people and shot others. After the incident, there was speculation that Gale killed the guitarist because he and his brother disbanded Pantera. However, according to NME, this theory was eventually refuted by the police.

8. A bitter end to a friendship

After the death of Darrell Dimebago, another bitter feud broke out between his brother Vinnie Paul and Phil Anselmo. The singer could not even attend the guitarist's private funeral. According to Blabbermouth, Vinnie indirectly blamed Anselmo for his brother's death when he suggested that some of the singer's statements about Darrell may have incited Gale to attack.

According to Metalhead Zone, Anselmo wanted to attend Darrell's funeral, but learned that the late guitarist's family did not want him there. He understood and respected their decision. Vinnie Paul died on June 22, 2018 of complications from a heart condition, and as Loudwire reports, Paul had not spoken to Anselm since the band's breakup until his death.

As the singer admitted, the fact that the former friends could not reconcile breaks his heart. “It's a pain I wouldn't wish on anyone... Love each other while you can. Put all the arguments  aside... I'm sick of it. Honestly, I'm tired of it. Be kind to each other," he said after the death of a teammate.


Source: Getty Images/Ebet Roberts/Redferns

9. Hail on the stage and repent

People became convinced that Phil Anselmo can be an unguided missile thanks to several stormy Pantera concerts or his excesses. However, what he did in 2016 was a big mistake. In January, after a concert in which several musicians went to pay tribute to the late Darrell, Anselmo appeared in front of the audience clearly "poured" and started yelling and chanting "White Power".


As the Guardian writes, several musicians from the metal community harshly condemned him for this, including the frontman of the famous thrash metal band Machine HeadRobb Flynn.


"Anyone who knows me and knows my character knows that I don't believe anything I've been yelling and doing. I don't want to be part of any group. I am an individual and I truly apologize to anyone I have offended by what I have done... I am truly sorry. Give me another chance, I love you all,"Anselmo later said in an apologetic video that he recorded to disappointed and outraged fans and fellow musicians.

10. A concert celebration in style and in the right hands


According to Revolver, Pantera's last show was on August 26, 2001 at Beast Feast in Yokohama, Japan (although the band was supposed to continue touring in Europe, the tour was canceled after the 9/11 terrorists attack at World Trade Center in New York).


As bassist Rex Brown will appear alongside Anselm in 2023, fans will see the two original members of the cult line-up after more than twenty years.


Although Anselmo played Pantera songs with his own band called Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, next year's tour will be in a completely different set-up thanks to guitarist Zakk Wyld (you may know him because he played in a band with Ozzy Osbourne or because he has his his own band Black Label Society, in which he also sings). He was Dimebag Darrell's best friend.


It is therefore clear that Darrell's solos will be in good hands. When he died, Wylde even composed the song In This River in his honor, and as he revealed this month for a planned reunion tour, he will pay tribute to the late brothers and their work on stage with other colleagues. "We're going to celebrate how great Vinnie and Dime were," the guitarist said. "It's a great honor to be a part of it," he added.


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