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Vinnie Paul on How Pantera Fell Apart

by Amber Lee

In the new issue of the UK's Metal Hammer magazine, Vinnie Paul talks about how Pantera fell apart. He says it started when singer Phil Anselmo started using heroin to cope with his back pain. Anselmo demanded his own tour bus. He'd disappear. No one in the band even knew he was using, until Phil OD'ed and almost died. The rift was still there, though. 

"This is when the drug thing came about and everything started going sideways with him... That's when the band and him started separating and he started demanding his own tour bus. We'd see him before the show and then he'd be gone, and you never knew which Phil you were gonna get. 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."

"A lot of elements started creeping in, particularly with him. I mean, we were all in some pain. I had to deal with tendonitis, but I never turned to drugs to pacify 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 f*ck?' 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.

"It definitely went from being all hunky dory to being a lot more work and not knowing what was gonna happen.

"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."

*Image: Wiki Commons