Pantera's 'Far Beyond Driven' Turns 20

"I was going slowly insane throughout the touring of this record," Phil Anselmo remembers.

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Pantera's "Far Beyond Driven," the first extreme metal album ever to reach No.1 on the Billboard 200 chart and the first record where late guitar icon Darrell Abbott is credited as Dimebag Darrell, is officially 20 years old.

The landmark effort saw its release on March 22, 1994 via East West Records, shaking the metal world with such future classics as "5 Minutes Alone," "I'm Broken," "Becoming" and a surprisingly gentle Black Sabbath cover "Planet Caravan."

But the album also marked the beginning of internal turmoil and clashes that would result in Pantera's breakup in 2003. Singer Phil Anselmo recently remembered the tour supporting the release, describing himself as a "trapped animal" at the time.

Drummer Vinnie Paul also discussed the "Far Beyond Driven" tour, mostly focusing on Anselmo's unpredictable and often violent behavior. "Phil started isolating himself from the rest of us," he told Revolver magazine. "It got to the point where we wouldn't see each other until about 20 or 30 minutes before showtime. You never knew if he was going to be in a s--tty mood or a good mood.

"You just hoped it was good enough to get through the show. That's truly where some of the shows started lacking. They weren't as good as they used to be, and he would start his rants and go on for 20 minutes while we stood around and looked at him, like, 'What the f--k are you saying to these people, dude? They want to hear us play some songs. Let's play some music,'" Vinnie added.

Phil also shared his thoughts on the trek, saying, "The touring was really a mixed bag for me. The [chronic back] pain was intense, but the thrill was still there much of the time, and when I was onstage, that part of it I enjoyed very much. But during this time, I was drinking an entire bottle of Wild Turkey every night before a show to numb the pain I was experiencing.

"I felt trapped, man. I felt lost even trying to explain to the guys in my band, who were so used to seeing Superman up onstage, that I was not Superman anymore. I felt like a trapped animal, honestly. I felt cornered and very confused," the singer explained (via Blabbermouth).

"The words that would come out of my mouth [while we were on stage] were abrasive. I was lashing out at other bands when I really had no business mentioning other bands during a Pantera show. I was going slowly insane throughout the touring of this record, whether it be from pills, alcohol, or the mental stress from carrying around the chronic pain along with the addiction," Anselmo concluded.

Marking the "Far Beyond Driver" anniversary, Artist Direct exclusively premiered a live rendition of "Use My Third Arm." Make sure to give it a listen here.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    "Marking the "Far Beyond Driver" anniversary".....I didn't know that Pantera had a golf-themed record!
    Truly amazing album! Always makes me feel like i need to wear protective gear while listening to it, it's that powerful!
    And the best thing to recall from those days is Phil's behavior? Come on Vinnie, your complex is too big.
    I picked up the new remaster a few days ago and it kills. Solid, solid mix. 20 years later and "Far Beyond Driven" is still one of the all time heaviest things ever put down on a record.