Vinnie Paul Remembers Pantera Breakup: 'We Could Have Been the Rolling Stones of Metal'

Drummer recounts band's final days in new interview.

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Speaking in the latest issue of Metal Hammer (via Blabbermouth), Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul has revealed how Phil Anselmo's drug addiction led to the band's separation:

"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."

As Vinnie notes, none of the band were aware that Anselmo was using heroin until the singer OD'd at the band's homecoming show:

"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--k?' 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."

32 comments sorted by best / new / date

    They were "the most anti-drug guys in the world", but they chugged jack daniels like it was gatorade, and their lead guitarist was named "dimebag". I obviously realize pot and booze are not in the same category as heroin, but its still a little hypocritical to talk like this, especially he wants to blame Anselmo's habits for ending the band.
    Also I hate how he completely blames Phil for Pantera's breakup and Dime's death. It's not like Phil ran onstage and shot Dime that night. I read Rex's book and some of the stuff he says about Vince caught my by surprise. Vince really comes off as kind of a douche. Rex even said at one point Dime was getting sick of Vince's shenanigans and asked to ride in Rex and Phil's bus a couple times.
    Well said. Dime is my all time favorite guitar player but if he was alive today, he'd be in such bad shape from all the booze he consumed. And Vince is probably still hitting the bottle pretty hard. For him to sit there and talk about being anti-drug, preaching about Phil's drug abuse is absurd.
    Hey don't bring pot into this. Its hardly a drug. Alcohol on the other hand..
    althought i completely agree, when you get into the context of any type of business where the cash flow is more than plenty, i.e. music, movies, entertainment etc. weed and alcohol are not really "drugs". I will say tho that a serious alcohol addiction is of course almost just as bad, but for people who smoke and drink in moderation, they are not drugs. Mustaine says hes sober, but when I met him after a show he was stoned out of his mind. Sure they are technically drugs, but nothing compared to coke, heroin, pcp, meth, etc
    Yeah im pretty sure Vinnie was(is?) an alcoholic. And when you do enough drinking, the withdrawl can cause DT's (delirium tremens), which when severe can kill you. Heroin withdrawls won't kill you. You may believe your dying and have a few seizures but you wont die. Its just harder to achieve alcohol poisoning than overdose on heroin
    If you read Mustaine's book, he doesn't really describe himself as sober. He refers to himself as a non-addict. He even said he's fine with having a glass of wine at dinner, at night, etc. so it doesn't surprise me.
    As someone with experience I’d have to say if you drink a bottle of 2 of jack and smoke 5 grams of hooch everyday it will fark you up as much as anything. Remember kids, everything in moderation.
    My guess is that Dimebag would still be alive if Pantera wouldn't of broken up.
    Probably. Apparently his killer Nathan Gale really resented that Dimebag and Vinnie were unwilling to carry on Pantera despite their relationship breakdown with Phil.
    Well, Dannym95, what is your opinion of dimes killer?
    Let's be honest, everyone of them was having a tough time in the late 90's/early 2000's. Anti-drug? With all those oceans of booze, tons of weed and stuff? It's still so painful, the way it all ended up. He should bury the hatchet with Phil and stop blaming him for everything, he's not responsible for the end of Pantera and Dime's death.
    Ha.... He kicked Phil out of Pantera!!! They all did Drugs... Fuck off!!!
    In today's news: Vinnie Paul still blames everything on Anselmo. We get it, man. You're pissed at Anselmo. Kiss and make up, for ****'s sake
    This is like how GNR kicked out Steven Adler for being a herion user when all the band was on it too.
    And when RHCP kicked out Navarro for being a junkie, while Anthony was all doped up, missing recording sessions, and took 2 years to write lyrics to an album.
    woe woe woe, you said "...we used to be the most anti-drug guys in the world..." Don't Lie mang.
    Kat's gotta be the coolest roadie ever. Watch the Pantera videos
    I love Pantera, and i love both Phil and Vinnie. But you can't sit on a cloud of judgement and look down on a heroin user while you yourself are an alcoholic
    "I really felt like we were gonna be the Rolling Stones of heavy metal, and we could have been." I really don't think so. Pantera was a great band, but nowhere near the best in metal. \m/
    Seeing these things between Phil, Rex and Vinnie make me feel really sad. One of my favorite bands ever. Just bury the hatchet and spend rest of this short time here on this crazy planet as brothers. I wish everything good for all of them. RIP Dime
    More like the Pringles Ridges of Metal. They were so ****ing good. This Love and Hollow are just epic.
    Man, just stop. Dannym95's bellend thing is funny but your Pringles Ridges shit is not.
    Thanks for speaking for all on that dude cause what you decide is funny is what is hey. Edit: Sorry but people who speak to others that way (quiet down, you're not funny, you can't play, your music sucks etc) Are usually jealous and closed minded and are the ones who hold back others with actual talent. Not saying that this is the kind of person you are from one comment, hey could just be a bad day for you.