Joseph Rose of Crave Music recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott. A few excerpts from the chat follow:Crave Music: Do you ever get a chance to just go back and listen to the PANTERA albums? Do you have a favorite one? Vinnie Paul: "My favorite one is 'Vulgar Display Of Power'. That's the one that really launched everything. I think it's the best songs we ever wrote, and it was just a record that came at a time when we just finished our first world tour, we were so hungry and so fuckin' into everything that we were doing, and we wanted to make the best album ever. And to me that is the very best PANTERA record ever. I feel like we did a great job on all of em, but that one had all the magic, man." Crave Music: What was it about PANTERA that made it so special to such a large audience? Certainly more than your average metal band. Vinnie Paul: "I think it was a bunch of things. We were a band of fans. We loved all the other kinds of music that was out. We didn't feel like we were competing with 'em you know. We just wanted to be fans and friends with them, and I think our musicianship was a little bit of a level up from a lot of bands. We spent seven years in night clubs playing cover tunes, and we could play anything from VAN HALEN to METALLICA to PRIEST, I mean all our favorite bands. We really knew our instruments well and we felt like we could put a lot into our songs that maybe other bands couldn't and that just kinda made it more special. And then just like with any band, it happened to have the right chemistry with the people in it." Crave Music: Is there anything at all that Phil Anselmo could possibly do, to make amends with you on a personal level? Or is that out of the question? Vinnie Paul: "Absolutely not. That's it." Crave Music: Are there any newer bands out right now that interest you? Vinnie Paul: "I think there's some cool bands out there. There's a band called 69 EYES from Finland who's a cool band. It's a little different than what I always listen to. It's kind of a cross between TYPE O NEGATIVE and BILLY IDOL, and I'm a huge fan of both of them. DISTURBED is probably one of my favorite modern metal bands out there. They do a really good job, and David Draiman is kind of a modern-day Rob Halford… he has it all he can do all sorts of great things with his voice. Those are the main ones. I think SLIPKNOT is fuckin' incredible, I love everything they do. It's almost like a modern-day KISS so to speak." Crave Music: Who is your favorite drummer of all time? Vinnie Paul: "The dude that made me wanna play double bass was Tommy Aldridge. The first time I ever heard him play all those triplet bass drum fills on 'Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights)' by PAT TRAVERS, it just freaked me out and I had to go get another bass drum. PAT TRAVERS, BLACK OAK ARKANSAS, OZZY OSBOURNE, WHITESNAKE, TED NUGENT, you go down the list, he's played with all these people and he's still goin'. The dude's like 58 years old and still can play circles around 98% of the people that play drums today." Crave Music: What do you think of the current crop of new heavy bands in general? The kind of bands that are getting airplay on "Headbanger's Ball", for example? Vinnie Paul: "I think the biggest problem I have is that I miss the groove. It's all about as fast as you can go and all the double bass. The way I approached double bass is that if you saved it and used at certain parts of the songs, you really get that thunder that you're looking for, that boost that pushes the music over the top. But if you start every song with it and it goes like that all the time it doesn't have that effect. That's what I miss with these bands, they all have the big yelling and the same double bass on everything. What ever happened to the groove and some dynamics? I'm not against 'em because I think they're great players, but I'd just like to see 'em groove more." Read the entire interview at www.craveonline.com.