Ex-PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul recently spoke to Revolver magazine about the circumstances that led to the group's demise two years after the release of their critically acclaimed "Reinventing The Steel" CD.
"With the last couple of PANTERA records, we kept getting more and more narrow-minded because of Phil," Vinnie said. "He didn't want to experiment or take any chances, and it was like being in a tube that was getting to be so small you couldn't even breathe. Personally, I think the dude was afraid of success. He wanted to be such an underground icon that the bigger PANTERA got, the more he didn't want to be involved.
"I did everything I could to get the guy squared away so he could have a good time. We had already agreed to take six months to a year off anyway, because we had been doing this for 12 goddamn years and we needed a break. But next thing I know, he's off doing DOWN with [PANTERA bassist] Rex [Brown] and talking shit about us.
"Phil has no respect for anything and just perceives other people to be less than he is. After hearing him talking so much shit, I looked at [brother/PANTERA guitarist Dimebag Darrell] and went, 'You know what? I think this might be the end of this. We better start doing something, because the only thing we know how to do is play music."
According to Vinnie, Anselmo hid many things from his bandmates, including his appetite for heroin. It wasn't until 1996, when he overdosed after a hometown show in Dallas that the rest of PANTERA learned of his affinity for the needle.
"It was about 118 degrees outside that day, so I thought the dude had passed out from heat exhaustion," Vinnie said. "He was blue and medics were hitting him in the chest. Then they're saying it's a heroin overdose, and I'm like, 'Dude, you gotta be kidding!' Because he used to preach antidrugs back in the day."
"[In the years that followed Phil's overdose] he was very private about [the fact that he was using again]. I don't know if he was using the whole time or what, but it got to the point where I didn't know which Phil was gonna show up to the gig. One night he would walk in and be a fucking animal. The next night, I'd walk backstage and he'd be lying in the corner and he'd say he was tired. I will never take anything away from that dude from when he was at the top of his game, but where he's at right now, I think he's much less than subpar at what he does. I have a hard time watching him when I see him on MTV talking about SUPERDOPE RITUAL, or whatever they're called, and he can't keep his fucking eyes open."
Vinnie Paul's interview with Revolver appears in the magazine's February 2004 issue, out on the newsstands now.