Kris Engelhart of BackstageAxxess.com recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA/DOWN and current KILL DEVIL HILL bassist Rex Brown. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
BackstageAxxess.com: [In your newly released book, "Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story Of Pantera"], you do talk a lot about the early years of PANTERA. How important were those early years in shaping you musically?
Rex: You know, we were playing a circuit six nights a week and three sets a night. It kind of gave us a start. Shit, I was seventeen when I joined the band and I started writing all this material and it's a natural musical progression and it keeps going. And I keep having this musical journey that I call myself or what I do. It's just one of those kind of things. We found Phil [Anselmo, vocals] and everything really just came into place. And the rest is history, as they call it, I guess.
BackstageAxxess.com: So was it clear early on that there was something unique and special about PANTERA?
Rex: Yeah, I mean, four individuals, very much different individuals but everything put into one common goal. That was the point. We all had the common goal that we succeeded, you know, and as most groups got lighter, we got heavier and heavier. And then we went for that big ride. I call it the neurotic roller coaster. It was crazy, man, but we had a blast. I don't regret anything or what I've said other than Dime's [late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott] not on this planet anymore. That's the only regret I have. You could always think back and change things. Oh, man, I could have done that better; that's life in general. I'm just speaking my truth and I have a lot of corroboration and collaboration with other people for the book that kind of see it a little bit differently. But at the same time, it just adds to the story. It's truthful in what I say.
BackstageAxxess.com: Before the tragedy with Dime and when things were busy with DOWN, was it always the plan that PANTERA would get back together?
Rex: Absolutely. I knew that was gonna happen. Remember I was stuck in the middle between those guys. They [PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott and Darrell] couldn't call Phil 'cause they were scared to do it. And, of course, I couldn't get in touch with Phil because he still had the habit. And then Phil called again in 2005. The sad thing is the family didn't want him at Dime's funeral, so there's no closure whatsoever for the cat. I felt so bad for him. The fact that he was staying in one of my houses I had that I was leasing, it was just kind of weird, because Vinnie lived up the hill. And here's Phil down the hill in my other house and here's Vinnie up there on the other hill. Literally, like a seven iron away, I'm a golfer, say 150-60 yards away, and Vinnie not knowing that Phil was down there and wanting to be there and that's really a crying shame. As I say in the book, Vinnie said, "See what you did?" Well, I didn't do anything. I didn't pull the trigger or do anything to make any of that happen. The police reports that I have, this guy wanted to kill every damn one of us. This guy was a crazy lunatic. So that was very hard for me and very sad going through that part of the book.
BackstageAxxess.com: Looking back, PANTERA brought you some of the best times in your life and some of the worst. Is there a special moment you would relive if you could?
Rex: You know, everything was in the moment. No, I have no regrets about any of this other than the passing of Dime, and that's all I can really say. If anyone reads the book cover to cover, it kind of puts everything in perspective, even though it's so hard to put years of your life into three hundred odd pages. So I still have a lot of stuff on the cutting-room floor that I might want to put out down the road somewhere. But now that I know how to get around a book, it wouldn't take me that long to do it. I'm still putting down ideas on my iPad that I wanted to put in this one but we just didn't have the chance to do it. I'm just kind of telling my truth.
Read the entire interview from BackstageAxxess.com.