Pantera, the heir apparent to the heavy metal throne, are back at it again. With a bone-crushing new album out, Reinventing The Steel, and a choice slot in Ozzy Osbourne's Woodstock-for-headbangers - Ozzfest 2000 Tour, it seems there's no slowing down for these Southern monsters.
Bassist Rex Brown talks to Livewire's Tony Bonyata about porn stars, booze, golf outings, the state of Ozzfest 2000, future plans for a headlining tour and their long-term goal to lay to waste any trendy musical fads (i.e. grunge metal, funk metal, rap metal, etc.) that get in their way. Take cover.
Livewire: Your music has been described many ways by the press and your fans - hard, aggressive, in-your-face, profane, among many other niceties. How would you define Pantera's music?
Rex: Just hard, f**kin' in-your -face, balls-to-the-wall f**kin' metal.
Livewire: Are you guys really as hardcore and bad as you portray yourselves, or do you lead pretty sedate lifestyles?
Rex: I'm so hungover right now I can barely hold the phone up. It's a bad day today! We had an in-store (record promotion) yesterday and signed about 3,000 kid's autographs and I just drank way too much booze.
Livewire: What were the some of the early influences of the band?
Rex: You got yer Sabbaths and yer Kiss' and Zeppelin and the Van Halen brothers. That's the earliest influences. Then you get into the hardcore punk and then from there just straight-up metal, you know.
Livewire: Did the punk movement really have that much influence on your music?
Rex: Phil's pretty much into the hardcore kinda shit - Black Flag, Minor Threat, that kinda stuff that's pretty aggro. (Our music) is not really built upon that, but we like the aggressive style of music.
Livewire: Is there anyone outside of the metal realm that you listen to - maybe a guilty pleasure like Tchaikovsky or Manilow?
Rex: I listen to all kinds of stuff. We all have different tastes. Phil's real into the black metal scene - a Norwegian style of eccentric, f**kin' heavy shit.
Livewire: How is the start of Ozzfest going so far?
Rex: It's going good. We've already played a couple of handfuls of shows which started on July 2nd.
Livewire: Should fans of Pantera expect anything out of the norm from this show?
Rex: They should expect the same thing every show. We just get up and kick everybody's f**kin' ass. That's just the way we are.
Livewire: Are there any memorable events or moments from Pantera's scrapbook from Ozzfest that you could share with us?
Rex: I tell you what, every Ozzfest show is memorable because there's so many bands on it, and everybody always ends up in our f**kin' backstage room after the gig. There's plenty of memorable stories, just too many to tell right here on the tape. You know, Ozzfest is pretty neat because you have so many different bands and different styles of music, I mean it's all a kind of metal, but there's a lot of different elements thrown in. And it's a pretty cool experience to get everyone together and leave your f**kin' ego at the f**kin' door - except for us, 'cause we kick everybody's ass.
Livewire: Any bands on the bill that you'd like to see?
Rex: I wouldn't want to take one band and put it out there. I've been trying to watch all the bands, but some of them go on at ten o'clock in the morning, so it's kinda hard for me, you know, when I don't go to bed 'till about seven (AM) or so. I gotta get some rest. But I'm making a point to see every band out here. There's a lot of camaraderie. It's a big family kinda deal.
Livewire: Have you had any problems with fans getting too rowdy or on the verge of rioting?
Rex: Naw, we haven't had problem one on this tour...which is good.
Livewire: In the middle of such a god-awful musical scene today, with the likes of Britney Spears and N' Sync selling millions, how does a hardcore band like Pantera and a huge metal festival like Ozzfest succeed?
Rex: That shit'll fall by the wayside. I'm not worried about it, we've been here for ten years, we've never pulled a f**kin' trend and all them f**kin' little teenybopper f**kin' bands have been around since the 1960s. There's always been that shit music. I can't f**kin' stand it. It's not even worth talkin' about! We are one of the only bands in the last ten years that are still around doing exactly what we f**kin' started out to do in the first place. All these other bands come in with their trendy-ass little bullshit, but we're stayin' true and think the fans get it. We not about to cut our hair and play f**kin' pop songs. We're still around and alot of bands aren't in this genre of music. So up everybody else's!
Livewire: I understand that you and drummer Vinnie Paul are offering a golf challenge with fans during the tour. What made you decide to do this and how do your fans sign up?
Rex: It's a radio contest deal where our fans can land an opportunity to play golf with us - if they call in at the right time or say the f**kin' magic word. We play golf on our days off, pretty much, if we don't have any in-stores. So this is chance for the fans to come and hang out and drink some beers with the boys on the course. We've got outings on this tour just about every other day.
Livewire: Do you guys freak-out any of the old-line golf prigs with your long hair and tattoos?
Rex: Not at all. Golf is accessible to all kinds of people that are playing it these days.I've been playing for probably ten years and it ain't no big deal.
Livewire: How did your record store promotion of your new album "Reinventing The Steel" go? I understand that you brought along porn stars to help promote it.
Rex: Just one. I think her name is Kira (Kener). It' kinda cool. It's something different, you know, a different angle on an in-store (record promotion.) Unfortunately she's got to have her clothes when she's with us.
Livewire: Are you planning your own tour after Ozzfest?
Rex: We're takin' Ozzfest down to South America in September and after that we're gonna do our own headline tour in the States in November. We're gonna try to hit every goddamn state in the country.
Livewire: Any heavy-hitting opening acts planned for your tour?
Rex: I can't tell you right now, but it's gonna be a f**kin' stellar package. We don't have everything set in stone, so I wouldn't want to say anything right now.
Livewire: Any words as to what Chicago and Wisconsin metal fans who'll be attending Ozzfest in August might expect?
Rex: Blood, sweat and a bunch of beers! Come out and see the show.