As the iconic frontman of PANTERA, Philip Anselmo sang on six of the Texas metal juggernaut’s albums: 1988’s indedendently released offering “Power Metal” plus the band’s five classic major-label LPs, “Cowboys From Hell”, “Vulgar Display Of Power”, “Far Beyond Driven”, “The Great Southern Trendkill” and “Reinventing The Steel”. Revolver magazine recently talked to Anselmo and got him to pick his five favorite PANTERA songs, which turned out to be “Becoming”, “Primal Concrete Sledge”, “Slaughtered”, “I’ll Cast A Shadow” and “By Demons Be Driven”.
Regarding how “Becoming” came together, Anselmo said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “That was me and [guitarist] Dimebag [Darrell Abbott], for sure. It might have been all of us. But still, Dime had the riff, but when Vince [drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott] came up with the drum beat, that’s when I… I mean, what do you say to that? I was, like, ‘Yes. Keep doing it over and over and over. It’s fucking awesome.’ So, yeah, man, that was a great moment. That was incredible. When Vince fell in with the drum beat, all of us — even Dimebag stopped playing, it was so impressive.
“Yeah, man, Vince‘s unique feet on that damn song. So unique. So interesting. So innovative. The dude was a fucking tight and incredible fucking player. Like, literally the best drummer I’ve ever played with, and I’ve played with fucking great drummers, man — blessed with great drummers. But Vince is — no one’s better than Vince; no way. Vince had his strong points and strong suits, but, man, talk about adaptability too.
“Going back to when I first joined the band, in ’87, they [Dimebag and Vinnie Paul] could break into a country-and-western fucking style, and it would sound perfect; it would sound like the real deal,” he continued. “It would be, like, ‘Damn. What is that?’ They knew some stuff. They could break down into Latin-style different, like SANTANA-style shit, and it would sound perfect and believable and acceptable. And, hey, give me more.
“They were great, man. I can’t explain how innovative they were and perfect and just adaptable. Shit, man, we would play… During ‘Cowboys From Hell’, one tour, one or two tours, right after the first chorus, going into the second verse, they would break into KANSAS [hums ‘Carry On My Wayward Son’]. Man, they were great. Very, very schooled musicians in 1987, when I joined the band.
“Man, go back and listen to their first record, back when most motherfuckers were standing in a garage screaming through a fucking stereo system or a guitar amp the size of my head… Yeah, man, they were advanced — they were super advanced,” Anselmo added. “And you know, people could say, ‘Well, they were pushed and brought into the studio, and they were pushed.’ Well, yes, they were pushed. But the results — the results they took to it. They loved playing music.”
Dimebag, who was killed in 2004, and Vinnie Paul, who died in 2018, formed PANTERA in the mid-eighties in Texas. The band recorded four independent albums before “Cowboys From Hell” introduced a heavier sound and made them a favorite with metal fans. 1994’s “Far Beyond Driven” debuted at No. 1 on The Billboard 200 without benefit of a commercial hit single. The group splintered in 2002 following the departure of Anselmo.
Up until his death, Vinnie remained on non-speaking terms with Anselmo, whom the drummer indirectly blamed for the murder of Dimebag, who was his brother.
When PANTERA broke up in 2003, Vinnie Paul and Dimebag formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of PANTERA were stealing his thoughts.
Vinnie Paul died of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn’t pump blood as well as a healthy heart.