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Pantera: Rex Brown Discusses the Death of Vinnie Paul

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Hard to believe, as of tomorrow, it will already be seven months since legendary Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul passed away as the result of a heart condition. The passing of a titan like Paul was always gonna shake the metal world regardless of the circumstances, but the fact that Paul was just 54 at the time of his death and was the second of the Pauls to die so young… well, the loss stung just that much harder.

So it’s little wonder that bassist Rex Brown has pretty much kept mum on the subject other than releasing a statement the week following Vinnie’s death; if the drummer’s passing hit us fans so hard, imagine what it was like to have been the dude’s bandmate.

But now Brown has, for the first time since that initial statement, opened up about the subject in a new interview with Loudwire:

“Vinnie was just an incredible drummer and I really miss the camaraderie of years past. It was just another phone call of, ‘Are you sitting down?,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh my god, who is it now?’ Never in a million years would I have thought it would be Vinnie. It’s just wild, and it’s insane. It started coming through in some of my lyrics, and I had to step back a little bit.

“I had to reflect on it and it’s something you have to process. I learned the first time with Dime, and it took me years in therapy to get the fuck over [Dime’s death]. When those tragedies hit, you just pull your boots up as much as you can and you go. We just had a hell of a rhythm section, and it hasn’t been touched since, so. I don’t want to sound egotistical about it, but we were pretty fucking tight, dude … even at our sloppiest [laughs] … even at our drunkest [laughs].”

Brown also took a moment to fondly reflect on how first starting to play music with Vinnie and Dimebag when they were all just kids:

“We started out professionally figuring out how to do it when we were 15 years old. We were in jazz band, lab band, together in high school and it was one of the most prestigious lab bands and the instructors, they had high connections to the Montreaux Jazz Festival and the seniors, we’d go every year and play a cover. So Vinnie and I spent a lot of time at sectionals and we were both extremely incredible sight readers. We’d gotten that in junior high. I played, of all things, the tuba, and I also played the bass because there were too many guitar players, even as I’m playing guitar now and looking at my ’61 double cut.

“I think having those couple of years with Vinnie in that kind of direction. Sometimes we’d play ‘2112’ in its entirety at sectionals, but playing jazz is a much more wide open space to go in. It’s off the cuff, and that’s where you can really learn how to play.

“But once we started playing these clubs and playing covers and writing our own material and those first three records, we were only 17-year-old, then 18 and 19. But I just knew what he was going to do. I played along with Vinnie and to Vinnie and Vinnie would play off of Dime. It was very integrated and we knew exactly where each other were going to go. I think all those years we played in the clubs just made us a tighter band. That’s why we had that big sound with the guitar, and everything just had its place.”

Brown also says that whatever tribute to the Pauls is planned for this week’s Dimebash 2019, he’s not in the loop:

“I’m sure there might be something, but I’m not the head of that. I get up there to play the encores and that’s it. I’m sure there might be some segment there dedicated to Vin. The Hellyeah guys are gonna be there, but I won’t know until the night of … and that’s kind of cool, cause that’s the way that Dime always did shit. It was all about the jam. We’ve all known each other for years, all these musicians, and it’s a really good time just hanging out.”

You can read the entire interview here. Although the Vinnie stuff is what’s most interesting, the chat is actually meant to be about how Rex has left Kill Devil Hill. Sorry if that hangs a cloud over your day.

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