Rex Brown Talks All Things Pantera
When bassist Rex Brown takes the stage at Concert Pub North tomorrow with his new supergroup Kill Devil Hill, he'll be carrying a significant musical legacy along with him. As a founding member of Pantera, Brown helped to export a unique brand of dynamic Texas metal around the world in the '90s, a groovy, punishing sound for which he and his old band mates remain revered across the state.
Rex Brown, right, with Kill Devil Hill
In the third and final portion of our interview with Rex, Rocks Off discussed the anniversary of Pantera's breakthrough, feuding within the group and his forthcoming book, 100% Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story of Pantera.
Rocks Off: Obviously with Pantera, every time the band played a show in Texas, there was an extra bit of magic in the air. Those were shows that were circled on the calendar. Do you get that same feeling now on the road with Kill Devil Hill?
Rex Brown: You know what, that's what I was saying about coming full circle. I think I got the hunger and the flame that I had with Pantera, especially in the early days of really trying to get people to get off on the music and put a smile on their faces. Now that the record's been out for a little bit, it's a lot easier to do that because they know the lyrics.
We had been on the road for a couple of tours before we did this thing, just trying to spread the word. Now that it's out, you know, it's just basically gettin' people to get into it. And by the third song, I'll tellin' you -- they're into it. This band is just... I've been blessed, man, three times with really good, charming musicians, and I've been lucky, you know? So, really, what else can I say? I'm still around!
RO: It's been a very eventful year for Kill Devil Hill, obviously, but it's also been an active year for Pantera, or at least the catalogue. The 20th anniversary edition of Vulgar Display of Power was released, along with a new single from that era, "Piss."
RO: What do you think it is about that album that has made it such a landmark in the history of heavy metal?
RB: Well, number one, it was a breakthrough record for metal, you know? What we were doing then, nobody was doing, and it's just one of those magical records where everything flowed.
To me, it's like, I'd try to go to bed, and I just had so much adrenaline that I couldn't wait to wake up the next day to go to the studio. And you gotta remember, we had just played almost 300 dates the year before with Cowboys, and we were just coming up with all this brand-new, incredible-sounding stuff, you know?
Metallica had just done the black record, and it kind of left a hole in where we were heading, you know, or where the genre was heading. They went with a softer sound. And I love that record, by the way -- I didn't at the time!
So we found a little hole, and we decided, "Well, look, let's make this thing the best that we can," but it really just came so natural. It's just one of those things that you can't put your hands on or actually touch. It's just one of those feelings, you know?