Originally published in the November 6-12, 1996 issue of The River Cities' Reader...
THE SOUNDS: Concert Preview - An Interview with Vinnie Paul, Drummer for PANTERA
PANTERA is a rock band - nothing more, nothing less. In an age when many hard rock and metal bands scramble to gain a foothold in rock culture, PANTERA has stood above most, pushing their aggressive style of music to the forefront, and continuing to play sold-out shows.
"When you come to one of our concerts, come prepared," advised drummer Vinnie Paul in a recent phone interview. "Get ready to rock and roll. It's gonna be a straight-up, full-on rock and roll show. We don't bring lasers. We don't bring video screens. We don't have bombs exploding. It's a rock show, not a 1996 techno-disco. It's PANTERA."
Their latest release, THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL, debuted near the top of the Billboard charts just a few months back. This is a surprisingly impressive feat despite the lack of support for the band from major radio stations and MTV. Just three years ago, if PANTERA created a video, the chances of it being shown on MTV might have been good. But the increasingly competitive and watered down music video market has prompted PANTERA to avoid commercial music videos altogether. "We did one promotional video, 'Drag the Waters,' for this album. Obviously, MTV didn't play it, so it was left for underground video programs. It also did just fine in every other market, but not in the U.S. So, now it seems senseless to keep spending up to $200,000 on a video that is going to end up on a shelf," explained Paul. Senseless it would be, especially since PANTERA fans seem perfectly content with a solid album every few years. Word-of-mouth and strong live performances continue to build PANTERA's loyal following.
Musically, "...TRENDKILL" is PANTERA's most extreme effort to-date, loaded with angry screams and driving rhythms. "Even though it may be our most extreme record, it's also our broadest, added Paul. "I think there are a lot of deep, dark, moody melodic passages on there. And on songs like 'Floods,' there is definitely a sense of uncharacteristic melody."
So what's next for the "Cowboys From Hell?" Paul says that the band will tour through Spring, and that PANTERA's third home video will be available by Christmas. "It'll be footage from this tour and the FAR BEYOND DRIVEN tour. Two and a half to three hours of pure entertainment!" And their next album? "We've got ideas cookin' all the time, but nothing's definite yet."
(PANTERA will perform at The Mark of the Quad Cities next Thursday, November 14, 1996 along with NEUROSIS' visually stimulating hardcore show.)
Bonus: Want another "From the Archives" PANTERA interview? Check out this one from 2010 in which Rex Brown talks COWBOYS FROM HELL.