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Rex Brown – Bass for Down, Pantera

Date: 9/1/10
Interviewed By: Rich Catino


1. The 20th Anniversary Edition of Pantera’s "Cowboys From Hell" has just been released. Is there any pro shot concert footage that could come out on DVD?

REX: Yeah, we have all kinds of stuff that we are going to put out. There is so much footage. There was the Cowboys From Hell: The Videos VHS which had some concert footage and backstage antics and that stuff was included on the 3 Vulgar Videos from Hell DVD. So now that it is 20 years since the release of "Cowboys" we will have all kinds of stuff coming out for the younger fans who never got to see the band back then and for the diehards.

2. Several songs on the "Power Metal" album from 1988 were a sign of what was to come for "Cowboys From Hell". Did the band know that the album "Cowboys From Hell" would be a new beginning?

REX: Yeah, we had it all planned out after Phil (Anselmo – vocals) joined the band in 1986, in 1987-88 we did "Power Metal". After we started writing songs for "Cowboys" and that’s why its kinda cool to know have all those demos on the "Cowboys: 20th Anniversary Edition" because you can hear different things than what is on the actual album. At this point we knew this was the direction we wanted to take the band, it was time to put a little chance on the table too because the first four Pantera albums are different than what we became on "Cowboys". But it was the right place at the right time. "Power Metal" was the first record with Phil singing.

3. Was the unreleased song, ‘The Will To Survive’, now included on the 20th Anniversary Edition of "Cowboys From Hell" suppose to be on a previous album or on "Cowboys"?

REX: I think it was written between "Power metal" and "Cowboys". What we did was gave a bunch of demos to Monte Connor and he called our management because he knew we were doing something with the 20th anniversary of "Cowboys" and said he had this extra track, the guys probably won’t even remember it. When I first heard it I forgot all about this tune, It’s interesting because Phil is still in that upper range, its more melodic, but the song still kicks and has that drive.

4. What are your favorite songs on "Cowboys From Hell"?

REX: O man, looking back I think the whole record is just one big explosive fuck, really. 20 years later I still think the record holds up on a whole. I don’t want to pick and choose between the songs. It’s just an awesome record and you have an opportunity to get a nice set with all the live songs and demos.

5. Do you prefer any of the demo versions included on the 20th Anniversary over the finished ones?

REX: No because Terry Date (producer) really pushed us for excellence. There are some interesting intros Dimebag did on those demos but decided to do a ball out record. I definitely like the finished versions.

6. What is your most memorable moment from that time period of Pantera?

REX: Just the hunger we had and determination because by this point after releasing four albums independently we had been told no by 28 labels and now we finally had our foot in the door with a major record label and there was no way we were gonna fuck that up. And we toured 300 dates on that album with very little time off and then we went straight into the studio to record "Vulgar Display Of Power", and we spent a little more time on record "Vulgar", but that was the defining Pantera moment, "Vulgar", and we can talk about that next time when the 20th Anniversary Edition comes out of that.

7. What do you think made Dimebag Darrell’s playing so unique?

REX: He really used the blues as a tool, and you can hear that on ‘The Will To Survive’, its got some real tasty bluesy licks. And he was also playing around ‘the box” which is just around 12 notes that are real tasty, and then he could also rip your heard off. So having both those characteristics really made his playing unique. He would play in "the box" a lot and then just rip and that would be in a different mode, he knew every little thing about the guitar. Like the original riff from ‘Cowboys From Hell’ was in "the box" but metal style.

8. Have you spoke to Vinnie Paul (drums for Pantera/Damage Plan/Hellyeah) lately?

REX: No, we haven’t spoke in a while.

9. What are you currently working on?

REX: Right now I’m mixing this new project I have called Arms Of The Sun, we got a full band going, it’s really good shit. It’s a side project for now but we will see where it goes. I’m also doing something with Vinnie Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio) we have like six songs, my neighbor has a nice studio and I play bass on the songs Vinnie sends me. For now it’s a project too, I just take it day by day.

10. Still working with Phil and Down?

REX: Yeah, we have about three songs done that we dig and what we are gonna do is release them in bundles, 6 or 3-4 at a time, and all the artwork will eventually turn into the cover of a record. It’s all about marketing, if you put out something for $6.99 its a lot easier for a kid to get a hold of that then having to wait for a full record.

Official website: http://www.pantera.com


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