A Not-So-Vulgar Discussion of Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power

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In honor of the recent 20th anniversary reissue of Pantera's Vulgar Display of Power, two music writers sat around a kitchen table and talked about it. One is clearly older than the other one.

Eric Grubbs: When that record came out in 1992, what do you remember, aside from grunge and Nirvana being big?

Darryl Smyers: Oh, I remember laughing about it when it came out because everyone called it groove metal. Even today, I laughed when I read that the album set the stage for Korn, so that means we should deduct three points from it already. I thought - going from Iggy Pop to Black Flag - all good music, whether punk rock or metal, supposedly had a groove to it. But Pantera's early stuff was pretty crappy and I don't think it had a groove to it. The big turnaround was when Phil [Anselmo, vocals] joined the band. By that album, they weren't afraid to do a ballad, and the ballad was a good one. That was '92; I was just coming back to Dallas from living overseas in Korea, so I was kinda late on Nirvana.

Since my wife went to high school with one of the guys in the band, I was like, "Oh no, not Pantera, aren't they some kind of metal cover band from Arlington?" So many little tidbits about the album are funny: It wasn't Dimebag Darrell, it was Diamond Darrell. That was the last album he was credited as Diamond Darrell. Another funny thing I had forgotten about was that the cover photo was some guy they paid $10 to get hit in the face and they had to pay him $300 because it took 30 punches to get the thing right. But I remember hearing the record and liking it more than anything else Pantera had done or since. That was easily the high point for them.

EG: Nirvana definitely opened up a lot of doors for me. I was born in '79, so I was too young to understand Black Flag, but I remember reading in skateboarding magazines about Suicidal Tendencies and The Cult, knowing there were other styles of rock out there, but when I saw the "Walk" video on Headbangers Ball, it showed me that there could be much more aggressive styles of music out there. And I especially remember "Fucking Hostile" being the first song title I knew with a curse word in it. It was like your older brother's rock music, but in a good way. I didn't have an older brother; I had an older sister, but it seemed like guys who were my age who had older brothers were into Pantera. There was a band in Kingwood that covered "Cemetery Gates" and they were very into Vulgar Display of Power. That was my first impression of it. All these years later, I don't think that record has been topped.

DS: Oh, no. That was around the same time that you didn't refer to the band as an Arlington band; it was then a Dallas band after that. The Dallas metal scene has never been the high watermark of metal scenes from across the United States. That's funny you say that about the curse word, because it was the first Pantera album to get the parental advisory sticker. I came to Pantera kinda late. I'm a little older than you, so in '82, I was listening to Black Flag, Minor Threat, Bad Brains and Hüsker Dü, and to me, even as powerful as Vulgar Display of Power sounded, it still sounded more polished than what I was listening to. They sold two million albums. I mean, Black Flag, you just don't sell music unless it's a little slicker than what they did early on. At first when I heard Pantera, and I was getting out of high school, it was kind of a joke. A bunch of Arlington metalheads who were aping Metallica, Slayer, or the bands du jour at the time with that horrible double-bass drumming.

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EG: Whatever!

DS: I remember hearing this one and thinking, "Oh, they're gonna be big." Arguably, the biggest Dallas band. You could think Edie Brickell, but of hard music.That might be the biggest single album to come out of our area.

EG: I think between Cowboys from Hell and Vulgar Display of Power, Vulgar is more influential. Cowboys was heavier than their independently-released albums. It was their second record with Phil Anselmo singing very clearly, but then on Vulgar everything is so much heavier. The songs are incredibly pissed off. What I've always appreciated about Pantera is that they didn't distance themselves from where they came from. They didn't move to L.A. to be cool, they stayed where they were, even if it might have been uncool to the rest of the world.

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28 comments
Big Jim
Big Jim

O.K., I shouldn't have  knocked Dimebag D. since he's not part of this brilliant dialogue so I take back what I called him.

Big Jim
Big Jim

Wow, impressive Googling skills. Ya got me reeeeeeal good on that, thar Gaddabout zinger. I'll have to revert to tactic #2 (the secret weapon), by telling you that Skynyrd is my ALL TIME favorite band.  Now, be a good little unoriginal metal-boy and bring on the "Skynyrd-are-imbred-hicks-who-sleep-with-their-sisters-and-only-play-the-local-county-fair-jokes. P.S., Stay classy with those Carter Albrecht jokes, (once again, excellent Googling, my little metalheaded friend), and remember that I could've said some really nasty things about Douchbag Daryl.

big jim
big jim

Buh-bye.

Timetomoveon
Timetomoveon

Down(Anselmo's current band) just played Warehouse Live in Houston. According to the venue's site capacity is 1500.

Brickell's current band-- the Gaddabouts are apparently playing... nowhere.

Her career is about as dead as Carter Albrecht.

just sayin'
just sayin'

Timetomoveon, if you say something bad about tripping daisy next, you will have officially blasphemed all of the observers musical sacred cows.

just sayin'
just sayin'

Dude, you are fucking funny. You bring up shit from the New Bohemians one semi-hit wonder days from 1988 like it means shit now. Its pretty simple. If Edie Brickell and the New Bohemians reunited and went on tour, they would be lucky to sell out the Kessler. If Dime was still alive, Pantera could reunite and sell out whatever Starplex is called these days. And that is home town stats. Pantera would play big venues all over the world while no one in South America or Europe would even know who Edie was. So thank you, good night, and suck my dick you fucking moron.

Timetomoveon
Timetomoveon

Compare Phil Anselmo's current career to Edie Brickell's current career. Wait.. there is no comparison because Edie Brickell has no career.

big jim
big jim

I used to wash my hair with Pantera, unless I'm thinking of something else.

Big J.
Big J.

I prefer Edie Brickell to Pantera.

Ted
Ted

This is the most misleading and shitty article I have ever read. Two pillow biters sitting around wondering who is going to get the reach around. Fuck Off

Darrylrs
Darrylrs

Pilow biters! I love it. But I really don't want a reach around from Eric. Maybe Vinnie Paul can do it for me.

just sayin'
just sayin'

Maybe Vinnie can fuck you in the ass and jerk you off at the same time? Wow.

Oh, and here is a clip of Avenged Sevenfold doing "Mouth for War" with Vinnie on drums. It was kinda hard to find, though. It was buried in a bunch of videos of Avenged covering "Walk". I believe the singer said something about growing up and idolizing Pantera. He didnt mention fashion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

I swear dude. You are like the Edie Brickell of music writers.

Timetomoveon
Timetomoveon

"I swear dude. You are like the Edie Brickell of music writers."

So fucking funny

Timetomoveon
Timetomoveon

Edie Brickell: About 1,440,000 results

The New Bohemians: About 817,000 results

Pantera: About 55,400,000 results

Mervis
Mervis

Vinnie is on this week's episode of That Metal Show on VH1. Pretty good show.

I remember when Pantara played Ozzfest in the early Aughts and the stories you heard were that all the other bands would head to the mainstage when they came on. They were the band that everybody wanted to see.

Also remember the tour with the original Black Sabbath at Reunion. The boys just killed it that night and then Sabbath came on and they were great but it was such a letdown, energy level wise.

just sayin'
just sayin'

"Surprisingly, a lot of the new metal bands throw back old school stuff. They don't really mention Pantera. If they do mention them, it's more a fashion thing"

Wow. Somebody clearly doesnt listen to much metal. All you have to do is listen to hear the legacy of Pantera.

Shirtbutt
Shirtbutt

On one hand, it is a local paper. On the other hand, you're right. I said  "Like Edie Brickell but out of hard music" out loud, it made me chuckle. Maybe that's what he was going for.

Timetomoveon
Timetomoveon

It's a local paper that for some reason can't stop sucking the dicks and pussies of irrelevant self important gas bags in their 50s that no one is interested in.

Timetomoveon
Timetomoveon

Jesus fucking christ-- why the fuck are you talking about Edie Brickell in an article about Pantera? You just can't help yourself can you?

NO ONE. Let me repeat that: NO ONE outside of Dallas(or even in Dallas except for some dinosaurs writing for this magazine) and Paul Simon gives a shit about Edie Brickell. 

And your comparison is baseless. "Like Edie Brickell but out of hard music" No. Edie Brickell was some 1 half hit wonder outside of Dallas. 

Pantera sold more vastly more records and tickets across the world.

Big J.
Big J.

////////"Pantera sold more vastly more records and tickets across the world.///////

Yes, paid for by mommy and daddy. Do ALL Pantera fans spell like drunk 10 year olds?

Big J.
Big J.

Wrong, She had a top 10 hit (unlike Panters) and a top 40 hit (Circle). As for Pantera having 50,000,000 "hits"? Well, how many things and corporations are named "Pantera"? Pantera cars and Pantera car parts add another 20,000,000 to the hit list. Leave Edie alone...not only little kids listen to music..the adults need music, too.

Mervis
Mervis

The road is littered with bands that had a #10 hit and flamed out.

big jim
big jim

George Harrison asked Edie Brickell and New Bohemians to open his shows, so did Tom Petty, Edie eventually settled on The Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia would watch the band while sitting in a chair on the stage), then they finished the year by opening for Bob Dylan. Not bad for a band that "flamed out". I assume Pantera has opened for their heroes "KISS", by now?

just sayin'
just sayin'

....and Pantera's "Far Beyond Driven" debuted at #1 on the billboard chart. They have 4 platinum records. But you got me on the Steve Martin thing. Nobody in Pantera ever recorded a banjo album with Steve Martin that nobody will ever hear or purchase.

Big jim
Big jim

///////? a banjo album with Steve Martin that nobody will ever hear or purchase.////////

And Justin Bieber has sold more CDs  then Pantera and Winger (another peer of Panteras) combined...success by numbers, huh? Pantera has never won a Grammy for any of THEIR albums but Steve Martin HAS ...by plucking that little ol' banjar (sic) that "nobody ever hears.

Big J.
Big J.

"Pantera" A typo, just to calm you down.

Gall87896
Gall87896

Steve Martin "has heard" of Edie Brickell...they're recording a CD together. Douche.

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