Pantera fans are nothing, if not passionate. More on that in a moment. The surviving members, Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown reportedly have signed with Artist Group international, and will reconvene as "Pantera," with as yet unidentified replacement players stepping in for the late "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and Vinnie Paul, who many fans consider the heart and soul of the band.
While a stretch, I really don't have a problem with the two remaining guys going out as Pantera, it's not like it's unprecedented. And Pantera has had a whole bunch of guys in the band over the years since their formation in the early 80's. If they want to avoid all the negativity they seem to be generating, do what the ex-Yes members did in the late 80's... "Phil Anselmo & Rex Brown present an evening of Pantera Music." Bing-Bango case closed, everyone's happy...
Bands and family's break-up, people die. It's unfortunate, and there's always that sense of loss felt, but life goes on for everyone else. I say let these guys make a living. It's tough enough for musicians these days, and I'll bet both these guys could use an injection of funds. You don't want to support it? That's your right, but don't speak for "Dimebag" and Vinnie. I'm sure they'd want their former comrades to get out there and play for as many people as possible.
While we're on the subject of Pantera. I have an amazing story from the mid 90's. At the time, I was the Program Director of WRCN, and we were the "Hard Rock" station on Long Island, and at that time, about to make our move into the upper echelon of NYC Metro stations with a signal boost and our sponsorship of the NY Islanders. WRCN, was playing the current Pantera single, their cover of Black Sabbath's "Planet Caravan" and Pantera was playing a sold-out show at Nassau Coliseum. Elektra Records had arranged a post-show autograph session at a local Rock Club, The Roxy Music Hall, which was about 20 minutes from the concert. Slam-Dunk right? Not so fast.
Pantera were scheduled to hit the club right after their show. My good friend and Music Director Kevin, and I believe my morning partner "Sam-3" (Michelle Muller Janosek) were handling the signing on site, and Mark Snider (Dee's brother, and a total pro) was representing Elektra Records. Shortly before midnight, I get a call from Kevin, who tells me, "Snider just called, and Pantera can't make it. This place is packed, the bands are almost done, what do you want me to do. The crowd is already getting impatient." I quickly got in touch with Mark Snider, who told me that the band was "in no condition" to be out in public, and there was NO WAY he could get them to the club without a major incident. I told him, without Pantera at Roxy Music Hall, my Music Director was going to be dealing with a major incident, and might not get out alive. It didn't matter, Pantera was NOT coming to the Roxy Music Hall.
Kevin bravely stepped on stage and delivered the bad news. Pantera couldn't make it, the band was a wreck after their show...sorry, we'll give you a rain check. Well naturally, that went over about as well as a fart in church, and Kevin had to be escorted out of the club by security, and once out of the club, had to maneuver his way past a mob intent on flipping over the station van. He did manage to escape unscathed. Kevin is about 6'5 and at the time a rock-solid 250 lbs, and not too many people messed with him. If I had been there, I would have been killed for sure.
But the bad news wasn't over. The owner of the Roxy Music Hall, a guy named Frank Cariola, who had previously run the legendary Sundance night club, took a full page, back page ad in the local music paper "Good Times" In that ad he named Kevin and myself "Co-Assholes of the Month" for botching the Pantera signing. I wish I still had a copy of that ad....Anyone?
So, my advice, tread lightly among those Pantera fans. It may be 30 years later, but they're apparently still pissed!