In the April/May issue of Revolver, former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo, bassist Rex Brown and drummer Vinnie Paul talked about the upcoming reissue of Far Beyond Driven and what it was like in the band at that time. Hard to believe it was this bad in the band a full nine years before they called it quits! Not that things got better from there on out and then they broke up in 2003 over something else… Pantera was a shit show for a long time, apparently. Paul said Anselmo was hardly cooperative with the band at that point and pretty much wanted to be left alone.
"When we went on the road, that's when the wheels started coming off and people didn't know what other people were doing. Phil had his own bus. Things started turning into what they turned into in the end.
"Phil started isolating himself from the rest of us. It got to the point where we wouldn't see each other until about 20 or 30 minutes before showtime. You never knew if he was going to be in a shitty mood or a good mood. You just hoped it was good enough to get through the show. That's truly where some of the shows started lacking. They weren't as good as they used to be, and he would start his rants and go on for 20 minutes while we stood around and looked at him, like, 'What the fuck are you saying to these people, dude? They want to hear us play some songs. Let's play some music.'"
Anselmo gives a little more of an explanation, saying it was because of his back pain and just feeling like hell over the band situation, which makes a lot more sense than Paul's placing the blame.
"The touring was really a mixed bag for me. The [chronic back] pain was intense, but the thrill was still there much of the time, and when I was onstage, that part of it I enjoyed very much. But during this time, I was drinking an entire bottle of Wild Turkey every night before a show to numb the pain I was experiencing.
"I felt trapped, man. I felt lost even trying to explain to the guys in my band, who were so used to seeing Superman up onstage, that I was not Superman anymore. I felt like a trapped animal, honestly. I felt cornered and very confused.
"The words that would come out of my mouth [while we were on stage] were abrasive. I was lashing out at other bands when I really had no business mentioning other bands during a Pantera show. I was going slowly insane throughout the touring of this record, whether it be from pills, alcohol, or the mental stress from carrying around the chronic pain along with the addiction."
A special 20th anniversary edition of Far Beyond Driven comes out tomorrow. Pre-order on Amazon.com.