PANTERA - THE COWBOYS FROM HELL
"Hangovers hurt every now and then, but what do you do? Throw a couple more doubles back!"
Pantera was formed by brothers "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott (guitar) and Vinnie Paul Abbott (drums) alongside Terry Lee Glaze (vocals) and Rex "Rocker" Brown (bass). The Dallas-based band early in their career adopted an aggressive new musical direction of hardened thrash, which saw Pantera become one of the major artists in the heavy metal community. Later, enjoying platinum sales and a number one Billboard album. Their musical innovations inspired a generation of "metalheads" to keep on rocking.
Pantera (Spanish for panther) was formed in 1981, and was soon playing gigs around the Dallas club scene. performing sets of Van Halen/Kiss covers. At their first show, Dimebag Darrell reportedly sported an Ace Frehley tattoo and Kiss-emblazoned guitars. Pantera quickly became cult favorites on the underground metal scene in Dallas, opening shows for Stryper, Dokken and Quiet Riot. Pantera formed "Metal Magic" in 1983 and released an album of the same title. During this time the band wasn't making much money, but they were surviving. They next recorded 'Projects In The Jungle', their second album, a record which contained more of their melodic influences. Then a third album was recorded, 'I Am The Night', produced by Jerry Abbott, the father of Darrell and Vince, at Pantego Studios.
After the release of these projects they finally started to receive critical acclaim - however, they were still suffering from poor distribution. Many fans were forced to pay extortionate import prices for the latest album, consequently the album struggled to sell 25,000 copies. Soon after "I Am The Night" was released, vocalist Terry Lee Glaze (aka Terry Lee) exited the band to form Lord Tracy. A series of vocalists followed, including Matt L'Amour, and David Peacock. Pantera emerged a year later fronted by Louisiana native Phil Anselmo. Despite finding a new vocalist, Pantera continued to have problems. Their new record label, Gold Mountain, was trying desperately to make the band more commercial. Pantera responded with "Power Metal" and negotiated for a release on their own Metal Magic label.
Negotiations with Atco Records came about 3 years later when Pantera re-emerged with a radical change in musical direction. Pantera's "Cowboys From Hell" album was an instant classic in 1990. The new release was full of intensity. The "Cowboys From Hell" tour opened in Texas with Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies. Pantera later the same year performed their first European shows. For two years the toured and recorded material for "A Vulgar Display Of Power" which was released in 1992. This album silenced all critics and established Pantera as one of the top metal bands in the world.
Pantera relentlessly toured and recorded again, releasing "Far Beyond Driven" in 1994. The album eventually reached the no. 1 position in the Billboard charts. In South America shows were conducted to near ecstatic sold out crowds. The band even made an appearance at the prestigious "Monsters Of Rock" in the UK. In May of 1994, the single "5 Minutes Alone" was released. The band also contributed to the soundtrack of the cult-classic movie "The Crow".
In 1996, "The Great Southern Trendkill" was released. While on the Trendkill tour, Phil Anselmo overdosed on heroin after a show in Dallas. He was soon revived in the back of an ambulance.
In 2000, Anselmo became involved in numerous side projects, but found time to record "Reinventing The Steel" an album that was planned to return them to the "Cowboy" era. Pantera got to business in early 2001 touring to promote the new album. Following a batch of American headliners winding up in Anchorage, Alaska the band struck out to Seoul in Korea prior to Australian gigs.
Following the September 11th terrorist attacks Pantera pulled out of the tour. Toward the close of the year Anselmo seemingly disconnected from the band with side projects. Paul and Darrell pursued other side activities, including recording with David Allen Coe. The band officially broke up late in 2003. A public argument ensued between Darrell and Anselmo on the reason for the split. Anselmo started a new band "Superjoint Ritual", while Vince and Darrel formed "Damageplan". Throughout 2004 fans noticed a cooling of the feud between Anselmo and the Abbotts - leading to speculation of a Pantera reunion.
On December 8th 2004, tragedy ruined hopes of a reunion. Damageplan had just started their set with the song 'New Found Power' at the Alrosa Villa club in Columbus, Ohio. A gunman, 23 year old Nathan Gale, got onto the stage and shot guitarist Dimebag Darrell with a Beretta 9 mm semiautomatic handgun a number of times at