From the Archive: Pantera's Dimebag Darrell Discusses Opening for Black Sabbath and His Signature Randall Amps
Here's a quick interview with Dimebag Darrell of Pantera from the February 1999 issue of Guitar World.
"I’m ready to play, man. I’ve been home long enough -- it's time to get out there and kick some ass again!"
Dimebag Darrell is busting. The Pantera guitarist has just received confirmation that he and his bandmates will be supporting Black Sabbath on Sabbath's upcoming U.S. tour -- a monster thrill for Dimebag, an admitted Sabbath fanatic. "Opening for those guys is definitely the honor of a lifetime," says the goateed guitarist.
After laying low for much of last year, Pantera is looking forward to a more active 1999. Once their cross-country trek with Sabbath concludes, the Texas tornados plan to enter Dimebag's personal studio to begin recording the follow-up to 1996's The Great Southern Trendkill.
Meanwhile, on the guitar gear front, Dimebag is putting the finishing touches on his new signature line of Randall amplifiers. "My goal is to get it to where it is the most out-of-control amp you can buy," he says. "When you plug in, it'll blow your brains out -- that's my guarantee!"
Recently, Guitar World managed to pin down the tattooed wild man just long enough to get the skinny on some of his Pantera-related activities, and to learn exactly what the band has in store for the year ahead.
GUITAR WORLD: You must be excited to be touring with Black Sabbath.
Man, I can't wait. It's gonna be awesome just to sit on the side of the stage every night and watch. That's a pure inspirational factor right there.
Pantera recently recorded two Black Sabbath songs, "Hole in the Sky" and "Electric Funeral," to be used as radio singles.
Our first thought was to do an EP of Sabbath tunes, but we decided to deep-six that idea because so many people have covered the Sabs recently. But then we figured, what the fuck? We're going on tour with 'em, let's do a couple of songs just for radio. Hell, who doesn't like to play Black Sabbath tunes!
Rex [bass] and Vinnie Paul [drums] appear with you as Tres Diablos on the recent ECW: Extreme Music compilation album, performing a cover of ZZ Top's "Heard It on the X." How did that come about?
Me and Rex actually traded off vocals, just like Billy and Dusty do in ZZ. "Heard It on the X" is just one of those tunes that always comes on when you 're sitting around drunk, making you think, "Damn, that'd be a kick-ass song to redo sometime." We were down in the studio fuckin' around while we were cutting our last record, and we ended up recording it just for the hell of it. It turned out great, so we just went with it, building on it in our spare time. Then the album offer came along and it seemed right for it.
When do you plan to begin recording a new album?
After the Sabbath tour. I've already got more riffs than I've ever had before writing a record, and I'm sifting through them right now. I'm figuring on numbering 'em so I can go into rehearsal and say, 'Do y'all wanna work on riff 103 today or would you rather dick around with 68?' There's also a load of cool shit that's been hanging around from soundchecks and jams. Philip's [Anselmo, vocals] got some good riffs too, and Riggs [Vinnie] and Rex have ideas as well. I'm really looking forward to this record. We've had a decent break, we know where we're headed and we're gonna make the best Pantera record yet.
Any idea when it might come out?
We ain't gonna put a deadline on it -- it'll be done when it's done. With every record we've ever cut it's always been a "hurry up, we need it yesterday" kinda thing. As a result we've had to live with a few things that we would've done differently if we'd had more time. So it'll be nice not to be under the gun like that this time. We're gonna do this one at our own pace, at my studio, under the influence of booze. [laughs]
I understand you're working with Randall Amplifiers on a new signature series of amps.
Yeah. We've been working on it for a while now, and we're making sure that everything's right about it. I mean, if I'm gonna put my name on it, it's gotta kick major ass. It's got a really good clean channel and the dirty channel has a nine-band graphic EQ, which gives you unlimited shit you can do with your sound. It's also gonna have 18 preset [digital] effects instead of an old reverb knob that nobody uses. All you're gonna need is a guitar and a chord because everything else you need will already be built into it.
The amp is called the Warhead, the 4x12 cab is called the Devastator and there's also a 2x15 cab called the Subsonic Detonator. This rig is louder than a muthafucker, man . The head kicks out over 200 watts -- it's like a PA! So far I'm thrilled with the stuff. We're real close to finalizing it, so watch out, 'cause it's coming!