Dimebag Darrell: Cra-Z-Boy
To celebrate the release of Pantera’s first new album in four years, Guitar World hustles down to Texas and talks with Dimebag Darrell. After a night of booze, broads and badass rock, this is what we remember.
“Come on, dude!” shouts Dimebag Darrell. “We’ve got steaks to eat, booze to drink, and tits to see.”
For the last hour Dimebag has been hanging in a Hilton suite, answering a continuous barrage of questions about Pantera’s new album, Reinventing the Steel. It’s been four long years since Pantera’s last studio effort and there has been a lot of catching up to do, but it’s a Saturday night, Guitar World is in town, and new adventures are waiting to be had.
In what seems like only seconds later, we’re speeding down a freeway on the outskirts of Dallas in a swank SUV, heading toward Dimebag’s pad. Dime pulls out a freshly mastered CD of songs from the new album, pops it in the player and cranks up the volume. Although he did a pretty good job of describing the intensity of the tunes earlier in the evening, his commentary can’t compare with the sensation of listening to the album at 120 dB while cruising at 100 m.p.h.
A four-year hiatus can be dangerous for many bands, but Pantera fans can rest assured that the band has not mellowed with age—they haven’t done anything foolish like cut off their hair or discover the “genius” of Andrew Lloyd Weber. Although the definition of metal has changed in Pantera’s absence, the band is back to show everyone how a heavy rock record is supposed to sound. “We’re the full-meal deal,” says Dimebag. “This album is fresh and updated, but it’s still us. It’s full of fuckin’ lead guitar playing, lead singing, drumming up the ass, bass lines that walk and move you, and songs, man, songs. We’re reinventing the steel.”
By the time we pull into the Bat Cave–like secret entrance to Dime’s digs, our brains and bodies have been numbed by songs like “Hellbound,” “Goddamn Electric” and “Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit.” Inside the house, Dimebag gives the CD a second spin, and it sounds even more ominous on his home system. The low end of Rex’s bass and Vinnie Paul’s machine-gun drums rumble like a sonic boom, Phil Anselmo’s screaming vocals sound menacing and energized, and Dimebag’s guitar wails, chunks and roars. Reinventing the Steel is the first studio album that the Pantera boys have produced on their own, but even without their longtime producer Terry Date behind the desk, they’ve managed to outdo themselves.
The beer is poured, the steaks are served, and now it’s time for more entertainment. Anyone familiar with Pantera’s long-form videos knows that Dime is pretty handy with a camcorder. It is in fact rumored that his rowdy backstage footage of the band had a profound influence on Steven Speilberg’s bloody battle scenes in Saving Private Ryan. But little prepared us for the guitarist’s self-produced and directed opus, Y2Gaines.
As Dimebag pops the video into his VCR he explains that “Y2Gaines is a moving story about a father who searches for milk for his baby boy, Clim.” The father is played by a striking fellow with unusually green teeth, and Clim is a plastic doll that sports a crude hand-painted goatee. As you might guess, the boy and his pappy have no trouble finding any number of ladies, who are more than ready, willing and able to deliver the milk.