"These photos have brought back so many memories," former Pantera bassist Rex Brown says, looking at pictures taken from the upcoming coffee-table book A Vulgar Display of Pantera. "It's like half your life right there."
The book, which comes out September 13th and features a foreword by Brown, contains 400 pages of photos by a person Brown calls the "fifth member of the band," Joe Giron. It chronicles each step of the group's history, from its origins as a Texas club band in the mid-Eighties – when singer Terry Glaze was their frontman and guitarist Dimebag Darrell went by Diamond Darrell – to their final tour in 2001 when they were supporting Reinventing the Steel. It presents arresting photos from several turning points in the band's career – including their tours with Skid Row and White Zombie and their performance in Russia just after the fall of communism – and shows their playful side both on and offstage.
The photo above was taken in 1990 on the Santa Monica Pier around the time the group put out its major-label debut, Cowboys From Hell. "We were serious about the music and at other times we were a bunch of cutups," Brown says in reaction to the shot.
"There is myself and one Dimebag Darrell with the tip of my mohawk and his hair entwined as one," says Phil Anselmo looking at the same photo. "At that age we were probably thinking, 'I hope this is the last picture, because it is absolutely Beer:30.'"
Pantera broke up a couple of years after their final tour and brothers Darrell and Vinnie Paul went on to form Damageplan. Darrell was killed onstage during a concert with the latter group in 2004. Now, Anselmo is fronting a number of bands including Down and Scour. Brown is working on a solo album – which he likens musically to Foghat, Tom Waits and Tom Petty – that will feature a number of guests including members of Lynyrd Skynyrd. And Paul is playing drums with Hellyeah.
Here, Anselmo and Brown look back on Pantera's history.