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Vinnie Paul Answers Difficult Questions About Pantera Breakup, Possibility of Reunion and Dimebag Darrell

Scott Gries, Getty Images / Liz Ramanand, Loudwire
Scott Gries, Getty Images / Liz Ramanand, Loudwire

Hellyeah drummer Vinnie Paul sat down with Shane “Rover” French on Wednesday (July 12) on the show ‘Rover’s Morning Glory’ and was grilled on a number of topics by the radio host, including the breakup and possible reunion of Pantera and the horrific murder of his brother Dimebag Darrell in 2004.

When asked why Pantera broke up in the first place, Paul says, “That’s a good question, because it never became an official thing.”

“The singer [Phil Anselmo] had gone off and done his own thing and it really felt like we were not respected at all,” he says. “He had done it before, but this time it had gone to another level. We felt like that was the end of it and that’s when we started Damageplan. It was time to figure it out and get on the horse and go ride again.”

It was while touring with Damageplan in December of 2004 when Darrell was shot to death right in front of Vinnie Paul by a crazed gunman while performing in Columbus, Ohio. Asked if a concrete reason was ever established as to why the assailant committed the act, Paul says authorities, “Never came to a true conclusion.”

“He definitely had some serious mental issues,” the drummer says. “He had been discharged from the military, he had some disillusions that he had written our lyrics and the band had stolen them from him. We really will never know.”

Paul also says that he doesn’t know if the killer’s family ever reached out to him. “If they did, I don’t recall, and I didn’t know them to start with, so, it’s just better for me to deal with my loss on my own.”

Asked about Anselmo having said negative things about Darrell that were indirectly responsible for his murder, Paul says, “I’m just gonna say I have no comment on any of that, man. I’m beyond Pantera. I’ve done so many other things with my life since then; I always believe if you live in the past, you have no future. So, man, I’m happy doing what I do with Hellyeah, and I’m gonna leave it at that man”

Acknowledging that he typically doesn’t get into the topic of his brother’s death these days, Paul says, “I’ve just learned to deal with it man. I don’t think that … first of all, I don’t even talk about this anymore, so you’re really digging deep here man. It’s just something … you never learn to accept the loss of someone that you really love and you just learn to how to deal with it, and that’s kind of where I’ve been.”

A couple years after Darrell’s murder, Paul returned to music with Hellyeah in 2006. He says playing live was, in the beginning, “pretty difficult.”

“I really had to focus on the music and keep a conscious thought of what I was doing right then and right there and not let my mind go where it was or back to that moment [of Darrell’s murder],” Paul says. “As I’ve gone along with this, it really has gone back to just feeling very natural and something I really love doing and you know, I never really think about that incident or something like that possibly happening again. I do walk in and make sure I know where the exits are and that kind of stuff whereas I’d never done that before – but I do that when I go to the Cowboys’ games. I definitely want to make sure I know the ins and outs – just in case. You never know.”

“I told myself if I was ever gonna do it again, I was gonna approach it fearless just like I had always done before. I wasn’t going to go into it looking over my back or my shoulder. That being said, every precaution that could possibly be made to make sure that there’s not any loony-bins, terrorists this or that or the other trying to get into the venue is taken care of. Security is really to another level. It’s an inconvenience for everybody…but today it’s a necessity to protect one another.”

One of the prime motivations for Paul to continue was to honor Darrell’s legacy, he says.

“I felt like he was pattin’ me on the back telling me this is what you gotta do, you gotta keep going, you gotta carry the torch. That was part of my driving force from the beginning, was just knowing that I didn’t want to let him down. Now I’m living for both of us. He would kick my ass if I would’ve just wasted away or just gave up and did something else.”

Despite embracing music again, Vinnie remains adamant that there will be no reunion of Pantera in any respect. Asked by the interviewer, “We can safely assume that under no circumstances would former members of Pantera get together and…”

“That’s a pretty damn good assumption,” answered Vinnie.

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