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Pantera, ‘Vulgar Display of Power’: Phil Anselmo Reminisces on the Album’s 20th Anniversary (EXCLUSIVE)

Joe Giron

This year marked the 20th anniversary for Pantera‘s Vulgar Display of Power, one of the most influential heavy metal album of all time. Recorded by singer Phil Anselmo, guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, bassist Rex Brown and drummer Vinnie Paul, the album has been certified double platinum by the RIAA and features several of the group’s most iconic songs including “Walk,” “Mouth for War,” “This Love,” and “Fucking Hostile.”

In honor of this, on May 15 Rhino is releasing a two-disc Deluxe Edition of Vulgar Display of Power. The CD includes the original album, remastered, and “Piss,” a recently discovered unreleased track from the recording sessions. The DVD contains a previously unreleased live performance filmed in Italy in September of 1992, plus the three official music videos from the album.

Noisecreep has the pleasure of speaking with Anselmo about the album and the band’s storied legacy.

Phil, what is it about this band that endures like it does?

I don’t know if you saw Pantera back in the day but the way we connected with the audiences was so unique, to say the least. We were just guys that were fans of music, too. So when it came to fans, our stage was their stage and vice versa. Our ace in the hole, I think, was our absolute identity with our audience. Fuck, we had the best audience and we still do!

Watch Pantera’s “Mouth for War” Video
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And the album Vulgar Display of Power – it’s also something that endures. Any thoughts on what is so special about this record?

It’s hard to say. Man, it feels just like yesterday that we did that. Maybe it’s all the anthems on the record. I love that we knew how to do anthems. But time goes so fast. I’d have to say as far as that album, it was just the attitude that we put into it. So much of the shit we put into that record was attitude, just a ton of attitude in the music.

What sort of attitude?

‘Our way or the highway.’ We didn’t care how any other band looked. Metal bands all had long hair. I shaved my head because that felt right. We had a hardcore mentality to do what we wanted how we wanted it done. Sure we had influences – Black Sabbath, Judas Priest – me personally, I loved David Lee Roth on the early Van Halen stuff – he was amazing. But we had our own thing and we stuck to it. We made up our own images – the shaved head, the shorts, the chain wallet – those sorts of things became really popular looks for many other bands – but that was us just being ourselves. Not trying to create some image or attitude, but just us being us. We were a real band that way. We never posed, dude. We were the real fucking deal, every minute of every day and never more than on that record.

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How do you like how Rhino has handled the re-release?

They are the best at this kind of thing. We’re lucky to have them involved.

Watch Pantera’s “Piss” Video

What do you think of the newly unearthed song, “Piss?”

Well, it didn’t make the record for a reason, but it’s still a cool song [laughs]. And it’s great for fans and collectors. I mean, we never left much lying around, we always trimmed most of the fat away, so I’m glad we had at least one stray track. And it reminds me of that time, which I kind of miss. With my band now, sometimes late at night on the bus, we’ll be having a few beers and someone will crank up Vulgar Display of Power and it’s like, you know what? This is still just a great fucking record. It just is, dude.

The Deluxe Edition of Pantera’s Vulgar Display of Power is available for pre-order now via Rhino Records.

Download Pantera Songs | Buy Pantera Albums

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