By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Vulgar display: Every weird organization in America tries to claim an official month, so we could not care less that May is National Bike Month, National Military Appreciation Month, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month or, according to VH1, "metal month." But VH1 is doing more than roll out shitty Skid Row videos for 31 days; they're debuting some interesting episodes of Behind the Music, and that means hometown slammers Pantera finally get the episode their crazy-ass career deserves.
You can't ask for more appropriate BtM subject matter--booze, heroin, the notorious murder of Dimebag Darrell Abbott, drinking a whole lot of "black tooth grin"--but Christ almighty, the video footage of the Columbus, Ohio, murder is chilling. Not that the Spandex-laden footage of Pantera's early hair-metal days isn't frightening, either, as is the following onstage sentiment from egomaniac Phil Anselmo: "I've got a big fucking mouth and a big cock, so take your fucking choice." Uh, third option, please? Oddly, the drama isn't enough to keep the episode interesting the whole way through--prepare to sit through a lot of Pantera back-patting between the worthwhile bits. (If you miss reruns on VH1, search for the episode on YouTube.com before it gets taken down.)
Drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott has made the best of the attention, releasing Rebel Meets Rebel on his new label, Big Vin Records. The project's a collaboration between the non-Anselmo members of Pantera (one of Dimebag's final projects) and... David Allan Coe? Strangely, the balance between good-ol'-boy country and shit-kickin' metal comes off pretty naturally, but the target audience is as blatant as the album cover, full of flames, eagles, chains, a bottle of whiskey and a giant Confederate flag. A DVD dedicated to Dimebag has also seen release from BVR: Dimevision Volume 1: That's the Fun I Have.
This is the last Spitfire show for the summer: "To be quite honest, we need a break," guitarist Kody Jackson says via e-mail. "The guys need some time to focus on their real bands [Record Hop, Super Love Attack, Current Leaves, etc.] and frankly, we really just want to spend the summer at BBQs and chili cookoffs drinkin' beer." Fair enough, guys, but we get nervous whenever a band we like announces a hiatus. Y'all better be back after Labor Day. Have a good summer. KIT.