Rex Brown is Ready to Talk About the Rise and Fall of Pantera

Pick up a copy of Official Truth 101 Proof: The Inside Story of Pantera at any local bookstore or online at Amazon. Rex will be signing copies of the book at Barnes & Noble on Northwest Highway in Dallas on Tuesday night, March 19, at 7:00 p.m.

Back in the Nineties, Panetra rocked venue after venue, jamming with legendary bands such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Slayer. The Southern boys were known for their crushing Texas blues metal sound. Each mind-blowing show sent fans into a mosh pit that erupted bodies. Jack Daniels, Mexican cigarettes and strippers were after party condiments. Night after night, it was a Texas-sized party until the stress of touring and an overabundance of drugs and alcohol threatened to separate the band.

In July 1996, Pantera arrived in Dallas in support of The Great Southern Trendkill. It was hotter than hell outside. Excessive heat advisories scrolled across TV screens throughout the metro area. Sixty miles to the north, bikers prepared for the Hotter N Hell Hundred event. Nine elderly people died from the heat wave. The band's new album had just hit the airwaves in May and another grueling tour was under way.

After the show, it still felt like 118 degrees. It was one of those days where roadies dropped like dominoes as heat exhaustion descended on the weary crew. And it was the first explanation that came to drummer Vinnie Paul Abbot's mind as he watched lead singer Phil Anselmo turning five shades of blue on his dressing room floor. Bassist Rex Brown, however, knew better. Something weird had been going down in the singer's dressing room before the show. Strange glassy-eyed people lingering in the shadows. One guy in particular doing this "head shuffle thing."

When his sister called him after the show with the news of Phil's overdose, Rex wanted to "beat the living shit" out of him. A disc jockey had announced it earlier on the radio: "Philip Anselmo, singer with the rock band Pantera, has overdosed on heroin." The singer's dark secret was finally revealed.

In 2003, when Pantera disbanded, the metal community felt the rippling effect as Phil and the Abbot Brothers voiced their frustrations through various media outlets: "...aside from the other band which I ain't ever doin' nothin' with again," Phil said in an interview with Absolute Metal. "The next thing I know," Vinnie Paul said in a Revolver interview, "he's off doing DOWN with Rex and talking shit about us."

The media war that ensued rivaled Lennon and McCartney. Phil versus the Abbot Brothers. But as the gloves came off, Rex stood on the sidelines and watched his former bandmates, his friends, his family destroy each other with words and miscommunication. He never got involved. He stayed out of the press. Then one cold winter night a year later, a psychotic fan stopped the argument when he shot and killed Dimebag Darrel, who was touring with his and his brother's new band Damageplan.

It's been 10 years since Dime's death, and Rex is now ready to tell his side of the story and bring the final chapter to this metal band tragedy to a close in his new autobiography Official Truth: 101 Proof, The Inside Story of Pantera. "If it was up to me, it would have been a 1,000 pages long," Rex explains. "How do you put 20 years of your life in 300 pages? It's kind of hard to do."

Writing from the first person, Rex takes readers into the familiar world of the Rock Star, where rivers of whiskey flow like cash pouring into the band members' bank accounts. It's the turning point of Pantera's success. What the fuck are we going to do with it? is the question on the Southern boys' minds. "Dude, I've got more money than God" is some of the admittedly "stupid shit" Rex would say and think, although he would later learn that the road costs more than he ever expected.

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Christian McPhate is an award-winning journalist who specializes in investigative reporting. He covers crime, the environment, business, government and social justice. His work has appeared in several publications, including the Dallas Morning News, the Fort Worth Star Telegram, the Miami Herald, San Antonio Express News and The Washington Times.

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