Rex Brown (Pantera) Shares Tribute To Vinnie Paul

Rex Brown has shared a lengthy tribute he wrote for his late Pantera bandmate Vinnie Paul. You can read that below, courtesy of Rolling Stone. Vinnie Paul passed away on June 22 at the age of 54. An official cause of a death has yet to be revealed, but early reports have suggested his death was the result of a “major heart attack.”

Brown said the following:

“I’ve been devastated, saddened, and shaken, almost beyond words, about the passing of my longtime brother in Pantera, Vincent Paul Abbott.

While I understand and appreciate the desire to hear from me, I have taken my time to collect my thoughts, to begin to process this terrible loss. I’ve chosen to decline the interview requests, because this is not about me. This moment belongs to Vinnie.

I’d like to send out my sincerest and heartfelt condolences to his relatives, to the Pantera family, to his newer family in Hellyeah, and to all of the fans that Vinnie Paul spent his life entertaining. My thoughts and prayers are with every one of you.

I’m especially heartbroken for Vinnie’s father, Jerry Abbott, who opened his studio and showed us the ropes in the early days. No man should have to bury his sons.

All I can do is focus on the great times and the brotherhood the four of us shared.

When I was in junior high, I’d heard of these boys, the Abbotts. I knew Vinnie Abbott was an outstanding drummer. We had met at a UIL contest for lab bands when I was 15. My high school had one of the best music programs in the country. I met Vinnie in tenth grade. I was playing bass and he was playing drums in one of the country’s most prestigious lab bands at the high school level. The lab band was always invited to Montreux Jazz Festival. The music directors were very cool, if you know what I mean.

Vinnie and I formed a really tight bond, as we would have to do sectionals. In these sectionals, they’d put Vinnie and I in a room, but rather than go over the stuff we were supposed to rehearse, we’d play Rush’s 2112 in its entirety instead.

The brothers and I went to every major concert together that came to town. We saw The Eagles, KISS, Pat Travers, Sammy Hagar, etc.

Vinnie’s little brother, Darrell, was by then learning a few chords from their father, who happened to be left-handed. When he was about 14, Darrell got in his room and studied all of the Randy Rhoads stuff on the first two Ozzy Osbourne albums. It changed his life completely. It was so surreal to watch somebody become such a protégé at such a young age. When Darrell emerged, by the age of 15, he’d won every major guitar contest in the Southwest region.

At some point they’d built a stage in their garage. Vinnie had a huge drum set. These guys had the only p.a. system in town, too, with microphones. What a blessing that was:: Around this time I was playing bass and singing in a three-piece band, Neck and the Brewheads. We’d play parties together, where we got paid in free beer and cheap acid. Dime would run sound for us and always arrived with a two-liter of Big Red soft drink and Slim Jim beef jerky, eating those things a half dozen at a time.

The brothers invited me to join their band, Pantera. We made our first album, Metal Magic, before I was 18…Playing Skating rinks to Prom’s to anywhere we could get a gig!! Aww..The exuberance of Youth.

Vinnie and I often went on fishing trips together back then. Even if we were hung over, we’d get up at six in the morning to go catch some fish. We usually went out on this big lake on the Texas/Louisiana border, Toledo Bend. Sometimes we’d go so far we’d get lost, or run out of gas in our little boat and have to paddle in. We even sunk a couple of those boats in our huge city lake and would have to swim to the shore.

I’d been around golf courses all of my life. I invited Vinnie out on the links once. After that, golf became our staple. I loved watching that guy hit a golf ball. He was so unorthodox! Sometimes he could just peel the shit off of a golf ball. We brought our clubs on the road with us every tour from about 1993 onward. We loved to play.

We became really tight over the course of those first three records, often playing six nights per week, five sets per night. When the old singer ran off, we got lucky enough to get Philip in the band. He brought something with him that was just incredible.

Everything changed, from musical styles to things we hadn’t heard before. Our playlists were completely different now. The four of us were always together, playing all over the state of Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma, at the same time selling boatloads of cassettes and vinyl out of the back of our car.

Dime and I always shared a hotel room and we were always up to no good, while Vinnie and Philip – two completely different cats – had to listen to our antics from the room next door.

We recorded a record with Philip called Power Metal and sold 40,000 copies out of said car. The major labels were now interested. We’d had 28 turndowns in the previous six years. Atco Records came to the rescue.

Once we got our foot in the door (meaning major label), we didn’t get off stage and start partying right away like most bands did. IT WAS ALL ABOUT THE JAM. We’d sit there and go through everything about the performance, every tempo, and every cue. Everything had to be spot on, for all of us, even when we were terribly hungover. We wanted to keep bettering ourselves. The times we just let it go and let the magic happen, the music pulled us all together to make what we did so special.

There were a lot of great metal drummers who Vinnie was influenced by, but once he got behind the kit, every single one of them had to take a look at what Vinnie Paul, the Brick Wall, was doing. He changed the game. He was the original for his generation, a generation that’s still going. Everybody wanted to play like him. People always thought those were sampled tracks – they were not. Period.

Vinnie was also a hell of an engineer. He knew the ins and outs of any board. He learned so young from his dad, who was an experienced engineer. He could get behind the board and do anything. He just had it.

In the ’90s, there wasn’t a tighter rhythm section than Vince, Darrell, and myself. Even on our worst night, we could dust you off the stage. Because the three of us had played so many clubs together, so many tunes, we always knew exactly where each other was going to go.

All of us were so uniquely different from each other, even the brothers. We all had unique personalities that all meshed together, because of our separate influences and personalities, that made the whole thing what it was. Unless you’ve been in a band, you can’t understand that the relationship between Dime and myself was one thing, between Philip and Vinnie was another, and on and on, in every combination.

When the four of us got in a room together, there was always a common goal.

To destroy.

I don’t think there’ll ever be chemistry like what the four of us shared again. I’ve been so blessed in so many ways by having them in my life. We were living and breathing each other’s everything for 20 odd years, which just like anything in life, has its difficulties, but nothing major. But even when there was little communication, we still shared tremendous respect.

When I look back, no matter what, I can honestly say that there were far more ups than downs with Pantera. It was uncanny the way we played together. Once we got into that state, with that black look in our eyes, we were fucking dangerous, man.

Those boys grew up wanting to be great like Alex and Eddie Van Halen. And you know what? They did it. When Pantera supported KISS on their reunion tour, all four of the original members came back to our row on a long flight to sing “Happy Birthday” to Vinnie. It was about the coolest thing that could have happened to him and us.

I’m so grateful to have been around the Abbott brothers, to play some part in their legacy, to share more than half of my life on the road and in the studio with them. And I’m so thankful that Vinnie found a home for his unmistakable groove, some peace and happiness, and a new family with Hellyeah, after the unthinkable tragedy in 2004.

I never thought of myself as anything more than part of the team. That’s the way we all were. It was all about that jam. How many people get to experience something like what we experienced together? Very few.

At the end of the day, all you can hope is that you gave it your all, ya’ know? Vinnie did. He gave everything he possibly could, as we all did.

The best way to honor Vinnie is to celebrate his life. He approached drumming, and friendship, with his own brand of perfection. We must remember the great times we shared with him. Rest in peace, Vinnie, and give Dime a big ole’ fashioned Texas style hug from all of us. You made an incredible mark on the world and you were taken from us way too soon.

Much love and respect,



Limited Edition Pantera Mini Guitars To Be Made Available At San Diego Comic-Con

Axe Heaven have crafted some limited edition Pantera mini guitars in conjunction with War Machine Marketing. The guitars, which will each feature album artwork from various releases, will be available at San Diego Comic-Con (July 19-22). There will be five options with the main three, “Vulgar Display Of Power,” “Far Beyond Driven,” and “Great Southern Trendkill,” being limited to 333. The other two, which feature “Far Beyond Bootleg” and an alternate cover of “Great Southern Trendkill,” will be limited to 150 and will only be available with the complete set. There will be 30 sets with all five guitars and 36 each of the three main guitars available each day. A raffle will be held each day to determine the order in which people can purchase them. It is also worth noting that another limited edition tribute item is being created for the fans that purchase the full set.

War Machine Marketing CEO, Ro Kohli commented:

“I’ve been a huge Pantera fan since 1991. Their records hold such a unique place in my heart and were there to help me through the ups and downs of life. I not only wanted to make a tribute to this band I love so much but to also honor Dimebag Darrell and his legacy in music. However, now with the passing of his brother, Vinnie Paul, we feel that this tribute is even more important than for fans. It has made what was going to be a celebration of the band and their meaning to everyone into a bittersweet tribute to the Abbott brothers.”

“We had been working on these guitars for the last 3 months and are so happy with how amazing they look. My goal has been to make an exclusive item that no one’s ever made before to tie us all back together to THE MUSIC. No matter what your political affiliation, your ethnicity, your background…Pantera’s music ties us ALL together and looks beyond all the trivialities of our differences. We feel that this is now the ultimate tribute to the band, to the brothers, and to the world they opened up for their fans. REST IN PEACE VINNIE PAUL & DIMEBAG DARRELL…Gone but never forgotten.”

Phil Anselmo To The Late Vinnie Paul: I Will “Always Have Love In My Heart For You”

A public memorial was held for the late Vinnie Paul Abbott (Pantera, HELLYEAH) at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, TX today (July 1). During the event, a number of friends and family paid their respects to the legendary drummer in person and via video. The whole thing was streamed on the Pantera Facebook page and can be seen below. Notably, one of the pre-recorded videos came from Vinnie Paul’s former Pantera bandmate Phil Anselmo, who had the following to say: “Vince, always have love in my heart for you, man. Rest in peace.” Abbott had a bitter estranged relationship with Anselmo over the years and remained on non-speaking terms with the him until his death. Abbott was laid to rest at Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, TX, alongside his late brother and bandmate Dimebag Darrell Abbott, and their late mother. An official cause of a death has yet to be revealed, but early reports have suggested his death was the result of a “major heart attack.”

Vinnie Paul Laid To Rest At Private Funeral

The late Vinnie Paul Abbott (Pantera, HELLYEAH) was officially laid to rest following a private funeral yesterday (June 30). The drummer was buried at Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, TX, near his late brother and bandmate Dimebag Darrell Abbott, and their late mother. Like Dimebag, he was buried in a KISS coffin. Jose Mangin (SiriusXM‘s Liquid Metal) and Nick Bowcott (ex-Grim Reaper) were among those who spoke at the service. Other attendees included: Ace Frehley (ex-KISS), David Draiman (Disturbed), Chris Jericho (Fozzy), Chad Kroeger (Nickelback), Charlie Benante (Anthrax), Paul Shortino (Rough Cutt) and more. Vinnie Paul passed away on June 22 at the age of 54. An official cause of a death has yet to be revealed, but early reports have suggested his death was the result of a “major heart attack.” A public memorial is being held for him at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, TX today (July 1)

Pantera’s Camp Share New Vinnie Paul Tribute Penned By Nick Bowcott (Ex-Grim Reaper)

A new Vinnie Paul (Pantera, HELLYEAH) tribute has been shared on Pantera’s official site. The lengthy piece was written by longtime friend Nick Bowcott (ex-Grim Reaper) and it can be read below. Vinnie Paul passed away on June 22 at the age of 54. An official cause of a death has yet to be revealed, but early reports have suggested his death was the result of a “major heart attack.” A public memorial will be held for the drummer at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, TX on Sunday (July 1) at 3:33 p.m. A private funeral will take place on Saturday (June 30) and it is also scheduled to start at 3:33 p.m.


“Black days in the already dark domain of metal have regrettably become far too common of late. Friday, June 22, 2018, is sadly another such day, as on it we lost one of heavy metal’s most talented and influential drummers of all time: the pioneer of Pantera’s patented Power Groove — Vinnie Paul Abbott.

Drummers often invariably get the short end of the stick (awful pun unintentional — but it’s staying, as it’s pretty apt), as do bassists. Why? Because the vocalist and lead guitarist get the spotlight. In truth though — drums and bass are quite literally the foundation of any great band or song as they can make or break a riff or passage. A great guitar riff will inspire you to make your “metal face,” but ultimately, it’s the rhythm section that will bang the head that won’t bang and incite a mosh pit. Like I said: Make or Break…

That’s why rock drummers such as John Bonham, Keith Moon, Neil Peart, Bill Ward, Mitch Mitchell, Charlie Watts, and Alex Van Halen are rightfully considered legends. They didn’t just keep time and create a beat — they literally drove songs to new levels of intensity, light, shade, and groove.

Vinnie Abbott was (damn — the use of the past tense here is heart-wrenching) such a drummer and a high-ranking, much respected member of the aforementioned elite few.

Simply put — what made Pantera such a groundbreaking, timeless, and influential band was the combustible combination of the four members: Dime, Philip, Rex, and Vince. As Aristotle’s age-old adage states: “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts” — and Pantera was living, fire-breathing proof of this undeniable but uncommon truth.

The recipe was delightfully simple: take Dime’s brilliantly brutal yet catchy riffage; mix in Rex’s carefully crafted low-end rumble; sprinkle Philip H. Anselmo’s angst liberally over the top; then place this trio over a thick, rich base built from Vinnie’s pummeling precise drumming…and “Hey-Presto”: the POWER GROOVE IS BORN.

I had the amazing privilege of watching Pantera grow from the ground up…from dingy clubs and bars in Texas to theatres, then stadiums and arenas, right up to dominating massive festival stages all over the world. I was also fortunate enough to see them not only pummel all over America but also in England and even in Tokyo, Japan.

My Tokyo experience was 333% Pantera! I literally got off a 14-hour plane ride, went straight to the venue, drank WAY too many Dime-poured Black Tooth Grins in Grady “Grand Dragon” Champion’s guitar world, before being dragged onstage to do backing vocals on, of course, “Walk.” Unforgettable. Unrepeatable. Priceless….

My first brush with Pantera was in 1985 on Grim Reaper’s Fear No Evil tour during the Terry Glaze era when they opened for us in Texas. I was blown away by their performance, and Dime gave me a cassette tape (remember those?) of Projects in the Jungle. I still have it, and it still rules.

Then, in 1987, on the Hell on Wheels tour, I stage dived and landed on this pretty intimidating but amiable dude…his name was Philip H. Anselmo, and we enjoyed a post-show herbal cigarette. He’d recently moved to Texas to join Pantera — as Walt Disney’s annoying tune states: “it’s a small world, after all.” Sadly, it’s growing smaller. Anyway, back to the tale…

Then, Reaper’s management (hi Walter, hi Bob, hi Kimberly) signed Pantera; then there was all the Guitar World stuff with Dime (numerous articles, 64 columns, the Riffer Madness book, yadda, yadda). Suffice to say, I spent a lot of time with Dime and the band. This also continued with Dime and Vinnie when Pantera fragmented and the criminally overlooked Damageplan project was born.

During that entire period, though, while I knew Vinnie, we didn’t really talk that much — apart from the usual, “Hey, nice to see you again” type stuff. Why? Because I was always with the human whirlwind, Dimebag, of course — he was the consummate host and redefined the term engaging.

Then came one of metal’s darkest days: Wednesday, December 8, 2004….

Prior to flying to Darrell’s funeral and public memorial service, I called Vinnie to express my profound sorrow and condolences. As expected, given the heartwrenching circumstances, the phone wasn’t answered by him, so I simply asked if my best wishes and love could be passed on. As soon as I said my name, though, I was told: “Vince was hoping you were going to call; he’d really like to talk to you.” It was in the lengthy, tear-inducing but beautifully moving conversation that followed where our relationship went from acquaintances to true friends.

While the funeral and the public memorial were, of course, understandably somewhat somber at times, our goal was to celebrate Dime’s remarkable life, and that was achieved in spades. Jerry Cantrell, Eddie Van Halen, Zakk Wylde, Maynard Keenan, members of Anthrax, Disturbed and others paid tribute from the stage and impromptu performances.

The graceful, gregarious generosity, bravery, brotherhood and sisterhood I witnessed at both events was life changing — especially from Vinnie, his and Darrell’s father Jerry “LD” Abbott, Rita, Grady, John (a.k.a. Kat), Sterling, Wirez, Chris (a.k.a. Crusher), and the man who redefines “work ethic” Mr. Guy Sykes. It was deeply moving. The fact that Vinnie was able to wear his trademark smile despite his palpable pain was far beyond touching.

I had the unbelievable experience of playing with Vinnie at a couple of Dimebashes — we did “This Love” and also a couple of Kiss tunes with Ace freakin’ Frehley on lead. Believe me — hearing VP’s power groove is one thing, but literally riding on its gigantic sonic wave when playing with him is a whole, er, new level. Unforgettable, unrepeatable, priceless moment #333.

I got invited to Memphis, Tennessee, during Elvis Week with LD, Vinnie, and Bridog (my friend — I’m so very sorry). It was an amazing few days of bonding and fun that included a tour of Sun Studios and, of course, Graceland: home of Elvis.

And 2006 was also the bearer of more great news — the world would once again get to hear and see Vinnie’s peerless drumming driving his new band, Hellyeah. Can you say “celebration”? The news of VP’s return to the studio and stage caused a global tsunami of triumphant celebration in the metal realm.

Since forming, Hellyeah has toured extensively and released five critically-acclaimed and fan-loved albums. Alongside Vinnie – Chad Gray (vocals) and Tom Maxwell (guitar) have been at the core of the band since day one. Hellyeah – completed by Kyle Sanders (bass) and Christian Brady (guitar) – was working on album No. 6 when this tragedy occurred.

Vinnie’s remarkable drumming talent is well known; what is maybe less well known is this: behind his larger-than-life onstage presence and muscular (he hit those freaking skins hard) yet musical drumming was a kind, gentle, generous,
and funny guy with an infectious smile and a heart the size of Texas.

Vinnie’s kindness and generosity helped make a difference for many. Since he was as humble as he was thoughtful, though, he never made a big deal about such amazing acts…to him, helping others was just “the right thing to do.”

But 54 is young, way too freaking young…if there is any collateral beauty in this soul-crushing, tear-stained loss, it is this…

After nearly 14 years apart: Vinnie and Dime are finally together again in an even better place. Their last words to each other on this planet were “Van Halen” (their code for having a kickass show). I know they’re in God’s Tavern (© Zakk Wylde) right now, clinking their glasses while exclaiming “Van Halen” in unison and both sporting THOSE grins.

To close — my thoughts, prayers, best wishes, and broken heart are with Vinnie’s family, bandmates & friends…and especially Jerry “The Eld’n” Abbott.

Vincent is preceded in death by his mother, Norma Carolyn Abbott, and his brother, Darrell Lance Abbott. He is survived by his father, Jerry Abbott, of Arlington, Texas, his loving partner, Chelsey Yeager, of Arlington, Texas, his right hand man and constant companion, Charles “Bridog” Jones of Arlington, Texas, numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews, friends too numerous to mention, and millions of fans worldwide.

Vinnie — thank you for the music, the many indelible memories, and your Gentle Spirit. Big Luv, my dear friend…Big Luv, always.

REST IN PEACE & please say “hey” to Dukebox Damage, for me.

–Nick “Hitchcock” Bowcott

During Pantera’s blazing run of successes, the band was nominated for four Grammy Awards, all in the “Best Metal Performance” category:
“I’m Broken” (1994 – Far Beyond Driven)
“Suicide Note Pt. 1” (1996 – The Great Southern Trendkill)
“Cemetery Gates” (1997 – Cowboys From Hell)
“Revolution Is My Name” (2000 – Reinventing the Steel)

Vinnie did not have one favorite charity. His generosity was spread widely between his friends and strangers. If you’d like to make a donation in Vinnie’s name to your favorite charity, please do so.”

Report: Vinnie Paul To Be Buried In A KISS Coffin Like Dimebag

According to TMZ, Vinnie Paul Abbott (Pantera, HELLYEAH) will be buried in a KISS coffin that was provided by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. This is significant due to the fact that his late brother and Pantera bamdmate “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was buried in the original KISS casket prototype back in 2004. A public memorial will be held for the drummer at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, TX on Sunday (July 1) at 3:33 p.m. A private funeral will take place on Saturday (June 30) and it is also scheduled to start at 3:33 p.m. He will be buried alongside his mother and brother with some of his personal items including his hat and more. Vinnie Paul passed away on June 22 at the age of 54. An official cause of a death has yet to be revealed, but early reports have suggested his death was the result of a “major heart attack.”

Public Memorial For Vinnie Paul (Pantera, HELLYEAH) To Be Held In Dallas, TX

A public memorial will be held for Vinnie Paul Abbott (Pantera, HELLYEAH) at The Bomb Factory in Dallas, TX on Sunday (July 1). The event will take place at 3:33 p.m. and the line for wristbands will begin at noon. There will be no advance tickets, lines or lists. A private funeral will take place on Saturday (June 30) and it is also scheduled to start at 3:33 p.m. Abbott passed away on June 22 at the age of 54. An official cause of a death has yet to be revealed, but early reports have suggested his death was the result of a “major heart attack.”