While sledgehammer demolition unit Pantera may be taking some time off, that doesn't mean the band members are getting any rest. Expect at least two side-project albums and a DVD between now and the summer when the Texan troublemakers reconvene in the studio to work on new Pantera material.
Guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul plan to usher in the new year with a pair of performances by their metallic southern rock side project, Gasoline. The band, which also features Pumpjack vocalist Thurber T. Mingus and bassist Sean Time, will play Dallas' Bronco Bowl with Drowning Pool, Sevendust and Union Underground on December 31, then they'll head over to their strip club, the Clubhouse, for a midnight gig.
"Pantera hasn't played on New Year's Eve for a while, and sitting around the house watching Dick Clark ring in the new year kind of sucks," Vinnie Paul said. "That's why we put this thing together."
Gasoline will play covers by Ted Nugent, Thin Lizzy and Pat Travers, as well as six originals.
"Our big hit is 'Gas Tank,' and the lyrics are, 'This ain't no beer belly, this is a gas tank for my love machine,' " Paul said. "Basically, that's what Gasoline is all about — booze and women."
The band will be joined by Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell, who will perform acoustic versions of the Alice tunes "Got Me Wrong" and "Rooster."
While Gasoline have demoed their originals, they have no plans to release a studio album. However, Paul, Darrell and Pantera bassist Rex Brown are almost ready to uncage Rebel Meets Rebel, their side project album with country maverick David Allan Coe.
"There's really not anything else out there right now that sounds like this," Paul said. "Take a hard rock band and put a f---in' kick-ass country singer in there. It's just a country/heavy metal hoe-down."
The three Pantera-mates started working on the disc over three years ago; the reason the project took so long is because they were only able to play with Coe when he was passing through Dallas on tour. So, the combo worked on the songs in dribs and drabs. Then, just as soon as all the songs were recorded, Pantera hit the road, further delaying the project.
Currently, the band has six songs mixed, including "Heartworn Highway," "A Man With Nothin' Ain't Got Nothin' to Lose," "One Night Stand," "New York City Streets" and "Get Outta My Life." The title track will be a duet with Pantera singer Philip Anselmo. Paul hopes the band's label, Elektra, will opt to release Rebel Meets Rebel, but if they pass, he plans to shop it to other labels. He expects the record will be released some time between March and the summer.
If it comes out in March, it will coincide with the release of the second Down record, which features Anselmo and Brown along with Corrosion of Conformity vocalist/guitarist Pepper Keenan, Crowbar guitarist Kirk Windstein and Eyehategod drummer Jimmy Bower. Down's first sludgefest, NOLA (short for New Orleans, Louisiana), was released in September 1995.
In addition to Gasoline and Rebel Meets Rebel, Darrell will soon get busy choosing footage for the DVD "Pantera 4:," which the band hopes to have out in the summer.
"It will be another three years of video tape of us just being on the road, doing our thing," Paul said. "Our fans love that sh-- and they're always coming up to us and mimicking things out of the home videos."
As soon as the members of Pantera have their respective projects out of their systems and on the shelves, the band will focus on forging its sixth major-label release.
"We've been on tour basically non-stop for 12 years and we've really never taken any time off," Paul said. "So at the end of our last tour we were like, 'Look, we all have some side projects we want to get out of the way. There's no hurry to get back in the studio, but when we all feel comfortable and ready to go we'll do it.' "