REX BROWN Speaks On How Becoming Rich And Famous Affected PANTERA


In a new interview with Eon Music, Rex Brown looked back on PANTERA making it big with 1994’s Far Beyond Driven, which gave the band’s its first No. 1 album after 13 years of activity.

“I’ll tell you what happened; it was us sitting outside that bus signing autographs until the wee hours of the morning when the sun was going up, and having a tour manager go out and buy beers at all hours of the night,” Rex said about the record’s success. “Most bands would jump on the bus real quick and act like f*ckin’ rock stars, but we were out there just hanging with the fans, because we were fans of the music ourselves. It turned us into a whole bunch of different bands that guys were into in different countries and stuff, and it was very cool, man.

“Of course, when the crowd got bigger we couldn’t do that all the time. When Far Beyond came out, we were headed out on a plane to somewhere, and I walked into one of those curio shops at the airport, and they had a USA Today sitting there, and it said, ‘Pantera Hits Number 1 on the Billboard Charts. The unknown band from Texas…’ and they said something else, like it was flash in the pan.

“Well, we’d just worked nine years of our f*ckin’ lives to get exactly where we were at that point, so no, it wasn’t just a flash in the f*ckin’ pan!”

On how did he feel reaching that milestone, Rex said: “It was a shocker. When you have that number 1 record, all of a sudden it puts you in this other plateau of, ‘Well, we’re doing something right.’ The way I always kind of look at it is, you always keep your expectations around [reaching number] 5, and if you go below that you need to pull your f*ckin’ bootstraps up, right?

“And if they go above it, then you know you’re doing something good — keep doing what you’re doing! Now it’s at the point where you go; ‘okay, all this wear and tear’, and all the, you know; it’s a long way to the top, if you wanna rock and roll, you know, the AC/DC song? And that’s the f*ckin’ truth.

“So, it was like we belonged now; we had arrived, even though we had done so much work before that. We did in-stores [signing sessions] all across America, in the Time Warner jet. We were doing about two in-stores of 2,500 — 3,000 people a day!

“You’d get back to the hotel and you’d go to sleep, and you had a 9 o’clock call to get in the Lear jet and go crank out again. We did that for three weeks before the record came out, and I think that had a lot to do with that [success] too.”

“That record sold 600,000 units out of the box, in the very first week,” he continued. They shipped it platinum. It was f*ckin’ insane, man! I mean, that’s when you jump off into the territory of, ‘Oh sh*t — what comes now?’ And here comes the money, and the fame, and all that sh*t, which none of us cared for – maybe Vinnie [Paul, drums] — but, once that money starts rollin’ and flying in, it’ll start to f*ck with you, if you don’t have the right people to keep you grounded. All we had was each other.

“I mean, management was not doing sh*t; they just answered the phones. Pretty much everything that we did, we always kept that DIY — do it yourself — mentality during the entire time with what we did, but it was really cool, and I’ve got some really great stories I could sit and tell you all day long about that!”

Rex added: “By the time we reached New York, we were staying at this place called the Rhiga Royal, which is in Uptown, and we were in the elevator, and the f*ckin’ BEE GEES were in the elevator.

“This was ’94, and apparently, because there was such hype over these kids in this metal band coming out with a number 1 record that knocked out Bonnie Raitt, ACE OF BASE — those guys sold millions of records over in Europe — and they go, ‘You’ve got a No. 1 record, we have to buy you a drink. Would you mind?’

“I think it was me and Dime, and I said, ‘I would be honored to sit with the f*ckin’ BEE GEES.’ Dude?! Come on! I mean, some of the greatest songwriters ever, of any genre, of the last six decades. And I became really good friends with Barry [Gibb], and his son [Steve Gibb] who is about four years younger than I am. I took him on the road with DOWN, and he was a tech for all those years, and I’ve stayed at the family house. The Gibbs are really good friends.”