In a brand new interview with Reverb.com, longtime PANTERA producer Sterling Winfield was asked for his opinion on why other metal bands still cite the Texas-based act as an influence. He responded: “Here’s the number one rule: Write good songs. It can’t get much simpler. Write from your heart. Influences are great, but you’ve eventually got to be yourself.
“Before ‘Cowboys From Hell’ , PANTERA was a cover band. They did exactly what everybody else was doing. At some point, something snapped.
“Their last independent album, ‘Power Metal’ , was their first with Phil [Anselmo], and man, even that was starting to turn the corner. They had a lot more brutality and heaviness in them than they gave themselves credit for.
“They grew up and away from the tutelage of Dime [Darrell Abbott, guitar] and Vinnie‘s [Paul Abbott, drums] dad, got real honest with themselves, and wrote from the heart. They started writing songs with groovy, heavy, badass riffs.
“They found their niche after ten or fifteen years of doing covers in bars. They toured the country in a van. That will make your attitude and your music heavy. They were turned down by every major label, including the one that eventually signed them [Atco].
“Their work ethic was off the charts. I gained a lot of my work ethic from watching them stay the course. One of their mottos was ‘Whatever it takes.’ We’d get into situations that seemed impossible, but we all pulled together and made it happen.
“There’s not a lot of that anymore. It’s a guy in his garage or his basement, and all he knows is Pro Tools. Or the engineer says, ‘You only have to play that riff one time, or sing that chorus one time.’ And it’s cut and paste and fly the rest. It doesn’t leave anything unique. It doesn’t lend any tension to the song.
“That’s what a lot of music is missing — there are no emotional highs and lows. Big metal bands still use ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ as the measuring stick, and that album is 24 years old. What does that tell you?”
As previously reported, PANTERA‘s ‘The Great Southern Trendkill: 20th Anniversary Edition’ will be released on October 21. This two-disc set includes the original album remastered, plus a dozen previously unreleased mixes, instrumentals, and live recordings. Also being released on October 21 is a single LP titled ‘The Great Southern Outtakes’ featuring ten of the unreleased tracks.
More details on previously unreleased material: The companion disc that accompanies the original album features an unreleased version of every album track, including two versions of “Suicide Note Pt. 1” — a rough mix of the track, along with a separate version of the introduction, which spotlights “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott on 12-string acoustic guitar. The second disc also features a newly remixed version of the title track, rough mixes for “Drag The Waters” and “The Underground In America”, as well as instrumental takes for “13 Steps To Nowhere” and “Living Through Me (Hell’s Wrath)” . In addition to the studio recordings, the anniversary collection features three live tracks recorded at the Dynamo festival in Holland in 1998: “War Nerve”, “Suicide Note Pt. II” and “Sandblasted Skin”