Alice In Chains singer/guitarist Jerry Cantrell paid tribute to late Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul in a new Rolling Stone article, and discussed being on tour being the reason he sadly can’t attend his funeral.
“In whatever he did, Vinnie lived his life unapologetically. I always respected that about him. He was a guy who achieved his dreams, and worked his ass off to get there. And he always tried to have a good time doing it. And he and Dime were always really great with their fans. No matter the circumstance or how shitty they might be feeling, they wouldn’t miss an opportunity to take a picture with somebody or have a shot with them. They went out of their way to make every person feel welcome and at ease and create a good time for them. And, you know, when Dime was killed, that was such a shock to all of us. But the fact that Vinnie had to live with the vision of that, it still haunts me to this day. Goddamn. I can’t even get my mind around that. But he had his own path.
I heard Vinnie had passed when Alice in Chains was in Copenhagen on our European tour. We always give a shout-out to Layne and Mike when we play ‘Nutshell’ [Staley passed in 2002, and Starr in 2011], and at our next show we dedicated it to Vinnie.
To me, personally, Vinnie was one of the few people in my life – and there’s only a handful of ’em – where it doesn’t matter if I don’t see you for a year or two years or 10 years, it’s always consistent. Vinnie was always consistent. He was someone I could rely on – a friendly pair of eyes. Every time you’d look in ’em they’d look the same looking back at you. I’m gonna miss the hell of him. We’ve been moving so fast out here on the road that I don’t think it’s even really sunk in for me. Today we’re in Zagreb. It kills me that I won’t be there for Vinnie’s service, but my family is going to go and represent.
As for me, I’m gonna go out and play a rock show tonight, and that’s exactly what Vinnie would’ve wanted me to do. And I’ll be thinking of him when I do it.”