Pantera, for those getting a metal education right now, are no longer an active band. The last Pantera studio album was “Reinventing the Steel,” released in March 2000. They last played together live in Japan, in August 2001.
Tensions over the erratic behavior of vocalist, Phil Anselmo, drove an irreparable chasm between he and the other band members.
While Anselmo took on numerous side projects, such as Superjoint Ritual and Down, brothers Vinnie Paul (drummer) and “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott (guitarist) realized there would be no mending of fences. They officially closed the door to a reunion with Anselmo in 2003. They went on to form a band called Damageplan, with their first album, “New Found Power” being released in February 2004.
Tragically, on December 8, 2004, a minute into their set at the Alrosa Villa, in Columbus, Ohio, a crazed man by the name of Nathan Gale entered from a side door of the club, took to the stage, and shot Darrell at point-blank range.
A crew member managed to wrestle Vinnie away from the stage, as he struggled to get to his fallen brother.
At least one fan, and several club employees and security personnel were either killed or injured, before a Columbus police officer responded and managed to kill the shooter.
To this day, there’s no clear motive for Gale’s actions, but friends have suggested that he was schizophrenic and that he claimed Pantera had stolen songs he’d written.
Equally tragic was the unexpected death of Vinnie Paul in June 2018, of coronary artery disease.
There have been talks over the years of a Pantera reunion, but Vinnie always resisted. His resentment towards Anselmo was too deep, and to him, a reunion of the band he began with his younger brother just didn’t feel right.
Now, with both brothers gone, those of us who loved the band will have to continue on with our memories, in the albums, the videos, the concerts we’ve attended, and yes, whenever possible, with the occasional ugly Pantera Christmas sweater.
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