If you would rather listen to the interview, skip to the bottom of the interview for an audio file.
SDM: The first thing that I’d like to ask is, have you seen sickdrummer.com or Sick Drummer Magazine yet?
VP: Ah, I did see it the other day. First time, I thought it was great, man.
SDM: What do you think of the idea behind Sick Drummer Magazine versus the other drumming magazines who, until we came along, never really touched on the extreme metal talent?
VP: It’s beautiful, you know. It’s something that we need for our genre, and it’s a great thing to have. Sometimes the metal community gets overlooked by the larger media so to speak, so it’s great to have you guys there.
SDM: Nice. Okay, so going back now, you’ve probably been asked every fucking question that you could ever hope to be asked by a million people, so we’re going to try and come up with something a little different, anyway.
SDM: Can you tell me how much of a role music played in your household growing up, and maybe how your father or any other family members might have influenced you musically?
VP: It was a huge part of us growing up. My dad’s a musician, country and western musician, also a recording engineer. That’s where I picked up my recording skills. We were always exposed to music, always around it. We were always getting to see the hot local players. Me and my brother would just go sit in the studio and watch, you know, and learn from that. And it was always really inspiring, you know, it always made us want to play music. So even though my dad always listened to country, me and my brother, the minute we heard Kiss Alive!, we knew that metal was what we wanted to do, and proceeded from there.
SDM: That’s funny. I mean, growing up in my house, my parents were from Scotland, so it was always like the Rolling Stones and the Beatles on a Sunday when we were cleaning the house and stuff. Was it always like country stuff, or was there —
VP: Ah, no, no, my dad was a huge Beatles fan. But it was mostly country. You know you’d walk in the house, and there’d be David Allen Coe’d be playing. It was really kind of strange because we ended up working with him eventually. But like I said, once we got the music bug, you know, me and Dime played our own records all the time, as loud as we could do it, and once we started jamming, it was over from that point.
SDM: So how do you think your drumming differed pre-Cowboys From Hell?
VP: Ah, I think it really hasn’t changed a whole lot over the years. I’ve had a lot of different drummers influence me, but I always liked incorporating the rudimental style of drumming into the drumset. And I think I really brought that out from the Cowboys From Hell record on through Far Beyond Driven, and still to this day. I still use paradiddles and things in my drumming. And you know, certain drummers come along at certain times. My very favorite, the first drummer that really influenced me was Tommy Aldridge; first time I heard him play “Boom Boom Out Go The Lights” he was doing all these crazy triplets with his feet and stuff. I went, man, I’ve got to get another bass drum, so I went to my dad and said, I’ve got to get another bass drum, and he said, “What’s wrong with the one you’ve got, son?” “Nothin’, I need two.” “Two bass drums?” “Yeah, two bass drums, dude.”. So he hooked me up, and it’s on from there.
SDM: That’s funny, man. You’re not the first person who’s said that to me in an interview, and it’s funny each time I hear it. “What do you mean, you need two?”. So, looking back at what was available in the early ’80s, what do you think has been the biggest improvement for you in music, meaning looking at the gear you played, recording technology, promotional tools. What’s made the biggest impact, now as a musician?
VP: Oh, I’d say, without a doubt, the invention of digital audio. Being able to record in ProTools. Before it was such a mammoth task to get these amazing sounds, you had to have these hundred thousand dollar consoles and all kinds of analog gear, and really, a room full of everything, and now you can walk out of the studio with your laptop and have the whole recording session on it. It’s pretty insane.
SDM: Yeah, it’s making a lot easier for a lot of people. But you see the downside of it now, too, where half the stuff we hear on some of these records and don’t get me wrong, I love it all, but the sound replacement has gotten to be too much of a habit, and we’re not hearing what drummers are actually doing, which kinda sucks.
VP: Right, right, I think it’s definitely a two-edged sword. When I listen back to Moving Pictures by Rush, or any of my classic records, there’s so much depth there when you listen to the record because it’s analog, and analog has all that natural compression on it and everything. Digital really does sterilize it quite a bit, and then of course, like you said, it’s made it real easy for half-assed people to get away with it. They can go on there and club their way through things, à la Lars Ulrich [laughing]. And then they can sit there and have the engineer fix it all for them. Nothing against Lars, we all do that stuff, everybody does.
SDM: I’ll take that out.
VP: It’s nothing, we’re buds. But you know, everybody does it. A), it’s a time saver, and B), it’s too easy to say “chop that one right there and just use the same one over again”.
SDM: Exactly, you know, go into the studio and hit each drum once and then, “see ya!”.
SDM: So, what’s your favorite Pantera song to play live?
VP: Ah, man, probably one of the most challenging ones that we ever did was Slaughtered off of Far Beyond Driven. It’s got some real pounding double kick stuff, and it’s just a really demanding song all the way through. I just remember every time we’d get to the end [hums rhythm], the whole fucking crowd would just go crazy. So that was, as far as technically difficult and really demanding, that was really the most. And then, of course, playing the song Cowboys From Hell never got old, just because everybody loved it so much, you know.
SDM: Talking about crowds going wild, that was another question. Looking back at Monsters of Rock in Moscow ’91, or ’92 Monsters of Rock in Italy, or even as far as ’98-’99 with the shows you guys did in Chile, Argentina, which show of that magnitude was most memorable to you, and why?
VP: The ’92 Monsters of Rock in Moscow was just incredible, man. We’d actually been off the road for about a month, and we were already in the studio recording Vulgar Display of Power, and we got a call from our A&R guy, and he says, “Hey, how would you guys like to go open a show for AC/DC and Metallica in Moscow?”. Fucking killer. “Well pack your shit, you’re flying out next Tuesday.” It was that quick. So we didn’t really have a chance to rehearse or get back in the live playing mode, we just flew over there, and once we got there, we had no idea of the magnitude, the size, or how many people were going to be there. They estimate nearly a million people, which is twice as big as Woodstock. That’s huge, you know. It was basically a gift; you know, they just had the coup in Russia, and it was a way for us to kinda Westernize them with our music. Because our music had never been available there before, except on the black market. So it was like a gift from Time-Warner, and a way to introduce the people of Russia to Western music. So we flew over there, we played thirty minutes, which felt like it went by in ten seconds, the crowd treated us like Led Zeppelin, and it was just amazing, and then we got to sit on the side of the stage and watch Metallica rip it up. Then, of course, AC/DC got up and just killed it. It was an amazing event, something I’ll never forget. They actually made a documentary about it, called “For Those About To Rock”, that’s really cool. I dunno if it’s still in print, but you can probably find it on the Internet somewhere. But yeah, it was really amazing. The Russian army didn’t know what to expect, and the kids, the people there, started going crazy. So they just started beating them. There were all these insane beatings going on while we were playing. Just because they didn’t understand, you know.
SDM: It’s fucked up. I remember watching some of the footage, and you know, you see American flags flying everywhere, and they’re going nuts, and these guys are just standing there, marching in lines like the Third Reich or some shit with these batons behind their backs, just yeah, probably scared out of their minds, like they’re going to be overturned or something.
VP: Yeah, it was crazy, man. I remember them saying these people work for rubles, you know, and they make about thirty rubles a month, and that’s the equivalent of like ten dollars, man. I mean, it was just insane. I bought me a whole Russian army outfit in the Red Square for five dollars or something. It was crazy how much of a different world it was. Especially back then.
SDM: It’s crazy. There are a lot of bands nowadays, too, like Misery Index, and Despised Icon, and all these new, up-and-coming extreme metal guys that are going over there and playing Russia, and it’s like the same thing. But of course it’s a little more liberalized now, but it’s still the same experience, I guess, that they get from the fans and the big “woah” factor.
VP: Oh yes, they’re blown away when they see it. Because they just don’t get it, you know, they don’t get it that often, and when they do, they go crazy, man. They love it.
SDM: Right on. So, Pantera’s DVDs have been famous over the years, for the backstage antics and whatnot. Can you tell us a funny story maybe that didn’t make it into a DVD that you were involved in over the years?
VP: Oh man, I think almost everything we ever did made it onto a DVD. That was one rule that Dime always had, always have the camera rolling, always have the camera with you. You just never know when you’re going to get that Kodak moment. So I personally can’t really recall something that was just crazy and worthy of being on video that didn’t wind up on there. When you watch the Pantera home videos, you feel like you live a day in the life of being on the road with Pantera. Everything is exposed. Our crew is part of it, we’re part of it. It’s got the good sides, it’s got the bad sides, the best part of it is obviously playing on stage, but, you know, to keep ourselves sane, we did a whole lot of cuttin’ up, you know.
SDM: That’s cool. There was obviously a loyalty, to say the least, that you guys shared in Pantera. Were there a lot of offers back in the day for you or Darrell to join other projects? Did that happen a lot?
VP: Not after we got signed to a major label. But when we were shopping, we’d been turned down by every label on the face of the earth twenty-two times, and word got out that Darrell was a hot guitar player, and bands would come to sit in and jam with us. Next thing you know, Megadeth called him up, offering him a Nike endorsement and $100 a week in CDs, what else, health insurance, shit that none of us had back then. It seemed pretty tempting, but he basically told Dave, “look dude, if you want me to come play in your band, you gotta bring my brother”, and he’s like, “well, we’ve already got a drummer”, so he goes, “well then tough shit, I’m not doing it”. We stuck together, we rode the storm out, and literally, we got saved by a storm, the way we got our record deal was there was an A&R guy was flying to North Carolina to see this band called Tangier that they just signed to Atco Records, and that big hurricane Hugo hit, and he had a layover, so he was stuck here in Dallas, and he called the president of the company up in New York and said, “hey, are there any bands here in Texas you want me to see? I’m stuck here for the night”, and he goes, “well, as a matter of fact, there’s this band called Pantera that’s been mailing me stuff over the years, and their records are really great, so why don’t you just go see ’em and see if they’re any good live?”. So dude calls me up on the phone, and you know, I’d pretty much had it with A&R people at that point, I was just tired of messing with them, and alright, you know, one way or another, we’ve got this offer on the table from Roadrunner, if we sit it out a little longer, we’ll just take that. So this dude calls me up and goes, “Hey man, are you guys playing anywhere? I need to come see you. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a rehearsal space, or what”, and so yeah, as a matter of fact, we just happen to be playing this Mexican Disco tonight, man. It’s this girl’s birthday, and she hired us to play a private party. Told the cat where it was. It was just this little Mexican dive over in Woolworth. So we got over there, we set up all our lights, the sound, really was serious about it, got it all dialed in, and anyway, the dude shows up. Big tall guy, could pick him out of the crowd just like that, no problem. Anyways, we got up and started playing, man, we were slamming, just tearing it up, felt really good about it, and about four songs in, the dude walked out the front door, and we’re like, “aw, man, he just left, hell, let’s start drinking, let’s just start partying”, so we started slamming the whiskey and drinking, someone’s birthday cake all over the place, and Dime and Rex were sliding all over the floor, and the next thing you know, “hey man, he came back, man! get serious again!”. [laughing] So we finished up the set and I went over to the dude and before I could say anything to him, he goes, “hey, oh my god, that was the most incredible live band I’ve ever seen in my life”, and I said, “well, why’d you leave, dude?”. He goes, “oh, I went back to my car to call the president, to tell him that we’re signing you to the label”. So I was like, “wow!”. So that’s how it happened, man.
SDM: Nice. Here, have a shot dude.
VP: Yeah, exactly.
SDM: Were you ever in any bands that didn’t involve your brother before Pantera?
VP: No, that was the first band that I’d ever started, and the first version didn’t include my brother, because he was pretty young. But once we got rolling, I insisted on him being in the band, and reluctantly the other guys let him join. And eventually, the guitar player that we had, which was Terry, basically just quit playing guitar, because Dime was just shredding. So he just started singing.
SDM: Yeah, he was fuckin’ ridiculous, man. I saw something posted online a couple of days ago that Rex had said, that there’s going to be a Pantera box set released later this year. Is that true?
VP: Well, we’re working on it. We never were a band that did extra songs when we went to the studio, we always felt that quality was the number one, we could never understand why these guys would get together and write forty songs and then record them and hope that ten of them turn out good enough to make a record. That’s just bullshit. How about just writing ten really good songs? And that’s what we focused on. So I’ve been digging through the archives, and I’ve come across a few things. We’re definitely going to have some live bootlegs on there, and really just try to make it special. So we’ve definitely been working on that. And then, you know, I started recording the new Hellyeah record with those guys, we started recording in May, so I’m excited about that.
VP: And then, in the meantime, I’m staying busy with Seventh Void, which came out on my label, April 21st. It’s Johnny and Kenny from Type O Negative, and it’s some of the most slow, heavy, sludgy stuff you’ve ever heard in your life, it’s just really amazing. It’s kind of a cross between old Soundgarden, Sabbath, a little Audioslave thrown in there. Just staying really busy with that lately.
SDM: Yeah, we actually just got an email yesterday about that. We have a drum competition that I started last March; it’s called Blast Off. The idea is like a Guitar Center drum-off, but just metal guys, and by just metal judges. And it went over pretty well, the first one, and now we’ve taken it to a digital thing online, where people are recording videos of them performing, and then they get judged by whoever, Tim Yeung. They contacted us yesterday through Metal Injection because they work with us on Blast Off, and they wanted to throw some prizes in to promote that new record. So that was pretty cool.
VP: Kick ass, man. I’m excited about it.
SDM: Yeah, it’s cool. Have you ever paid attention to any Pantera tribute bands over the years?
VP: Ah man, I’ve seen quite a few of them. They’re always a gas, but the drummers always get the parts wrong. [laughing] But they’re always going for it, and God bless ’em, and it’s fun to check them out. I can’t think of another band that has as many tribute bands as we do. Just getting to see them is always fun. These guys, they go for it, balls out as hard as they can. They generally don’t look anything like us, but they do everything else they can do to try to imitate us. It’s always good to see.
SDM: That’s funny. So you mentioned a couple of influences earlier, and I know that I’ve seen you list Neil Peart as one of your biggest influences —
VP: Oh yes.
SDM: So is he still like the number one guy?
VP: Well, tough to say. I mean, there was a point where I was all about the “more drums” thing, where I had the bigger set of eight toms all the way around and stuff, way back in the day, and when it comes to that type of drumming, nobody can touch him, but for kinda straight-ahead metal, you know, I was always, like I said, a fan of Tommy Aldridge, and Mikkey Dee has always been a huge influence on me, way back to the King Diamond days, Abigail and all that shit. He did some fucking amazing drumming on those records, and you know, he still kicks fuckin’ ass in Motorhead. Those would be the main ones, and then I always loved Alex Van Halen, I loved his feel, I loved his sound, it was unique and very different, and then, of course, the king, John Bonham, he was always a big influence on me, too.
SDM: Right. It’s funny you say that about Alex’s sound, it was very unique, especially the later stuff.
VP: Oh yeah. He’s always experimenting. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him with the same drumset on any tour ever.
SDM: Right. Here’s a humbling question for you, and it’s kind of weird for me to ask you, you know, it’s my first time talking to you or whatever. Do you realize that you are an icon in metal drumming history?
VP: You know, it never really crossed my mind while things were still going full blast, but I got a magazine from England, a drum magazine they sent to me, and it’s like the biggest drum magazine in Europe; I can’t remember the name of it, of course.
SDM: Pretty sure it’s “Drummer.”
VP: Yeah, it’s just called Drummer, right. And it just said, “legends” on the cover, and it had John Bonham, Keith Moon, Buddy Rich, a picture of me on there, Neil Peart, like every one of these people I’ve always looked up to and freaked out on, and then there’s my picture up there with them, and I’m just like, wow. That’s pretty humbling like you said, you just kind of feel, wow, that’s pretty amazing that people will look at me in that same light, and it just blew me away. I had to sit down and just think about it, like, do I really fit in with these guys? These dudes are so great, you know. Anyway, it was cool.
SDM: Right on, it’s got to be cool, I mean, fitting in or not, I mean, the progression of what music had to offer; you learned from those guys, and here’s what you created.
SDM: It’s always going to progress and there are always going to be different icons. After seeing that, did it change anything about the way you approach your drumming career or the way that you maybe handle press releases or anything like that?
VP: No, not really. I’ve always kinda been, even back to the early Pantera days, the mouth of the band. I was always more than just the drummer, I wanted to be able to be a producer, of the records, which I did, coproduce all the records, and engineer, and then also, the spokesperson. That’s something that me and Lars have quite a bit in common. I think our names are kinda household just because we did do more than just play the drums.
SDM: Right on. Then Mike Portnoy, of course, named you as one of his main influences.
VP: Ah, I love his playing too. We’ve been buddies for years. I was having fun watching him on That Metal Show the other day with Eddie Trunk and those guys, and I was just on that show recently, too.
SDM: That’s cool. It’s gotta be strange when seeing someone like him, with the different progressive approach he took to the drumming, you know, versus the style of drumming you have —
SDM: — obviously there’s nothing wrong with it. It’s great to see that he appreciates his roots, obviously, just by listing you as an influence. I thought it was pretty wild, I was like, “wow”.
VP: Cool, man!
SDM: Is there any musician out there now that, if they came to you to work on something, you’d drop everything and go “yeah, fuck, let’s do it”?
VP: Ah, man.
VP: It’s tough to say. I mean, there are a lot of people I really appreciate, respect, admire. But I guess probably at the top of my list would have to be Eddie Van Halen, you know, cause I know Eddie pretty well before Dime passed, we became pretty good friends. He turned out, to me, to be a really genuine, sweet person, and his talent and everything that he’s ever done, I’ve just been blown away by my whole life. I guess if there was one dude I could sit down and jam with, that’d probably be it.
SDM: We mentioned David Allen Coe; is there any talk of doing any additional work with him in the future?
VP: That whole Rebel Meets Rebel thing was pretty much masterminded by Dime. It was his idea to kinda get the whole thing going. I really can’t see it happening without him being a part of it.
SDM: Understood. Okay. What would you say would be the heaviest or most extreme band/drummer that you’ve heard recently? What do you think of the advancements that drumming has been taking in general?
VP: My personal opinion is that it’s lost a lot of the groove orientation in place of speed, and I’m not really a huge fan of “as fast as you can go”. You know, I can appreciate it, and there’s a definitely a skill there, but as far as making music goes, it doesn’t go a long way for making you want to tap your foot or bang your head or anything like that, it’s just so fucking over the top, man. And I always felt that when I use double bass, I use it to really give the song a kick in the ass or pick it up and go. Actually, to make it so when it comes in, you really feel it. You’re dropping your car into fuckin’ third gear or whatever, you know. And, a lot of these cats today, they start off in third gear, and they got nowhere to go, you know.
VP: And it’s the same triggered drum sound, and it just, it almost sounds like a computer’s playing it all. So, I’m not against it at all, I can appreciate it and everything, but to me, it doesn’t have quite the pace and rhythm that I really dig. I like things that I can really groove to. Things that just fuckin’ — any rock’n’roll, metal, too: Judas Priest, something as simple as Living After Midnight.
VP: You know, it’s got a fuckin’ beat, it’s something you can’t keep from banging your head to. Whereas a lot of this other stuff that comes out is just, it’s just like I said, you just want to drop your jaw and go wow, but after forty-five minutes of it —
VP: — it gets to point… but, you know, Chris Adler, from Lamb of God, he plays some pretty tasty stuff, and he can get up and go. I’ve seen some of these cats — who’s that guy? Shit, trying to remember his name. Supposedly the fastest drummer. Mike Mangini or whatever? I was just like, this dude’s insane. Even drummers don’t get what he’s doing sometimes. [laughing]
SDM: Yeah, he is insane, you know. There are a lot of guys out there pushing the boundaries of speed, and yes, a lot of it does tend to lose the feel, I agree with you there, but the irony to me of it all goes back to what we said a few minutes ago about how you, looking at that magazine cover with Bonham, and this and that, and there’s you, this is the same thing. I mean, here are these kids, and the progression of the time differences between Bonham and you, and between the new drummers and you, this is what they took from the shit you did, and other bands like you guys, and Sabbath and Priest and all these other bands that in the late ’80s, ’90s, were doing the heaviest shit in the world. Well, I dunno, that’s what it progressed to, and fuck, man, like it or not, [laughing] it’s insane. 270 bpm, I mean, John Longstreth plays in Origin, and yeah, I can see after a half an hour of it, some guys can’t take it or whatever, but it’s funny how it all comes from a progression of what’s before you. I mean, you would never think playing any of the stuff that you guys came up with that it would lead to these guys sitting there, doing [fast double bass sound] for hours straight.
VP: Yeah, I did it, it’s just, to me, I’ve always been a song-oriented guy. When I was creating my drum parts, they always had to fit the song. It wasn’t me just playing drums to play drums. And I always felt that you could play enough to keep drummers interested, and not so much that it goes over the average listener’s head. People who don’t play drums don’t know what that noise is or what that is when you’re going [mimes a complex fill], you know, they don’t know what that is. They just either, can move to it or they can’t.
SDM: That’s funny, man. Well, let’s see, after thirty years, roughly, in the music industry, the knowledge you’ve gained along the way, the experience you’ve got with labels, promoters, recording, agents, et cetera, if you had to do it over again, if you were forced to, I guess, would you do anything different based on what you’ve learned along the way now?
VP: Well, you know, there are two words to the whole thing: it’s called the Music Business, man. The music, we all love, and that’s why we do this. The business, if you don’t take heed to that, early on, you can wind up completely broke, or not able to make a living, doing what you want to do, playing music, that kind of thing. Fortunately, I picked up most of that pretty early on, but most people don’t. They kind of ignore it, they just want to play. So when someone says, “hey, here’s a record deal, and we’re going to give you a hundred thousand dollars up front”, and they go, “oh, gimme a pen, I’ll sign it right now”; they don’t even want to look at it, you know. And unfortunately, it says that you’ve got to pay that hundred thousand dollars back in fifteen percent increments, and this and that and the other, and it’s just, there are so many horror stories out there, of bands that thought they were going to be huge and rock stars, and they end up broke and now they’re jaded, so they don’t enjoy music anymore, because the business side has wrecked them. So I wouldn’t really change anything as far as my career goes, but I would just tell anybody that’s out there that’s a drummer or any kind of musician, just get a music book and learn a bit about what your publishing is, and this and that and the other, just try to be heads-up when it comes to business, just try to pay attention to it.
SDM: Right, right. That’s a good answer. So, along that line, we know Big Vin Records, how’s that going, with the whole label thing and your producing and all?
VP: Well, so far it’s been great. I love producing, that’s an extension for me to almost be another kind of musician, whether it’s a bass player, guitar player, or even a songwriter, because the drums are really the only instrument that I’m a true player of. I don’t play bass, or whatever. I can play enough piano to write my own songs, and program keyboards like a motherfucker, and shit like that, but drums are the only thing I’m accomplished at, you know. So being a producer helps me help the other guys create their guitar parts, the hooks, parts in songs; it’s just an extension for me that I really enjoy, and then the record company thing came along. You know, me and Dime thought about doing it several times, and just never had the time to do it, because we were just so busy with Pantera. When I started to get my life back together after what happened to my brother, I knew that we had this record with David Allen Coe done and it meant really a lot to him, and it meant a lot to me, and I thought it was very special. I took it around to my label, Electra, that I was still signed to, and their exact answer was, “well, we don’t know what to do with this”. So I show it to another label or two, and they’re like, “well, what is it? We don’t know what–” and I’m like, “fuck it, you know what? I know what to do with it: start my own fuckin’ label and put it out”. And so that’s what I did. I got a distribution deal through Fontana which is Universal and it just started from there. I put that out, and then Dimevision; I put a Christmas record out for my dad on an artist named Lisa Layne, who’s an amazing female singer.
SDM: That’s cool.
VP: And then, my first major signing, that I’m putting out, is the Seventh Void thing. Of course, I’ve got my eyes out for other things. I’ve got five million demo tapes here that I’ve got to keep sifting through. I’ve got enough stuff on my plate to keep me very busy these days.
SDM: I’ve got a bunch of those on my desk, too. It seems everybody wants to be featured in Sick Drummer and I get thirty CDs a week sometimes.
SDM: It’s pretty cool. I have a couple more questions here. You good?
SDM: So, why the switch to Ddrum?
VP: Man, I tell ya, I was with Pearl for a very long time, and it’s just — I wanted to extend myself more than just having a signature snare, you know? I wanted to have my own kit, almost like my own brand, my own hardware, my own pedals and stuff, and I just couldn’t do that with Pearl, they wouldn’t allow me to go any further with what I was doing. So Ddrum came to me, they really started beating my door down, “dude, we’ll do your own line of drums, whatever you want to do”, so I’m like, “well, man, if you guys are serious about this, I’m coming on board, because that’s what I want to do”. So I hooked up with them and of course, they’re owned by the same guy that owns Dean Guitars, too, so there was kind of a family thing there, too. Dime was always like, “hey, you’ve got to come over and play Ddrum”. They’d already had a pretty decent roster started before I came on, and then once they brought me on, everybody’s been knocking on their door. And their drums are great, man, their drums sound fantastic.
When I first came on, the main thing I wanted to get square with them was the hardware, you know, we’ve gotta do better than what we’ve got here. So we’ve got a new line of hardware that’s really killer, the pedals are almost done, the Vinny custom pedals which feel just amazing, I love them. And then, of course, the drums. We’re going to be able to have the — I call them square drums, you know, the extra big kick drums and the toms available to the public, whereas they’ve never really been available before.
SDM: Very cool, man, good for you. That’s awesome.
VP: Thank you.
SDM: Terry’s a cool guy.
VP: All those guys over there are super, man. I really enjoy working with them.
SDM: I mean, back, way back in the day when he started Ddrum, he owned a music store, then he came up with the idea, “let’s just do the drum thing”, and then he started endorsing guys like Steve Asheim and shit like that. And just, wow, they just came out of nowhere.
VP: They’re really hungry and really aggressive, and that’s one thing I really like about them.
SDM: Nice. Is there any unreleased material that you know of that might be released, or any DVDs or books that you might be planning on yourself?
VP: Well, we just put out the Dime book, which was something that was really important for my dad to do. He pretty much orchestrated it, and of course, I came on board to make sure it was the right thing to do and everything. That’s a really great tribute to my brother. It’s, like I say, a way for my dad to put his touch on Dime’s legacy, and bring that forth. I’m writing a book on myself, man, I’ve been working on a cookbook for years I’ve been thinking about putting out, it’s called “Drumming up an Appetite with Vinnie Paul”. [laughing] I love fuckin’ cooking, and it’s got a picture of me behind the drums with a big turkey leg in one hand and a drumstick in the other, you know. Anyway, man, that will probably be the first thing that I put out, book-wise, for me, but it’ll all be in fun. Like I said, I love cooking —
SDM: So do I. That’s fucking hilarious and it’s awesome.
VP: Oh yeah, it’s a cool thing. Like I said, my main task these days is Hellyeah, we did really well with the record, we nearly went gold, and in this day and age, that’s nearly impossible. We’re getting back together starting in May to write another record, and then, of course, we’ll be touring for it later in the fall whenever the record gets done and we put it out. So those are the main things that I’m looking forward to.
SDM: So the book, “He Came to Rock”, How is it doing?
VP: Well, actually, the book has only been out for about two months, and we put out a DVD that was called Dimevision, at the same time we did Rebel Meets Rebel, and it went platinum in Canada and gold in the United States. So it’s very popular, and it did really well, and then the Rebel Meets Rebel thing, we did over a hundred thousand units of that, which is pretty insane, given the type of music it was, such a unique and different thing.
SDM: What can you tell me about Tres Diablos and Gasoline?
VP: Ah, man, well Tres Diablos was basically just me, Dime, and Rex, and it means three devils. We would just fuck around in the studio and do ZZ Top songs and stuff; it kind of had a ZZ Top vibe. It never was anything original, it was just covers we would do. We grew up playing in nightclubs, you know, beer drinkers and hell raisers, and I think we put a track out, we did put a track out, it was on the wrestling… trying to remember… it was a ZZ Top song, I can’t believe I can’t remember the name of it…
SDM: But it was published? Was there anything else, like did you guys record a bunch of that stuff?
VP: Yeah, I’ve got some of that stuff on tape. I’ll have to dig it out of the studio.
With Gasoline, basically started by me and Dime, back in ’99, when Phil and Rex didn’t want to play on New Year’s Eve anymore. They just fuckin’ said, “we’re not playing on New Year’s Eve anymore”, and we’re like, “what, dude, it’s the most fun fucking night of the year”. What are we going to do, sit at home and watch Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve? Fuck no, we’re going to put together a fun band called Gasoline, and play Ted Nugent, Pat Travers, Thin Lizzy, and all this crazy stuff that we grew up listening to that we don’t do anymore. So, every year we would have different members, and we’d get together a few days before New Year’s Eve and rehearse. I carried on the tradition the last couple of years doing kind of an acoustic version of Gasoline, where we did all kinds of stuff that works well acoustically but still rocks, like Stone Temple Pilots, stuff like that. And it’s always just a good time. Everybody shows up, we get drunk, have a big bash, and Gasoline disappears and comes back again two days before New Year’s Eve.
SDM: Alright man, one more question: where’s your favorite place to be, whether it’s a vacation place, or somewhere you’ve toured, or home? Do you have a favorite place?
VP: I just bought me a house in Vegas, and I go back and forth between Dallas and Vegas. I just love Vegas, it’s a great place. My favorite place I’ve ever toured outside of the United States is Australia. I love it there, it reminded me of just one big Texas, the people there are super friendly, they love Americans, they love our music, they just really are hospitable and they always get the “good on ya, mate” and all that good stuff going on, so just a great, great place, man.
SDM: Wow. It’s been fun to talk to you, man. I appreciate you taking the time out. I grew up listening to you and I’m now thirty-six. Your music had a lot to do with my upcoming on the drums. I’ve been playing twenty-five years, and it’s just a fucking honor to talk to you, man, for sure.
VP: Well I enjoyed it, man, and I’m looking forward to checking out your magazine.
Vinnie Paul 2009 Inteview Audio: