Rex Brown (with Mark Eglinton) "Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story of Pantera"

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Published: 2013
Author: Rex Brown (with Mark Eglinton)
Original language: English
After reading a couple of first pages you realize the advantage (though a deplorable one) of the underground state of the local heavy metal scene. The musician has passed away and there are no dozens of journalists around it, chewing over the details. But Dimebag Darrell is another case. He seems not to care about this fact, but the relatives don’t actually feel comfortable.
The author of the book and the most graceful member of the Pantera band – Rex Brown wasn’t quite delicate when it came to words. He openly despised and one can say even hated the majority (or maybe even every) representative of mass media. He has begun his narration from the death of Darrell where he shifted between shock from friend’s death and severe comments towards journalists. Being energized with such intense emotions, while the book’s title promised the official truth of the “internal” biography of Pantera (despite it’s clear that it refers more to the «Official Live: 101 Proof»), one still prepares oneself to the band’s chronics. But from the second chapter, it becomes clear that it’s more likely the history of Rex. Sure, the most of his story is about the legendary band.
Brown recollects the glam metal period of their history without a shade of shame and pays attention to “Power Metal”. He tells about the 90ths (when they have been surfeited with the classic metal genres) in all the details how guys from Texas caught the epoch mixing their favourite aggressive styles and went on top still being true to their musical priorities. It deserves a special respect.
The bassist thoroughly organizes a tour to the most prominent moments of the band’s history. Every album, practically every tour, fest or gig is mentioned.
Sure the legendary Monsters of Rock in Tushino wasn’t forgotten either and was described in all the details. Moreover he uses such epithets and linguistic means in his story, that make it clear why Pantera visited Russia only once (thus gained pictures with Kremlin and policemen).
According to the description of many foreign musicians of the 90ths, one should have brought for an excursion potential enemies-occupants, since they’d be terrified by the grey sky, pale streets, lack of restaurants and leisure activities, bad organization of the shows and other attributes of that years, in order to scare them away.
A lot of attention is paid to relationships between the members of the band. You’d like to read about Darell, but here’s Phil; here you think it’s finally about Darrell, but here’s Anselmo again. And you can even start thinking that probably Philippy isn’t that bad – he kicked the security’s ass for the fan and has always lots of stuff to do. But here he starts whining and using a separate tour bus, covering his drug addiction with poor excuses about pain (still he runs to a dealer faster than to a doctor), whines again. And you realize: “No, just a trick of mind”. About whining, fun fact (multiple times noted) – the band strives for overall recognition, but once it’s achieved the band says: “We’re tired, we quit”. Same tune here. Sure we’re all humans, but listening (reading) whining of far not poor and healthy men is kind of tiresome. That’s why thanks to Rex nipping all the attempts in the bud and being a kind of buffer between Phil and brothers Abbot during their tense relations.
So getting back to the question whose story it is: the one of Pantera or Rex Brown. The indicators of it being about Rex are: too much information about Down project (to my mind the band that has absolutely nothing to do with Pantera); lots of passages about his weakness for alcohol and its consequences (despite it could be set in one sentence: “Guys, heavy metal made me an alcoholic and evoked pancreatitis”); telling the readers his family secrets and problems including the ones that are no one’s business but his own. But he‘s the author – it’s up to him. And it didn’t make “Official Truth, 101 Proof” less interesting.

Text: Nat Nazgul   

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