Rex Brown will be releasing his book, “Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story Of Pantera,” next Tuesday, March 12th! As the press release states, “This is a lucid account of the previously untold story behind one of the most influential bands in heavy metal history, written by the man best qualified to tell the truth about those incredible and often difficult years of fame and excess.” After reading this book twice in the past two weeks, that is exactly what you can expect. Rex is completely honest and forthcoming in this book, and it’s a major insight to one of the most influential bands of all time. Did some things surprise me? Yes. Did it open my eyes? A little. One thing we all have to remember though is only four people truly know what happened inside the group, but thanks to Rex and this book, we now learn more!
Yesterday I had the absolute privilege and honor of speaking with Rex on the phone about the upcoming book release, some specific parts that stand out to me, Pantera, Kill Devil Hill and much more! The interview is below and don’t forget to pre-order this book! IT’S A MUST READ!
Metal Mark- Rex, thank you so much for taking the time out today to speak on your upcoming book release.
Rex Brown- Thank you man. This is the first press day for me promoting this book and I’m here in the mountains, so let’s get it started bud!
MM- Sounds good! For starters, you were always considered the “quiet” member of Pantera, and you really hold nothing back in the new book. Was it challenging or weird for you to let people in more than you ever have before?
RB- It was more cathartic for me than anything else. It was a lot harder than I expected, but I think it turned out great. Writing a book ain’t easy man (laughs). Trying to get all those words in, all the stories in, and everything else in 320 pages was really difficult. It could have been over 900 pages, but we made sure it wasn’t ya know. As for it being weird, I would never say it was weird, because I had a story to tell, and it’s finally coming out for everyone next week.
MM- The beginning focuses on your upbringing, music all around you and your family life. You even open up about your father passing away, which you wrote you never opened up to your family about before, so was that a bit of closure for you in a way?
RB- Maybe deep, deep, deep down inside it was. I mean you are dealt certain cards in life and we all deal with them in our own way ya know. You can’t look back and go “Oh poor me,” you keep going down the road. That’s life. The hardest part for me was writing about Dime. That was unbelievably difficult.
MM- For me as a Pantera fan, reading about where you were the moment you heard about Dime and the days after, it was tough to get through. How hard was it for you to go back to those memories and sort of relive them for this book?
RB- Bro, the word cathartic just keeps coming up for me. Having to rewrite this thing so many times, it was good, but at times it was really sad. I really wanted to put my experience out there, because I’ve heard so many others, so now people know my experience with hearing the news as well. It’s still devastating to think about, but I think we all feel that way. It was definitely tough though man, I won’t lie.
MM- As you mention Dime, the parts in the book about all of you growing up together is really an awesome read. From the classrooms to the jam sessions, it’s really cool to learn. Of course no one could have imagined how huge Pantera would become, but it seemed right from the beginning that you knew that this was going to be something good.
RB- Yes and no. We were four completely different individuals, even in the beginning, but we had that drive to be the best we possibly could. We just went through a crazy ride that took us to the top and it was unreal at times. It wasn’t always good and fun, but in the end, you mention Pantera and the amount of respect that name brings is something I’m sure we are all super proud of still to this day.
MM- One thing I love about this book is you don’t hold back. There are several mentions of Vinnie Paul and his “my way” attitude hurting relationships and other situations. Do you think Vinnie will respond to these stories or release some from his side?
RB- Who knows? He can write or tell people whatever he wants to. I’m just telling people my story ya know. He can respond if he wants, it doesn’t fucking matter, this is my story. That’s what this is about ya know, my years before Pantera, after Pantera, and beyond.
MM- In your mind, was this some more closure of that chapter of your life as well?
RB- Not really, because I’ve been done with that for a while ya know. I’m just done with it. I’ll probably have two more books come out with more stories and memories, and we’ll see where it goes from there. For right now, I’m just really excited for people to read this one. It took almost two years to come together, so I hope fans dig it.
As you know, with every musician’s book, there will be those people who say it’s only your side of things and it may not be completely accurate. How do you respond to those who say that?
RB- It’s all true man. I didn’t fabricate anything. I threw in entertaining stories, to keep the reader involved, but it’s all true. Everyone that has read it can clearly feel the honesty and that was important to me. The bottom line was if I was happy with it, and I am, so people can respond how they choose. I’m very proud of this book. This is just my story man. I didn’t write it for money or to piss people off, it’s just me telling the story from my eyes, because I lived it. There were only four of us who knew what went on and this is my story, I can’t stress that enough.
MM- Definitely. One part I want to bring up is when you mention certain websites and how they may have made things in Pantera worse. You eluded to it a few times, but do you believe that if these “gossip” websites didn’t exist back then, that things may have been different?
RB- Without a doubt. Yes. I mean I read the news like everyone else, what’s going on ya know, but a lot of blogs are just crap. It’s just people stating their opinions on stuff they know absolutely nothing about, but that’s what is popular now. As for the real news, today I must say, thank God that Randy Blythe was not convicted of that crime in the Czech Republic. That was just an awful situation all around ya know.
MM- Yea I agree. The whole metal world breathed a sigh of relief once that was released.
RB- Absolutely man. It was definitely great news for the metal world, but more importantly for Randy and all those close to him. I wish him the best.
Well as the metal world reads your book, they will learn about tales with Metallica, Motorhead and Black Sabbath that only you’ve experience. Throughout all the bad things that may have happened during those years, it does not take away that you four guys lived a dream that only a few people can say they have. Do you have any regrets looking back on those years?
RB- I totally agree man. We were very fucking lucky, we were very fucking determined, and I have absolutely no regrets. The only regret is what happened to Dime, but I had no control over that. It’s a shame that some fucking deranged idiot decided to do that to someone so special in this world. It’s a bigger shame that we will never know what might have happened. As I said in the book, if Dime was alive, I believe we would still be jamming together. To put it plain and simple, I have no fucking regrets. You can always look back and say we could have done things differently, but that’s life in general. You live and you learn ya know.
MM- That is something I truly learned from your book. Throughout all you’ve been through, you’ve learned from all of it. Now since the Pantera years, you’ve had some health issues that you go into detail about in this book as well, which has to make me ask, how are you doing today? What’s the latest?
RB- Today I went and had blood work done and I’m fucking great! Of course I lost some weight because of the surgery, but I’ve always been a skinny motherfucker (laughs). The doctors say I’ll be this skinny for a while, but I’m trying to prove them wrong by eating all the damn time, so we’ll see how that goes. Thanks for asking though, I’m doing awesome (laughs).
MM- That’s great to hear! Well with this book release and the buzz around Kill Devil Hill’s next record, what do the next few months hold for Rex Brown?
RB- Like you said, we are in the studio right now and we have nine tracks done right now. The record is more about the song than the first album, if you get what I mean. It will still be heavy, but there is a lot more focus on the melodies and vocals. It’s really coming together well, so I’m really excited for people to hear it. If you dug the first record, than you will fucking love this one!
MM- That’s exciting man! As a fan it’s great to hear you so excited about new music. It’s kind of like a rebirth in some ways.
RB- It really is man. I know what to do and what not to do now, and the music is really hitting home with Kill Devil Hill, so I’m in a really great spot right now. I’m just having fun right now and that’s what it’s all about. I think this next record will put a lot of smiles on people’s faces and that’s everything to me. It’s not on a massive scale like Pantera of course, but it’s still just as special to me.
MM- Very cool Rex. Once again, thank you for taking out the time to speak with me today. Do you have anything left for the fans about the book, the band, or anything else?
RB- Go pick up that son of a bitch! Read it and enjoy my friends!