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As a die hard fan of Pantera I was waiting for this book for quite some time. To be honest I had no idea what to expect. Rex Brown has always been the quiet member in every band you find him in and it was a pleasant surprise as a fan to find out he would be penning his own book and giving the fans some closure on arguably the greatest metal band that there ever was.
This book is a very quick read. That is a testament to how well it was put together. It’s an interesting read and it gives you insight to the real world of Pantera and makes no qualms about it. We witness their meteoric rise to fame as well as their downfall, followed by the tragedy of Dimebag Darrell getting murdered on stage. The book actually starts with Dime’s murder and funeral. Needless to say; it’s a hard few pages to get through when you finally crack open the book. As a fan the death of Dimebag Darrell hit me extremely hard. The guy was my favorite guitarist of all time and my guitar hero. I could not imagine being that close to such a terrible situation and Rex puts your right there. He finally gives us, the fans, the real deal on the whole tragedy from his perspective. The way the book starts off with the funeral and then goes back in time to day one was a great move. We all know the end but we need to see the beginning for that extra dose of appreciation.
The book is a collaboration between Rex Brown and Mark Eglinton. Told through Rex’s eyes we get a really down to Earth view on how he came to be a phenomenal bass player, meeting the brothers for the first time, meeting Phil, and then taking off around the world hundreds of days at a time for fifteen years with Pantera. It’s an extremely honest look at the behind the scenes of one of the biggest bands of all time. He pokes a few holes into the fabric of our perception of band life and what being a rock star is all about. Now, what I liked about the book was that it’s the story of Pantera but also the story of Rex and what he had to overcome as well as the addiction that plagued him his entire adult life. It’s a realistic portrayal of burning through cash faster than you make it, drinking to excess, living in a confined space with the same guys for years on end, and just purely living for the music, which is a point that comes across extremely well. Rex Brown lives to play and at the end of the day that is who he is.
If you are a fan of Pantera and road stories then you should definitely pick this book up. It will make you laugh, choke you up, and blow your mind with the reality of what some of your favorite personalities are really like.