The 1980’s were undeniably the decade of Metal. Metal was born, Metal evolved, Metal went mainstream, Metal was everywhere. Until the Fall of 1991. Grunge exploded and took over the airwaves and took over the music biz. It is no secret that many blame the Grunge movement for the death of Metal.
When something dies, something new must emerge. Metal, or at least the music that was being called Metal had to die. Come on…at this point bands like Poison, Winger and Bullet Boys were considered Metal. Metal needed to evolve, and Grunge is what was needed to come in and start the change. A few heavy bands took Metal to a new degree, pushing the envelope, giving Metal new life. Bands like White Zombie, Prong, and Helmet breathed new life into Metal. But it was Pantera who led the pack.
Metal no longer wore spandex, Metal no longer wore moussed hair, Metal no longer wore eye-liner. Pantera was pure, pissed off energy and they set out to take over the world.
I will never forget the first time I met Phil Anselmo. It was at the Foundation’s Forum in Burbank, California in October of 1991. Pantera had just won the award for Top New Metal Band. My bladder was ready to explode so I snuck out of my seat at the Awards Ceremony to take a quick squirt. The bathroom was dead empty – everyone was watching the Awards. About halfway through my piss, Phil comes in holding his award – with a serious pissed off game face on – and starts pissing in the stall next to me.
It was one of those moments when all you can do is look at the wall directly in front of your face. We both must have had a lot to drink, because it felt like 15 minutes of pissing silence. Finally, I decided to break the ice. With my eyes still focused on the ceramic tiles in front of me I say, “You guys totally deserve that award, man.” Phil breaks the men’s room code and turns his head. He looks me in the eye with a hard, cold look on his face. He says, “What was that?” Now I break the code and turn my head to him and say again, “ I said you guys totally deserve that award, man. You guys are reinventing metal.” Suddenly, Phil’s game face drops and a smile the size of Texas appears. He nearly zips himself into the hospital with one hand and shoves the other in my face to shake my hand. He is thanking me and telling me how he could not believe they won…it was like a dream he said.
He is going on and on, like a little kid at Christmas…so happy. The whole time, all I could think is, “This guy needs to wash his hands…there is no way I am shaking that hand.” I pretend to have problems zipping up to avoid his extended hand. Finally, his excitement gets the best of him and he bro-hugs me. I walk over to the sink and start to wash my hands, hoping that the water and soap invite him to join me. Nope. He keeps on talking, and just watches me as I wash my hands. I dry up and we walk out together into the lobby and back into the Awards Ceremony.
I knew Metal was back!
Photographed with my Canon EOS-1, and a Canon 28mm-80mm 5.6 lens. Shot on Kodak Ektachrome film.