It's impossible to revisit Vulgar without recalling the long, slow spiral afterward that in essence ended Pantera: Anselmo's dabbling in heroin, which added to the frayed friendships within the band, and his focus on the second Down record, which put Pantera on the backburner indefinitely and provoked Darrell and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul, to set out with the tepidly received outfit Damageplan. It was on the tour for that debut that Darrell was fatally shot onstage by a crazed fan.
"I miss the days, I long for the days, sometimes, and I miss Dimebag very, very much," Anselmo says. "There's a plethora of emotions, and to dwell on the past doesn't feel healthy for me and when I think about those days. It's not like I try to think of all the good stuff; it kind of comes naturally, especially Vulgar Display of Power and that whole touring cycle and the change in the audience and their perception of us. When we toured Cowboys from Hell, there was a very lukewarm if not awful response. But when you back it up with a record like Vulgar Display, that's when the tide did turn — rapidly, to say the fucking least. There were some extremely educational, memorable, cherishable times in my life."
Anselmo echoes the claims of Paul, whom he's been estranged from since the death of Dimebag, that the Pantera vaults are now empty of new material — but there still may be some covers floating around, including a long-rumored Van Halen track. "We used to fuck with all kinds of songs. Obviously we did that ridiculous version of 'Cat Scratch Fever' for some movie soundtrack [Detroit Rock City], that dickface Ted Nugent. Shit dude, we would kick into Kansas and all kinds of shit. What you said does ring a bell; I think it was something like 'Outta Love Again,' I wonder where that shit is. And here's another one for ya: I never did sing on the motherfucker, that old Phil Collins [he starts singing 'I Don't Care Anymore'], we did a version of that, and it's somewhere. But there really probably isn't any original material left, but cover tunes and shit like that. If there was the proper amount of digging, we could find all kinds of shit."
With Pantera etched in history, Anselmo looks toward the horizon of metal with his own contributions and those of others, lamenting the constant media portrayal of metal fans on the whole as uneducated lunkheads. "We haven't helped," he says. "There's been a lot of things that have not helped us. I remember being flown into New York when MTV was going through some kind of change-up in the early 2000s, and they wanted me to be the host of Headbangers Ball. First of all, the name of the show sucks — it fucking sucks, it's cheesy as fuck. Why don't you just call it the Extreme Music Hour or something like that and give it some fucking credibility — because honestly, there's great musicians in heavy metal. Look at some of the great guitar players."
The culture's obsession with what Anselmo calls "cheesy, Disneyfied, shit-heel pop music" is another source of aggravation. "American Idol makes me want to throw fucking up all over the fucking ground. So lame. Why is that the paramount today? Why is that the pinnacle of success? It sucks. I'm sorry.