The rock world remembers Vinnie Paul, Pantera drummer and co-founder dead at 54

Vinnie Paul, brother of Dimebag Darrell, was a beloved figure in the rock and metal community and a wealth of tributes to the late drummer have been pouring in via social media.


                            The rock world remembers Vinnie Paul, Pantera drummer and co-founder dead at 54

The music world was shaken on Friday night (June 22) with the announcement of the death of founding member and drummer of Pantera and Hellyeah, Vinnie Paul, who died aged 54. The confirmation came via Pantera's Facebook page and no additional details were revealed about the heavy metal icon's passing.

Along with his brother and legendary guitarist Dimebag Darrell, Paul co-founded the iconic Texas-based heavy metal outfit Pantera in 1981. Vocalist Donnie Hart, guitarist Terry Glaze (who took over lead vocals in 1982), and bassist Tommy D. Bradford (who was replaced within a year by Rex Brown) rounded up the line-up and they started off as a glam metal band before settling on a darker, thrashier, heavier style which led to the addition of vocalist Phil Anselmo in 1986.

Over the next decade or so, the band’s popularity began to soar, leading to a series of platinum albums, including 1990’s 'Cowboys from Hell', 1992’s 'Vulgar Display of Power', and 1994’s 'Far Beyond Driven', the latter of which went No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Their two subsequent follow-ups, 1996’s 'The Greatest Southern Trendkill' and 2000’s 'Reinventing the Steel', both cracked the top five. Pantera also hit the global touring circuit and was a regular at rock and metal festivals, including a co-headlining act with Metallica and AC/DC at the breakthrough on-off Monsters of Rock concert in the Soviet Union in 1991.

Following Pantera’s dissolution in 2003, Paul and Darrell formed Damageplan, releasing one album, 'New Found Power', which featured guest appearances by Zakk Wylde, Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell, and Slipknot’s Corey Taylor. Tragically, the band's run was short lived as Dimebag Darrell was shot dead during a Damageplan concert in 2004 after a former marine rushed the stage and opened fire.

After burying his brother and an 18-month hiatus, Paul was not sure if he would return to music, but eventually joined in with the heavy metal supergroup Hellyeah, which also features vocalist Chad Gray and guitarist Greg Tribbett from Mudvayne, guitarist Tom Maxwell from Nothingface, and bassist Bob Zilla from Damageplan, issuing five albums since 2007's self-titled release. Shortly before his death, Vinnie laid down the drum tracks for the group's sixth album at The Hideout recording studio in Las Vegas.

Up until his death, Vinnie Paul remained on non-speaking terms with former Pantera singer Philip Anselmo. Vinnie and Anselmo's relationship turned sour partly because Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag's death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer.

Although many approaches were made to Paul for a Pantera re-union with Zakk Wylde replacing Dimebag on guitar, Paul consistently shot them down saying that he doesn't see the point of doing it without his beloved brother.

Vinnie Paul was a beloved figure in the rock and metal community and as expected a wealth of tributes to the late drummer have been pouring in via social media. Greg Tribbett's heavy metal act Mudvayne shared condolences via their Facebook page: "We are truly saddened to here the passing of one of the Great Drummers in Metal, May you Rest In Peace with Dimebag, You will be missed. R.I.P. Vinnie Paul." 

"I just woke up in Belgium to the news that my friend Vinnie Paul has passed away. Another metal hero taken too soon. Say hello to Daryl for me. Rest In Peace, my dear friend," tweeted Megadeth founder and Pantera collaborator Dave Mustaine.

A slew of other iconic figures from the world of music paid their dues as well, the likes of which included Papa Roach, Disturbed, Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler, Black Sabbath's Geezer Butler, Sebastian Bach and many others. See their tributes via their social media accounts below: