The Legend Of Pantera Started In Shreveport
Most music fans, even if you're not a metalhead, know the band Pantera. Over the course of their history they became one of the biggest metal bands in the world, and the tragedies that band members have suffered made them household names.
But for this story, we have to go back to the start of it all.
Pantera formed as a family project with brothers Vinnie Paul and Darrell Abbott starting to play together as they were becoming teenagers in Texas. They eventually met Rex Brown at James Bowie High School, and the three started jamming.
The Abbott brothers father Jerry owned a local recording studio known as Pantego Sound in the Dallas area. That studio would fuel their needs for equipment and recording space in their early years. But during that time, Pantera didn't sound like the Pantera that most people know today.
At this point, the group added another high school friend, Terry Glaze, as their lead singer. They described him as being from a David Lee Roth mold. The group started working Dallas and Ft. Worth area gigs as a coverband, but the Abbott's father told them they'd need to start making original music if they ever wanted to take off outside of Dallas. So they did.
But those first few albums of original music still didn't sound like the Pantera that would change the world. This Pantera was a mix of glam rock and KISS...here's their first full album...
Even though you could hear some of the heavier riffs that were buried deep in the band, they were very glam still. Even looking glam when they took the stage, with lots of hairspray and some spandex.
It wasn't until Pantera found a guy named Phil Anselmo at a bar called Circle and The Square in Shreveport, Louisiana that the band would take off.
The way Vinnie Paul told the story to Revolver goes like this:
"We used to play this spot in Shreveport, Louisiana, called the Circle and The Square. We had a huge following there until we changed singers. You know, we still had a lot of people come to see us, supporting us, but it wasn't the same. They would always tell us, 'There's this band that plays here called Razor White and they got this singer named Phil, man, and he'd be perfect for you guys!'
Paul then talked about how the band eventually came together after talking to Anselmo for the first time:
So about four, five days later, we flew him to Texas from New Orleans. He came in and did an audition. We jammed with him for about an hour and a half — it was like we had been in a band together for five years. All the cool songs he wanted to play in his band, they wouldn't let him play because they were kind of a glammy band, and all the songs we wanted to play that we couldn't play with Terry, we could play with him like an Anthrax tune or whatever. He never even went back home — he had his shit flown out here to Texas and that's how it got started."
Phil Anselmo confirmed the story to KTUX in Shreveport a few years ago, but added a new dimension to it. Not only did Circle and The Square in Shreveport serve as the meeting source for the two parties, but Anselmo says the Shreveport venue served as the first home for a Pantera show with their classic lineup with Anselmo on vocals.
So there you go...Shreveport was the catalyst for the legend of Pantera. The group found their voice in Shreveport, and played their first ever show with that voice, and sound, in the same venue, in the same city.