RIP Vinnie Paul ....Dead at 54

The words came out at me like needles to the eyes. Johnny Maze wrote on his Facebook Page. RIP Vinnie Paul....NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   was all I could muster.  Just after that I let a "dammit" fly,then I played Cemetery Gates, then The Sleep, then I remembered the days I used to obsess over this band which made me both good nostalgic and bad nostalgic. 

You see, at this time in my life I was running with a rough crowd. Maybe between the ages of 13-17


Yes, I know I look like a kitten type hard ass, but I was a dark little shit. This was definitely the start of it. I was probably around 12 or 13, Loved Ozzy, loved Motley Crue,Van Halen (Dave Era ONLY), and loved Guns N'Roses...I thought I was the coolest little fat boy at Bluff Park Elementary. 


My love of rock was always there, even from the tender age of 4 I was pissing my pants just as good as any stadium rock god. 

But then going back to the prepubescent pick above, that's about the time I met my Pantera Friends. Not only did they listen to this insanely hard metal....they had weed. Me and my buddies wanted to be friends with these guys so we did. 

What became of this group was about 4 years of questionable somewhat criminalish behaviour in some cases that propably could have gotten the lot of us locked up. Some of us even more so than how much time they've already served. We were stupid kids, drinking and smoking copious amounts of weed, all along doing it to a steady sound track of Pantera's Cowboys From Hell and Vulgar Display of Power. Our Group got bigger. It got Older, It got younger. It got scary. 

One night I witnessed a friend's older brother hold another friend hostage with a gun to his head because he didn't like "Black Guys" dating white girls. He "liked" the black guy, just don't date the white girl or I'll shoot you was his theory. 

Another time, the kid who's house we stayed out convinced a 16 year old me to steal his dads very expensive, 197something racing Mustang so we could go get some smokes. All to Walk by Pantera Playing.  

Almost got into a lot of fights with this group, outran the cops with this group, brought back a girl from certain death while hanging with this group because she OD'd. Cowboys from Hell was playing. 

I started looking around. These guys were going to amount to nothing and I felt better than that. I had some skills something to give the world. They had mayhem, and the need to steal mail out of the mailboxes in the green valley area of Hoover. Every bit of this to a Pantera soundtrack....By the time I hit 17 I said screw these guys, they're bad news, but not just before they sent a guy in his mid twenties to beat my ass because he thinks I ratted on  him for trying to hook up with a 15 year old. Nice guy, Huh. 

Well we went different ways. Some of them died, some of them spent some hard time in federal prison, one is a White Supremacist, one is a mechanic, one is a lineman in Kentucky and several  others I couldn't tell you what happened to them.  The point is, the super agro music of Pantera was a constant in my life for that time. I don't regret it, I grew, I'm a little embarrassed by it, but no regrets. I have a great life, couple great kids, beautiful bride, the best job, and amazing co-workers. We all come from somewhere, and that somewhere is always interesting. 

So tonight, I'll listen to Pantera one last time in honor of Vinnie Paul and some of those friends I've lost from that time. Whether still living or not. You helped make me a good person today by joining me on a shitty persons journey. So thank you.



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