INTERVIEW: Kill Devil Hill’s Rex Brown

rexrocker With Pantera, Rex Brown has created a legacy which serves as a sort of ‘how to’ on heavy metal bass playing. His heavy attack and his ability to simultaneously lock in with Dimebag Darrell’s guitar and Vinne Paul’s drums is as good an education on playing bass in a heavy band that you’re ever gonna get. Rex further showcased his sense of groove and power during his long tenure with Down, but it’s with his new band Kill Devil Hill that he really gets to shine as a bass player – without even trying. Rex’s playing in KDH is no Billy Sheehan-esque shredfest: rather it’s a tour de force of playing perfectly in the pocket and yet never being lost within the mix or underneath the arrangement. And with material that bobs and weaves through hard rock, heavy metal and grunge and even something close to blues-rock, Kill Devil Hill calls on Rex to be more musically flexible than ever while still maintaining his own musical voice. Kill Devil Hill are touring Australia in April with Killswitch Engage (read my interview with KSE’s Joel Stroetzel here).  Read More …

INTERVIEW: Rex Brown talks Vulgar Display

It’s twenty years since Pantera released Vulgar Display Of Power. That’s the same as the span of time between the Beatles’ first world tour and Van Halen’s Jump. Or between Led Zeppelin IV and Pearl Jam’s Ten. It seems hard to believe now, where crunchy metal riffs are used in everything from kids’ movies to breakfast cereal ads, but once upon a time the closest thing to metal heard outside bedrooms and car stereos was the likes of Poison and Bon Jovi. Vulgar Display helped to change all that. Along with Metallica’s Black album, it was enormously influential on musicians looking to break free of the stylistic quirks of cock rock without switching gears to the grunge sounds that were rapidly gaining prominence. Pantera combined jagged, hi-fi, post-thrash guitar tones with aggressive vocals, harsh production and a sense of groove – borrowed from Southern Rock – and in the process they ignited a revolution.

“We had a lot of hunger. A lot of the juices were flowing, big-time, and I just remember it being a really creative period for the band,” bass player Rex Brown says of 1992-vintage Pantera. “Very creative. We knew what direction we were headed and we were very aware of where we wanted to go, yet it just came out so naturally that we didn’t have to second-guess anything. There it was! Every day we were waking up just wanting to go to work.”

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