EXCLUSIVE: Dave Mustaine and David Ellefson have spoken about the passing of Pantera founder Vinnie Paul, recalling their memories of touring with the Texan band during their 1992 ‘Countdown To Extinction’ tour. The Megadeth members made their comments while talking to eonmusic during the band’s press conference at Hellfest, France on Saturday (23d June 2018).
Most recently a member of Hellyeah, Vinnie Paul passed away unexpectedly on Friday 22nd June, reportedly suffering a heart attack at his home in Las Vegas.
Speaking about the drummer and his role in Pantera, David Ellefson said; “Vinnie was like the fun warrior, he was the business guy in the band, so he was a dear friend, so very much missed.”
Going on to talk about his memories of the 1992 European trek, which saw Pantera opening for the Big Four thrashers while promoting their breakthrough ‘Vulgar Display Of Power’ release, Ellefson said; “They were a fun band to bring over. They would make backstage videos, and they were a very united force. Phil [Anselmo] and Dave [Mustaine] were always on magazine covers together, Megadeth was at our real strong point on ‘Countdown To Extinction’, and it was fun to bring Pantera out.
He added; “In a large way, Megadeth helped break Pantera here in Europe, and even in the United States, so we had a long friendship with them, especially Vinnie.”
Dave Mustaine meanwhile, fondly recalled that it was during the run that the Pantera band mates invented their signature drink; “That’s where the ‘Black Tooth Grin’ came from”, he said; “They made a drink from one of our lyrics in ‘Sweating Bullets’, and you know, it’s a little different from the way I would make a drink; it’s supposed to be a splash of Coke and a glass of Jack Daniels, which is [*mimes passing out*]
Mustaine also took the opportunity to explain why the band have added ‘The Conjuring’ back into their set. When asked why the song had unexpectedly returned after having vowed never to play it again, Dave said; “Well, you guys may or may not know that Dave [Ellefson]’s a Pastor, so I figured if I’m going to get hit by lightning, I’ll be covered!
Adapting a more serious tone, the singer went on to reveal that the decision to play it again had been a very personal one. Said the front man; “The lyrics have parts in it that’s from a hex from black magic and witchcraft, and I’ve changed, I’ve turned my life around. I’m a Christian, I believe in Jesus; I don’t push that on anybody - that’s my thing, so doing ‘The Conjuring’ for me, was something I had to come to terms with.
Concluding, Dave admitted that he was glad to see the song back in the set. “It’s a great fucking song, so I wanted to play it for a long time, I’d just been conflicted. I’m at a point in my maturity where I feel okay doing it. Plus, these three were going to play without me anyway!”
Megadeth are currently celebrating 35 years with an extended trek across Europe. The band have just re-issued an expanded version of their debut album under the title 'Killing Is My Business... And Business Is Good: The Final Kill'
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