Rex Brown Recalls How He and Dimebag Darrell Got Pantera Material to Sound So ’Tight’

Pantera bassist Rex Brown looked back on the band’s old days, particularly how they approached working in the studio.

The thing is, back then, bands were still transitioning from old-school ways of recording music. And with the emergence of digital studios, software like Pro Tools became synonymous with any DAW or this way of recording in the studio.

Remembering Pantera’s heyday during an interview with the Bass Player magazine, Rex Brown explained how they managed to keep their music sounding tight, which is what Pantera is very well known for. And, as he explains, it all has to do with practicing the music right and having your chops sorted out.

“On some of the really tight songs that we did, Dime recorded guitar tracks on left and right and a double in the center,” Brown said, recalling the way they approached this. “So when we were rehearsing, we would turn the drums off. I’d play with him, just guitars and bass, which sounds weird – but that was how we got it so tight.”

Pantera - (Electric Factory) Philadelphia,Pa 9.9.97 (Complete Show)

However, these days, things are completely different. Nonetheless, despite having the advantages of modern studios, in order to make your music sound good, you still need to lay down your parts well.

“Nowadays, you could sit there and get it perfect with Pro Tools, but I’d rather get it right beforehand,” he said.

When asked about the massive changes in how he approaches music these days, the Pantera bassist replied:

“Yes sir, and I’ve enjoyed that! These days I’ll listen to the demo on the day we go into the studio, rather than cram myself with it. I just go off instinct.”

And speaking of instinct, there’s nothing better than having an organically-sounding piece of music. Again, despite the advantages that we have these days, you should still make it feel as natural as possible.

“I love the feeling of recording naturally rather than bouncing around with Pro Tools and all that,” he said. “I’m not into that.”

Of course, he’s far from being against that. After all, he uses it. But there’s still a point to be made when recording music, and Rex still swears by having the old-school approach to it despite the practicality of modern technologies. He added:

“Sure, Pro Tools is a necessary evil at different times: you can always take those recordings off the floor and move them just a hair. Sometimes it makes sense to do them that way, but I would rather get it right the first time.”

Pantera - Live in Detroit, MI (2000) [720p60fps Upscale]

“I hate punching in stuff,” Brown added. “If you don’t have your basslines down, man, you shouldn’t be doing what you’re doing.”

Although Rex’s bass in Pantera’s music wasn’t always the most audible thing, we’re more than aware of his contributions to the band. His parts were more than important in the band’s works, especially when performing their material live.

But speaking of playing bass the proper way, Rex suffered an injury some years ago. But although dealing with damage to one of his fretting hand fingers, he’s still at the top of his game. Reminded of the protective tape he has in order to perform properly, he said:

“That injury is still there, and it’s gonna be there forever, because my dog bit through the nerve. First, I used Band-Aids on it, and then duct tape, but I started looking around for something tougher because those things didn’t work.”

Pantera - Domination (Official Live Video)

However, back in the day, Rex was in luck to deal with these injuries during live shows. And this is simply due to specific venues that Pantera played. He continued:

“Back then, we were playing arenas, and a lot of them were hockey venues, so I found this hockey tape: the kind that players put around their hockey sticks.”

“I went through tons of that stuff: I found a really cool roll in Kansas that had skulls and crossbones on it! I usually wrap that finger in three layers of tape, and when I get off stage, which is usually after an hour and a half, that tape is worn all the way down to the very first layer.”

PANTERA - Full HD Concert Live in Fort Lauderdale, FL, USA Tour Debut 02.03.2024

As of this moment, the reformed version of Pantera, featuring Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante alongside Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown, is doing their 2024 tour. They have a pretty tight touring schedule up until late February. After that, there are three dates in March, one in May, one in June, and then they’re back at it in August with five more shows. For more info, visit official Pantera website here.

Photos: Miguel (Rex Brown Pantera 2023 (cropped)), Rik Goldman (Dimebag Darrell with Pantera)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.