VINNE PAUL AND BRANDON PERTZORN
DFW Undercover Question: Can you tell me a little bit about some of your history here with Dallas/Fort Worth and I would like to know your thoughts on Texas in general, do you consider it to be home or have you found some place else that you’re like, “No, that’s really where my heart is.” Can you, kind of, just talk to me a little bit about that?
Vinnie’s Response: Yeah, Texas is always home and it’s the greatest state in the world to me. I grew up there. Me and my brother wrote a song that helped propel the Dallas Stars to winning the Stanley Cup in 1999, which was very big for us at the time. I love coming home. I bought a house in Las Vegas about eight years ago, but it’s just kind of a getaway place, I come back to Texas all the time. I’ll never move away from Texas. I have so many great memories there and, played all the local clubs, everything from Savvy’s and Joe’s Garage in Fort Wort to Mathis and The Basement and all the places in Dallas. The scene is always great (in Texas). The support we have and the love we have from Dallas and really, everywhere in Texas, is amazing. We play New Year’s Eve in Dallas, which we kind of turned into tradition. Now, we’ve done New Year’s Eve four years in a row in Dallas and every year it’s been bigger and better. Right now, we’re doing a five-day Texas run, the warm up before we head out to Europe tomorrow to join Korn all over Germany, France, Italy, everywhere in Europe basically. And then, a headline run in the UK. So, Texas is really big to us, and tonight it’s going to be very special here in Corpus because it is going to be our last show in the United States until we get back.
Brandon’s Response: Texas is my roots, it is my home, that is where I learned to play drums, where I found my favorite bands, its where I first heard Led Zepplin and Van Halen, yeah Texas is absolutely my roots. Ya know, I joined Black Flag in Texas. After the Black Flag tour, I moved to LA just to pursue music further, most of the industry is in LA, New York or Nashville so for me it was a career move to move to LA, but Texas, Dallas, Texas is what I consider home.
DFW Undercover Question: The first time I was ever introduced to you, well, Pantera, was at a Stars game and they were playing the Stars anthem, we loved it! To this day, we love that anthem, your anthem!
Vinnie’s Response: Thank you.
DFW Undercover Question:: You’re welcome. So, speaking of overseas, can you tell me what you think the biggest difference between fans overseas versus fans here in America?
Vinnie’s Response: Well, it’s different everywhere. I mean, I love playing around the world. Japan is amazing. Australia is my favorite place to play outside of the United States. It’s just like, it reminds me of Texas, it’s like one big party, people love it. They love to barbeque, they love to drink and they love their heavy metal, man, it’s really a great place. The thing about Europe is that the fans there are just so loyal and so diehard. Once you’ve made it there, they never forget you, some people in the United States have two or three careers in one lifetime because they kind of go away or people forget about them, and then they get to come back and then it’s the same thing, that never really happens in Europe. Once you’ve made it over there, you’re a hero for life for those people. So, that’s really the main difference.
Brandon’s Response: Oh Man, yeah so in 2016 I did my very first tour in Europe, I had no idea what to expect. I played most festivals over there and I could not believe the reaction from the fans and how invested they are and how highly they regard musicians and bands. For example, if you are traveling in Europe and you are in a hotel or airport and they find out you are in a band, they want to find everything out about you. They want to know who you are, where you came from, what band you are in. They don’t care if you or your band is big or small, they want to know where you are playing and I think they just have a genuine love for music and the musicians playing the music solo or in bands. When I play the festivals in Europe the fans are focused on what we are playing, no one is on their phones or doing other things, they just want to see you playing your music. When travelling the states, people that I run in to at hotels and airports don’t really care if I am in a band. The fans at shows are amazing in the States and are always supportive.
DFW Undercover Question: That is a great Segway, so making it big, do you look at yourself and go, “Yup, I’ve made it big. I am everything I want to be.” Or do you have this constant sense of, “Ok, I am happy where I am but I still got to make it to that next level.”?
Vinnie’s Response: I’m really grounded. That’s one of the things I’m really proud of, being from Texas has kept me grounded. You don’t have to live that Hollywood high lifestyle or anything like that. So, every day is a new day and every day is a challenge, and you’re only as good as your last performance, man, so you got to get it and give it everything you got every day. I’ve never really sat back and said, “Wow, I made it,” or this or that, or the other, I’m just I’m happy that things worked out for me and I want to continue doing what I’m doing because I really love it.
Brandon’s Response: No, I don’t think I’ve made it. I don’t even know what that looks like. I am no where near where I want to be. You know sometimes you see guys that are at the top of their game and they are not happy individuals and you ask have they “made it”…. For me it comes down to the passion and love I have for playing music. If you love what you are doing you are not thinking oh did I make it, your playing music every day because you absolutely love it and its everything you want to do. Everyday I think man, this is what I love doing and as long as I can do this, I am gonna be happy.
DFW Undercover Question: When we talk to young bands, and they’re not even just necessarily young bands, but newly formed bands here locally… we feel for them, because we see the struggles that they go through and they’re trying to get people out to their shows and for some reason, people just don’t come out. We seem then the next night or weekend they are out playing again and they’re playing again to another five people at a venue, do you have any advice for these guys that are out there every weekend trying to build themselves a fan base for their band and for the love of music? They are just trying to get to that next level where they can play for hundreds of people or thousands of people, do you have any words of wisdom for them?
Vinnie’s Response: I would like to say that, first of all, it’s much more difficult than it was when we came up here now. With the digital downloading, the way that everything has transpired within the music industry, man, it would be very, very tough coming out as a new band in 2017, but I would just say, if you want to do it, make sure it’s something you really want to do, put your heart and soul into it, and be prepared for it to be a struggle, because that’s what it is. You’ve got to be ready when the opportunity comes and if it does, then things will go the way you want them to, but until then, you got to go out play those clubs, you got to go out put out those fliers, you got to spread the word, you got to make those hand-made CDs or MP3s or whatever that people pass around. And just try to get your music out there and hopefully you’ll get an opportunity at some point to take it to the national level.
Brandon’s Response: For me, I was fortunate enough to join bigger bands. I did not grow a band from start and build it to a bigger point. But what I would recommend to a musician and I don’t know how much I could give to a full band, but to a musician I would say it’s all about getting out and meeting people. You can be in your room practicing for 12 hours a day, which is what I did when I was a kid, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t know anyone. You have to get out and meet people, you have to reach out and make connections and it is hard, it isn’t going to come easy. You have to get out and go to shows and introduce yourself and meet the people at the shows. For me, I used to post all the time that I was giving drum lessons here is my info here are some videos of me, and I got a lot of work from bands just putting myself out there. I played at church and put myself out there that way.
DFW Undercover Question: So, let’s talk a little bit about you again, tell me what is the hardest part about being on tour for you and what do you miss the most when you’re gone?
Vinnie’s Response: Well, the hardest part about being on tour is the 22 and a half hours you spend every day waiting on that hour and half you get to be performing on stage – the hour and a half performing on stage is what it’s all about. You got to find ways to keep yourself entertained and just try to stay fresh. I mean, it is a lot of wear and tear and you should pace yourself almost like an athlete to get through what they would call a season we’d call a tour. So, that’s the main thing and then when I’m gone on tour what I miss most, is my friends, the familiar surroundings, oh and football season, of course, I’m going to miss getting together with some of my friends during the cowboy games, of course during the hockey season I miss getting to get with the Stars. I enjoy being on the road. Some people are cut out for it and some people aren’t. They just can’t handle being gone. It’s something that I have always enjoy going on the road it’s always worked out for me.
Brandon’s Response: I do love to tour, but it’s monotonous. Even though you are in different cities, a lot of the times you don’t have much of a chance to explore the cities. So a lot of the time you do the same thing day in and day out in different cities, you wake up, you load in, you do sound check you eat dinner, stretch and then you play and then repeat. Your off days of course is the best thing because you can explore new places and cities and meet people. It is hard when you are gone three months or more at a time, you miss your family and your loved ones and you miss out on things, like, it was my sister’s birthday just a few weeks ago and I would have killed to have been there for that, but I was in Europe. Its just certain life events that you miss out on. But in the end, you love what you are doing and you feel so blessed to be able to do what you love more than anything, it’s a balance act to remind yourself you may have to miss some of those things because you are able to do what so many would kill for.
DFW Undercover Question to Vinnie: Somebody told me that you are an extreme fan of comedians? So, tell me who is your favorite stand-up comedian?
Vinnie’s Response: Oh Yeah. Oh, man, that’s really, really tough, because there’s so many, Butch Lord is really good. My buddy, Randy, he owns the comedy club Hyena’s, they do a really great job in bringing all kinds of fresh talent all the time. When I’m not at a rock’n roll show, I’m looking for something new, comedy clubs are next on my list, man.
DFW Undercover Question to Brandon: Other than music, what is your favorite thing to do in life.
Brandon’s Response: I grew up a huge Dallas Cowboys fan. I am still hooked. I also love watching Hockey. I also am a bit of a History guy so I use that when I am in new cities to research and find out everything I can.
DFW Undercover Question: We have a great friend at the DFW Undercover, Joe Matarese, he’s also from New York, you should check him out, we love comedy here.
Vinnie’s Response: Absolutely.
DFW Undercover Question: I’m just wondering, what is the strangest gift that a fan has ever given to you?
Vinnie’s Response: Well, I wouldn’t –say it was given to me, but I was walking down the street one day when I was on tour. I think it was in Arizona or something, and this guy came running up behind me, he’s like, “Hey, hey, Vinnie’,” he comes around and I mean, this guy he runs up, he’s saying, “Man, will you sign my leg?” And I’m like, “Sure, no problem.” And I reached out, I got my marker out, I was going to start writing on his leg and he pulled his leg out, and I didn’t even know he had a prosthetic leg and he just handed it to me. Serious – it had the Far Beyond Driven album cover on it and everything, and it was just, fucking crazy, man. And I was just like, “Wow,” and then he put it back on and took off running back out in the street and I was like, “Did that really just happen?” So, yeah, that’s the craziest thing that’s ever happen.
Brandon’s Response: Honestly, I do not receive too many gifts. He receives tons of cool art work. Fans bring us food to the van. I know that is boring, but I haven’t received anything.
DFW Undercover Question: Growing up, I am sure you had influences, can you talk to me a little bit about who you grew up listening to music wise as well as drumming, who did you follow if there is anybody?
Vinnie’s Response: Well, me and my brother were hugely influenced by the Van Halen brothers, that was just one of the biggest groups for us. The four big bands who did it for me were Van Halen, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, and Kiss, those were the bands that turned a song and made them rock and then there was – there was the local Texas thing, on the recording studios, so we would go down and watch Savvy and people that would record and play and they were big influence on us too. A lot of bands in Austin. Stevie Ray Vaughan was a big influence on us. Me as the drummer, John Bonham was always going to be number one, he’s the greatest rock drummer that ever was. I think every drummer will probably agree with that one. And of course, Neil Peart from Rush, he has been a huge influence. Peter Criss, believe it or not – I love his drumming it is a gift. And “Alex” Van Halen, he is the most underrated drummer, Eddie always gets the spotlight, but Alex is amazing. Those were the main things that I grew up listening to that I dig.
Brandon’s Response: As a young kid my dad introduced me to Boston, he would play that everyday throughout the house, so that is what I remember hearing first as a young kid. From there I stayed in class rock, Van Halen, Led Zepplin, The Cars, The Doors. Once I started to really play drums around 13 – 14 years old I heard metal for the first time, so from the first time all I wanted to listen to metal. Then I heard Pearl Jam which led me to Sound Garden which led me to Alice in Chains, Audio Slave. Now I am into everything, right now I am huge into Jeff Buckley. As a drummer/musician you should draw influences from every genre.
DFW Undercover Question: Did you ever get the opportunity to meet any of those drummers or any of your influencers when you were young? Were you ever able to meet them and just have that awe-struck moment?
Vinnie’s Response: Well, I know them all now. So –
Back then –it was like looking up at these rock n roll awesome people, I mean Gene Simmons he was –the biggest person to me, bigger than life. Now when I see him he’s like, “Hey, Vinnie’s, what’s up?” we are friends, – we know each other well. Same thing with Val Halen and even the whole nine yards. It was – it was crazy being a young kid from Texas and just idolizing these bands growing up, and the next thing you know, you’re playing with them, and then the next thing you know, your friends with them, and then the next thing you know, they’re just like buddies that you went to high school with at some point. So, it’s pretty cool how it all turns full circle once you get in.
Brandon’s Response: It is funny, I met Vinnie Paul about two years ago, it was in Lubbock, Texas. I forget the festival I think it was a radio thing, but he had a bbq going back stage for all the bands, it was just cool he was throwing a party backstage for everyone. It was cool we talked for a bit took a photo, so yeah that was awesome. I try to give people their space on tour, but the coolest thing is when you are touring with an artist you look up to you just gradually become friends with and you realize at the end of the day, they are just regular people.
DFW Undercover Question: If there was one thing that you would change or one thing that you would want to do differently, in any of your bands, whether it’s Pantera or Hellyeah, or Damageplan, what would that be? I know you changed a little bit of the direction of your music in the last couple of years with Hellyeah. So, would you change?
Vinnie’s Response: I am really proud of everything that we ever did in Pantera, we’re proud of the records that we made with Damageplan, the records that me and my brother made with Rebel Meets Rebel. And I really, really love what we do with Hellyeah. We just finished, well our fifth album just came in June and the band has been growing to get bigger and better all the time. And, so, I think it’s all part of the process and I’m really proud to be a part of all the things I’ve done.
Brandon’s Response: I don’t think there is anything right now that I can think of that I would change. I don’t think the general public realizes how many decisions musicians have to make so often. I did the Black Tour when I was 19 and after that tour I had to make a big decision because Black Flag was taking time off do I stay in Texas or should I move. I joined Doyle and other bands in LA and you don’t always know what is right and what is wrong. Right now I think all the decisions I have made up to this point have been good ones.
DFW Undercover: Well, you know what, Vinnie, you have been absolutely – you’ve been very gracious and I thank you so much for your time.
Vinnie’s Response: You got it. Thank you much and I hope that I run into you in Big D some time.
DFW Undercover: Brandon, as always, it has been a pleasure. You know that we wish you the best you are an amazing drummer and we wish you the best.
Brandon’s Response: Thank you very much for this opportunity.