20 Things You Might Not Know About Pantera's 'Vulgar Display of Power'
By Dave Basner
February 23, 2018
On February 25th, 1992, Pantera released their influential sixth studio album, Vulgar Display of Power. To celebrate its 26th anniversary, here are 20 things you might not know about it:
1. The album title comes from a line in the 1973 film The Exorcist. When a priest asked the possessed girl, Regan MacNeil, to break her own straps and release herself using her evil power, she says, "That's much too vulgar a display of power."
2. The album cover features a photo of a man being punched in the face. The band decided on the concept after telling their label they wanted "something vulgar, like a dude getting punched." The first photo they were show was of a boxer with a punching glove, which the band did not approve. Instead they went with the current version.
3. Vinnie Paul once said the guy on the album cover was paid $10 a punch and was hit more than 30 times to get the right photo, but photographer Brad Guice has said the guy was never actually hit.
4. As they started work on the album, the band's goal was to make the heaviest album of all time.
5. Pantera started work on the album having already had "A New Level," "Regular People (Conceit)" and "No Good (Attack the Radical)" as demos. All the other songs were written in the studio.
6. The effort was recorded at Pantego Sound Studio in Texas. It was owned by Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul's dad Jerry Abbott.
8. There were some name changes during the making of the album. Dime, who is credited on the record as "Diamond Darrell," changed his nickname to Dimebag, while bassist Rex Brown, who previously went as "Rexx Rocker," chose to just use his name.
9. Phil Anselmo explained that the opening track, "Mouth for War," is about channeling your hate into something productive. Of course, he also explicitly says that in the lyrics, "When I channel my hate to productive/I don't find it hard to impress."
10. "A New Level" was written to be performed live. Phil explained, "We definitely wanted to make a statement musically that would coincide with this live show that we had - the energy that we were putting out there."
11. "A New Level" features the lyrics "Vulgar. Power," a reference to the album title.
12. The song "Walk" was born at a soundcheck during the Cowboys from Hell tour. Dimebag played it and the band loved it.
13. Anselmo has said that "Walk" was written for the band members' friends who treated them differently when they arrived home from their Cowboys from Hell tour. Phil said, "They thought it had gone to our heads, like we've got this rock-star thing embroidered across our faces." His message to them was "take your f***ing attitude and take a f***ing walk with that. Keep that s**t away from me."
14. Phil wrote "This Love" about a relationship he had been in and was really mad about. He called her "clingy."
15. "Live in a Hole" is about the struggles people with social anxiety face and how they feel the only solution is to isolate themselves, but they don't have inner peace when they do that.
16. "Hollow" is about a friend who slipped into a coma. The band hasn't said if it is about a real person.
17. Although "Hollow" is one of Pantera's best known songs, it failed to chart.
18. In 2012, the song "Piss" came out. The track was recorded during sessions for Vulgar but it wasn't featured on the original album. The main riff from it however was used in the song "Use My Third Arm" on Far Beyond Driven, the follow-up to Vulgar Display of Power.
19. The album peaked at 44 on the Billboard 200 but spent a whopping 79 weeks on the chart, the most of any Pantera record.
20. Vulgar Display of Power is Pantera's best-selling album and has since gone double platinum in America for sales over two-million copies.