Rex Brown is the former bassist for the Grammy nominated, platinum selling heavy metal band Pantera. After the groups break up in 2003 Brown went on to play with groups such as Down and more recently Kill Devil Hill which features Vinny Appice on drums. Browns memoir titled “Official Truth” has just been released and is a gritty in your face tale from the man who lived it. Media Mikes had the pleasure of talking with Rex recently to discuss his work on the book and to get an update on the second album from Kill Devil Hill.
Adam Lawton: What made now the right time to release this book?
Rex Brown: A friend of mine who runs Bass player magazine in the UK mentioned that he was friends with a guy who writes books and that I should get in to it. At the time it was something I was not interested in at all. I figured I wasn’t dead yet so why write a book now? After thinking about it for awhile I figured it really did make sense to put this out now and then move on down the line. The thing that happened to Dime really fucked me up. I mean he was murdered. This was my best friend who was the best man at my wedding. I lived out of a brown bottle for a long time and doing crazy shit not knowing at the very that that’s not the way to go. I got in touch with my author and started talking about how we wanted to do this thing. I read all of the Rock and Roll books that come out as it’s my passion. That’s what I want to be doing. One thing just led to another and he started writing things down and then submitting them to me. He really had to develop my slang when he put it to print as I don’t line up in ques. I wanted to tell my side of the story, my experiences, and my truths of what went on and it is all true. My author also brought me the idea of have friends and family write various passages to help fill in some gaps. I have short term memory but my memory of the past is pretty fucking vivid. There’s collaboration and corroborating. It’s all true and that what I wanted the book to about. My author really wanted me to dig and that’s what I did.
AL: What was it difficult looking back on some of these stories and hearing perspectives from other people involved?
RB: When I first read them yes. When I got to know a little more about what they were trying to say no. So it’s a yes and no type answer. My sister is in this book a lot so I called her the other day to tell her that when this thing comes out it’s not a cook book or a kid’s book. I told her she probably wouldn’t want to put this out to all her friends. She is 17 years older than me and didn’t lead the hippy life style like I have. The book is different than most books but it’s real. As real as it is it’s the truth. That was something I had to explain to my 13 year old twins. I told them they may get a little flack over this but not to worry about it because everything is going to be all right. This is just dad’s previous life. What I did then is definitely not what I am doing now. I have come full circle and we all grow and mature.
AL: Being that the book is so truthful are you worried in any way about the backlash it may receive from fans or those mentioned in the book?
RB: I don’t give a fuck! Go write your own book fucking book. This is my truth and my experience. This is the best way I knew how to tell things. I wanted to come honest and clean. I am tight with both Philip and Rita but I don’t talk to Vinnie. You have to read this book as a whole not just take a chapter here or there. You have to go from the very beginning to the very end. The ending tells its own story and there are some really fun parts to this book. I am proud of this book and I wouldn’t have put it out if I wasn’t. Of course somewhere in my mind there is maybe 10% of me that is concerned about some dickhead behind a computer that’s going to blast on me. I am certainly not worried about it though. I was put in the middle of so many situations during the bands career and I never said a word to the press about it. I just did what I had to do to keep things going. It’s now time for me to tell me story. There is always the good, the bad and the ugly and this book is not about ribbing one person more than another. It’s about making a band work and making it go through what we went through. That’s why the book is called “Official Truth”. I could have given you some bullshit book but I didn’t. I gave everyone the fucking truth.
AL: What was the most rewarding part of the writing process for you?
RB: Just telling the truth and being able to open myself up. That was something I had never done before. I am a guy that’s all about the jam and getting up on stage every night. I don’t care about all of the other parts. For me to do something like this and open up took a lot of balls. I am not patting myself on the back or anything like that but this stuff had to come out.
AL: Can you give us a head ups on the second Kill Devil Hill record?
RB: If you like the first album this second one blows it completely away as far as I am concerned. Musically it is more of a collaborative and collective effort between all of us. Everyone is doing their own swing but at the same time from doing so many dates together we know each other really well. I know Vinny like the back of my hand. I watched him every night for 7 months on the Heaven and Hell tour. We have always just been really good friends. He is the baddist mother fucking drummer on the planet. You just don’t screw something like that up. The other two guys in the band Mark Zavon and Dewey Bragg are just as badass as we are but they never made it out of town. Mark is a brilliant writer and a hell of a guitar player. Dewey is on the verge of stardom with the stuff he is coming up with. It is really just amazing. Things have almost come full circle between me and these guys. I took a chance by leaving Down and joining these guys. I could have stayed with Down as Phillip and I had been together for 24 years which is a long time. We don’t talk about each other’s music but we are still great friends. Well I hope so after this book. (Laughs) This stuff in there is all public knowledge anyway. This thing has just given me the hunger to want to play again. I can’t tell you how much stronger my life is. It really couldn’t be better and life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Hopefully people will enjoy the book and the new album when it comes out.
Be sure to check out the Media Mikes review of “Official Truth”, here.