The Best of Vinnie Paul's Revolver Advice Column | Revolver

The Best of Vinnie Paul's Revolver Advice Column

Words of wisdom and hilarity from Pantera's fun-loving drummer
vinnie paul 2010 GETTY, Will Ireland/Rhythm magazine via Getty Images
Vinnie Paul, 2010
photograph by Will Ireland/Rhythm magazine via Getty Images

If you're a longtime reader of Revolver across its various incarnations, then you know that, for many years, Vinnie Paul was our advice columnist, offering up nuggets of wisdom to fans seeking guidance from a road-tested rocker. Some of it was heartfelt and serious, a lot of it was brashly politically incorrect, most of it was fun-loving and hilarious, all of it was genuine and unfiltered Vinnie Paul.

From 2001 to 2016, the drummer served in this capacity, and he never missed a deadline. Seriously. Even after the shocking death of his brother Dimebag Darrell, when we thought he might need to take a break, Paul chose to keep going and never missed a deadline. Below, in memory of the fallen metal icon and Revolver contributor, is a selection of some of his best pieces of advice from across his 15 years as a member of the team. R.I.P.

People keep saying, "Beer before liquor, never sicker, and liquor before beer, never fear." Do you think that shit is true? —Chris S.
I don't really drink a lot of beer, 'cause the way I see it, one beer takes up the same amount of room as six shots of booze. So try stickin' to shots, and stop at about six or seven. You'll feel awesome, and you won't puke!

I'm your biggest fan, but my parents don't let me listen to your music. When my dad discovered my Pantera CDs, he smacked me with his belt. What should I do? —Chip
Ask him if he liked Elvis Presley as a kid, and if he remembers how controversial Presley was, and how freaked out his parents were about him when he first came out. If he says yes, then say, "Can I have my Pantera CDs back?" If the answer is no, then tell him to fuck off!

How the hell can you stand being in a band with your little brother? All my little brother does is steal my shit and get me in trouble. And the only thing I want to do is kick his ass. How can we bury the hatchet? Or should I just keep kicking his ass? —Eathan
That's your blood brother, man! Bury the hatchet! Dime and I get along so well because we have a common bond and goal, and that is to play the most kick-ass music possible! So try to find something you have in common instead of focusing on your differences, and build your relationship from there.

I have read that you're a good cook. Could you give me some good cooking ideas? What are your favorite dishes? —Christy
I love to cook. Emeril Lagasse is my hero 'cause he knows how to "Kick it up a notch — Bam!" I really like all kinds of food, especially ethnic food. Try this when you're in a hurry: Get a wienie. Put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Take it out and put it on a bun. Add mustard. Bam! You've got a hot dog.

In the "Revolution Is My Name" video, how did you ignite your drumsticks? —Ryan
Very carefully. Kat [a.k.a. John Brooks, Paul's longtime drum tech] wrapped my sticks with some Duvetyne and then soaked them in unleaded gasoline. It's really important to use unleaded 'cause the fumes from regular gasoline don't smell as good. It really feels hot to play with them on fire but I love it.

How hard was it for you to get signed to a record label when you started playing in a band? I notice that a lot of no-talent, crappy and "fashionable" bands get signed left and right, while the hardworking "normal" joes get the shaft. —Jeff
Sad but true! Major labels are in a sad state. It's all corporate! No heart, no soul. They're all looking for the next triple-platinum flavor of the month. Generally, that's why when something new and different comes along, it's on an indie label. I think there is a revolution in music coming, as the industry is at an all-time low. Hang in there! Black Sabbath said it best: Never say die!

What's better: being rich, or being famous? Why? —John
Being poor, because nobody wants to borrow money from you!

What advice would you give someone who might get jumped? —Ron
When I was in sixth grade, there was this big fat Mexican kid who didn't like me. I was riding my bike one day with my brand-new Star Wars metal lunchbox. He jumped out from the bushes, grabbed my lunchbox, and beat the shit out of me with it. I never knew why he did it. So my advice is to go home a different way.

If you were a superhero, what would your superpowers be? —Tom
I already am a superhero, and my superpower is that I can hook up with chicks at the drop of a hat.

I play in a band and it takes up all my time. I don't care about getting straight As, but I don't want to flunk out of high school, either. How do I balance my time between my band and my classes? —Shawn
That's a real challenge, 'cause I know your music is what you live for. But you gotta keep those grades up so you won't be another idiot in this world. Just pay more attention to your teachers when in class so you don't have to study so much after class. Then you got plenty of time to get your groove on and do what you love.

I recently returned from Iraq where I saw some shit that I can't get out of my head. I always thought seeking mental help was something only pussies do, but now I think I might really need it. Should I go? My dad was in 'Nam and he never cried about it. —anonymous
Dude, first off, thanks for serving our country. We all appreciate what you guys do for us. Ya know, nobody knows it better than you, and if you bring a counselor into your life, they may screw you up even worse. But then again, they may be able to help. I would try it, but if it feels uncomfortable, stop seeing them. Either way, you've been through a lot and if ya feel like cryin', then do it!

What makes a great musician, and how do you become one? —Sandra
Talent, heart, soul and love of music. You have to give your life to music — it has to be your first love, and you have to not be afraid to make mistakes. Once you have all that, you learn to drink and enjoy life! Next thing you know, you're Mozart!

It seems like I'm the only person in my group of friends who even knows who Anthrax and Pantera are. Many of my female friends keep telling me to be more girly. They say I curse too much and shouldn't wear band tees and play guitar. Why are they trying to change me? —Mandy
Because you're different, exciting and know what you like!!!!!!!!!! Keep kickin' ass!!

Every time I play my guitar onstage in front of people, I get a boner. What should I do? — Chris
SHOW IT TO THE CROWD!!!!!

I am 13 and a beginner at playing drums and, well, I'm having a lot of trouble multitasking. Like, if I have to use the bass, the snare and the cymbal, my brain overloads and I get mixed up. Any advice for getting better? —Morgan
You just have to think about independence ... Each limb has to have a brain of its own. Keep at it and soon you will start to hear and see things a little differently … This will help you divide your brain into quarters and it will control your arms and legs properly ... This is what all great drummers do!!! Rock on!!!

I was thinking about moving from Billings [Montana] to L.A. to pursue my musical dream. Do you think it's worth it? I know that Pantera never moved in the early days and that you made it happen while staying in Texas. —Bjorn
L.A. blows ... it's overrated ... Billings ain't exactly the hotbed for metal but neither was Iowa but it's on the map now 'cause of Slipknot!!!! Stay there and put Billings on the map!!!

What do you look forward to doing after you retire? —Melissa
Jackin' off!!!!!!!!!!! Are you crazy? I ain't retiring for shit. I was born to rock, and that will never stop!!

I'm a 22-year-old thrash drummer who can't start a band because I'm black. People love the way I play, but when they see and find out that I'm black, there's always a reason. You're my inspiration, so what should I do? —Anthony
Keep kickin' ass, brother!!! Just hang in there, and the right opportunity will come your way. Break down the "sound barrier," baby!!! Hellyeah!

I've always wondered, how do you become a roadie? —Torrey
Fail as a musician!!!!!

My parents passed away a few years ago, and I was wondering what song would be good to play to help remember the good times. —Jeff
First of all, I'm very sorry to hear that. This is all about the time you spent with them. Just rock out to the tunes that bring back those great times. Honestly, a song I really dig is "Damn Good" by David Lee Roth. It really sparks some memories and is a lifting song!!!

I've seen you mention LSD (Lead Singer Disease) in your advice column a couple times, and I gotta say my band's frontman definitely has that shit. He's always chatting up chicks when we're breaking down our gear or he's walking offstage if shit doesn't sound right to him. We kicked him out, but now he's back since there isn't anyone else in our town who can sing our music. How do I reach out to this guy? —Norman
That's a tough one. It's OK to have an ego but it's not OK to be an asshole!!! If he's the only guy who can fit the bill, try playin' on his level. Cock-block him. Walk off the stage when it doesn't sound right. Run off and leave his PA at the gig. I bet after a few times he would see what a dick he is and make some changes!!! That's all I got other than fire his ass and move to a new town!!!! Good luck.

My band was going really well, getting good gigs and even working on a record. Then my guitarist got this brilliant idea for us to all to dress like knights, like Manowar. He thinks it will get us signed. What's the best way to tell him that that idea is corny as hell? I don't want to quit! —Marc
Hey, it's an idea!!!! Why don't you try it and then when everyone sees how dumb you look, I think it will resolve itself!!! There's only room for one Manowar in this world!!!!! Cheers.

What's the best way to make a first impression on a hot chick? How do I get them to talk to me? —Blaine
Brother, dress to impress!!! ZZ Top said it best when they said, "Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man." Let your threads do the talkin'!!! Amen.

My friend's boyfriend is overbearing and controlling. He won't let her hang out with her guy friends because he gets jealous and he won't let her hang out with her girl friends because he thinks they will all talk shit about him — which we do anyway since he sucks. Also, he doesn't let her dress the way she used to because he says it's too "provocative." How do I make her realize that he is an asshole? —Brenda
Take a few pictures of him being shitty to her. Then write at the top of each picture "asshole." Then show them to her. Those pictures are worth a thousand words, and if she has any common sense, she will get "the picture"!!! No pun intended!!!

I'm massively afraid of spiders. I scream like a girl whenever I run into one, and my friends can't see that. How do I get over my fear? —Christoph
Spiders are scary!!! If I were you, I would scream like a girl, too!! If your friends are such badasses, challenge them to eat the next spider that crosses your path!! I bet it will bite their tongues and shut 'em up!!

I've known this girl for a year and we've become really close. We have a lot of things in common. The problem is though, my best friend, who introduced us to each other, has liked her forever. I'd feel like I'd be breaking bro code by asking her out. What would you do? —John
Bros before hoes!!! You know the drill. So in the words of the great King Diamond, "Don't Break the Oath!"

Vinnie! I got fired from my band recently. I feel pretty depressed about it because I loved the band and playing guitar with them. Every time I write a riff I still think of that band. I want to feel confident like I don't need them anymore, because I guess I don't. Do you have any advice for moving on? —Jack
Well, first of all I'd figure out why you got fired!!! You must've been doing something wrong in the first place or you'd still be in the band!!! So secondly, it's time to move on and you got to have confidence in yourself otherwise nobody will have confidence in you!!! Now start writing your new hit, "Stairway to Movin' On." Cheers!

I finally found a girl in my small hick town who listens to the same music as me and even hung out with me at a huge rockfest. As a guy who is your average teenager who is shy and doesn't really get the girls, I finally asked her on a date. She politely rejected as she feared it would be a little awkward. What should I do, man? —KJR
Persistence!!!!! Persistence, my man!!! If at first you don't succeed, try, try, again!! She likes you and maybe hasn't had a chance to think of you that way!!! Take her to a KISS concert and I bet she will see it your way ... then she might pull the trigger on your LOVE GUN!

At a recent show I was amazed at how brutal some of the young girls were in the crowd. I found myself getting a little angry, so, I was wondering, at what point is it OK to trip them? If I can't trip them, what retaliation do I have? —Matt
No retaliation, bro!!! Be glad there are girls there. I've found out that chicks that get in the pit, they're the shit!!