Paul Booth illustrates the cover of the graphic novel Pantera

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It’s hard to believe, but it’s been 30 years since Pantera’s revolutionary “Vulgar Display of Anger” was released. Famous fans of the group have come together to produce comic adaptations of the album’s 11 tracks, creating a fantastic backing track to play back as you blast through the album at full volume.

We at Inked were thrilled to learn that Paul Booth had created a cover for the book. In the following Q&A, Booth tells us where he found his inspiration, reminisces about his tour with Pantera and more.

What was your impression hearing Pantera for the first time?

I would say the thing that stuck in my mind the most at that time was that I loved them the moment I first heard them. Mainly because they didn’t remind me of anyone else and the music was so heavy it was ungodly!

What are your personal thoughts and favorite tracks from “Vulgar Display of Power?”

I have to say “Hollow” and “Walk” are my two favorites. Probably because they both struck a chord with me regarding current events in my life at that time. I guess the lyrics of a song is something that I always pay close attention to when deciding if I like something or not. Overall I really have to say this is one of their strongest albums in my opinion…so powerful.

You spoke with Phil Anselmo to help create this cover following the original cover punch. What was the concept and process here?

When I was first asked to do this, they told me to do art that would be dependent on the original album cover. So I thought about it and I really didn’t want to just paint another guy punching another guy. The concept I came up with was to depict the aftermath of the original album cover, like the next scene shot if it was a movie. So I did a photoshoot for that and put together an idea that was mostly photography and Photoshop as a digital image. I showed it to Phil and explained the concept to him, and he was really into it. He played a big part in what must have been the development of the fuzzy fist in the foreground that hit the dude, and adding a little more blood, of course. Luckily, we were able to extend the timeframe long enough for me to actually do a proper oil painting of the scene. I’m so glad we were able to pull it off! It was always that distorted face in the original album that I loved so much, I wanted to try to capture it and I hope I did… At least my version of the results anyway.

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What was it like tattooing band members? Were they fans of your work?

I think it’s safe to say that we definitely had a mutual respect for each other and each other’s talents. My first tour with them dates back to 1994. Igor and Max Cavalera took me on tour with them. It was Pantera, Sepultura and Biohazard. It was my first time on the road, and it was pretty crazy! Of course, being on the tour and being backstage all the time, I spent a lot of time with the bands and got to know them. Phil was really the only one I ended up tattooing. I spent time with Dimebag designing a piece for him, but he was a very “in the moment” guy and you could never really make a timeline or a plan, it was always hit and miss. I never ended up getting this tattoo. But when I met Phil, it was kind of funny because the first time we met, I guess he had heard about me beforehand, and of course I knew who he was. He was having a party in his dressing room when we first met. We ended up talking and we hit it off because we both have a huge interest in horror movies and haunted houses.

He had started working with his boys in New Orleans with House of Shock, and he ended up inviting me there to scare people with him. So of course I said yes! I went back every October for six or seven years and worked at House of Shock and had a good old time on what I considered my Halloween vacation.

But yes, Pantera on tour… These guys were crazy. I miss those days so much. I would tell stories but I would probably get in trouble, hahaha.

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