Tagged: Pantera

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Legendary Radio Personality, Metal Music Promoter FRANK WEBB (aka BLACK FRANK) Inducted Into LOUISVILLE ROCK & METAL HALL of FAME

By: Donnie Hardin

In 1986 my older brother Kenny had taken me to my first real concert at the age of nine to see Ozzy Osbourne at the old Cardinal Stadium. A young band of dirty haired, ripped jean wearing, greasy-haired thrashers called Metallica, unknown to me, opened the show. Cliff Burton would die in a tragic accident a couple of months later.

By the time 1993 rolled around I was a teenage headbanger, while proudly toting my beloved Walkman cassette player to school, getting geared up for the day with the sounds of Metallica, Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, Anthrax, Megadeth, and a selective assortment of others, I was hungry for more.

Frank w/ Lajon of Sevendust

Frank w/ Lajon of Sevendust

There was nothing quite as awesome as brand new 10-pack of shiny, blank cassette tapes. When you ripped off the packaging they had a unique smell. Brand new plastic. Untouched. By the radio we would sit patiently waiting for that one song, but it would only be hard rock at best, like Guns-N-Roses, Skid Row, or Whitesnake. There were no metal tunes on rotation. (Not until Metallica released ‘One’ off ‘…And Justice For All’ in 1989. But never would you hear Slayer, Pantera, Testament, Sepultura, Suicidal Tendencies, Metal Church, or any of the heavier bands. You had to first read about new releases in Metal Edge or Hit Parader magazines, which were expensive, or be lucky enough to have an older brother who had friends with jobs and played in bands. But it was all spread about, for me anyway.

On August 8, 1993, that would ALL change when our local rock radio station, The Fox, had hired a disc jockey by the name of ‘BLACK FRANK’, and gave him a show originally called ‘The Metal Pit’, later renamed ‘The Attitude Network’, complete with eerie background sounds such as grinding metal, power saws, and spooky, cool noises behind this seriously incredible radio voice. This guy knew his shit too. he wasn’t playing songs off of a list passed down from some geek in a suit and tie somewhere high up the corporate food-chain at Clear Channel Productions.

Dave Mustaine w/ his pal Frank (1995)

Dave Mustaine w/ his pal Frank (1995)

It was Frank’s list, metal news, release dates, tour dates, and various metal happenings worldwide, scrawled out on a legal pad. I would sit in my bedroom with a fresh cassette tape every week waiting for midnight to strike because he would likely play something by a band I had never heard of, that I would love, like Machine Head, Biohazard, Skinlab, Corrosion of Conformity, Downset, Korn, Voivod, Fear Factory, on and on.

Frank Webb aka Black Frank (I wouldn’t know his real name for about twenty years later)… He had the perfect voice for any radio station covering any genre in the country, and we, the hard-edged thrashers, slammers, fist pumping armies of the 502, 270, and 812 area codes, we were the lucky ones because he was one of the biggest reasons, if not THE biggest reason amazing national acts started coming out of the woodwork to play Louisville Gardens, The Brewery Thunderdome, or The Palace Theater, shaking up our previously tame and humble river city, inspiring would be musicians as an unstoppable collective, eventually kicking ass with our own brand of metal, as the incredible local scene would take hold in the mid-to-late 1990’s, producing nationally relevant acts such as My Own Victim, Primer 55, and Flaw along with local titans Faceplant, Incursion, Shapeless Matrix, Luther, Factor 9, Engrind, and so many more. more, all of which FRANK WEBB promoted, pushed, pimped out, and believed in as much as anyone could have.

Frank getting loose w/ The Bobby Burns of Primer 55

Frank getting loose w/ The Bobby Burns of Primer 55

I have heard many of my peers talk about the old days, before we all had the luxury of Google, You Tube, when Black Frank could be counted on every single week to play some groundbreaking metal. Then when we started making the metal ourselves, he enabled us, whether you were Dimebag Darrell or unknown me, he would, and continues to carry on a great conversation with anyone whether they are a rock star or unsigned drummer of a garage band in the south end.

I ramble, but I ramble for a good reason.

Thank you FRANK WEBB for your service to this very fortunate metal music community. You may not have been born in Louisville, but you are LOUISVILLE’S BLACK FRANK.

It is about time that Frank Webb hits the airwaves again.

Phil Anselmo explaining to Frank that he needs to get back on the air!

Phil Anselmo explaining to Frank that he needs to get back on the air!

THE MISADVENTURES OF BLACK FRANK: Part 3 – PANTERA

 
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By: Frank Webb
      In my years as a metal deejay, no band had a deeper impact on my personal and professional life than Pantera. They were the Rock of Gibraltar on my radio show ‘The Metal Pit’. No band, not even Metallica, who I played a lot in the early years because rock radio hadn’t discovered anything yet except the ‘Black Album’ and “One,” got the audience more fired up than Pantera. The phones would light up whenever I put a track on, and back then, I could play anything, even “Fucking Hostile” and the infamous “Good Friends and a Bottle of Pills“. Yes, Pantera was my number one band. And then, they became so much more.
        I actually met Pantera before I came to Louisville, back in 1991, when I worked at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco for Bill Graham Presents. I knew who they were when they played their first show in the Bay Area behind “Cowboys From Hell“, but I hadn’t really listened to them. They hadn’t really hit the local metal scene, who were mostly into their own thrash legends, like Testament, Exodus, Violence, Death Angel, and of course, the heroes of the day, (ouch)…Metallica.
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I was early for work that day as Art Abuse, the security manager at The Warfield, enlisted me to help with the load in. Later, when the heavy lifting was done and everyone prepared for sound check, I stood in the main aisle and it was there that I met Darrell Abbott for the first time.
In another episode, I will go into my eventual close friendship with Dime, but, for now, he’s just this young guy who walks by me, stops, and says in his Texas drawl, “This sure is a beautiful theater.” We had a brief conversation as I told him about how The Warfield had been built in the ’20s by Loew’s and how much I loved the place. He told me that it was his first time in San Francisco and how excited he was to be playing in front of real metal fans. I gave him a little encouragement, he thanked me, told me he had to go do sound check, and said “Nice meeting you, sir.” I told him that I was no sir, exchanged smiles and nods, and we both went about our business. I walked away thinking that he was a pretty nice guy, then watched him and the band rip it up at sound check, then later that night in front of a raucous audience with a mean ass mosh pit. I was a fan from that day.
          About 3 years later, sitting behind the mic as a DJ, doing my first episodes of The Metal Pit, I found out quickly just how popular Pantera was in Louisville and I gleefully played the shit out of them. The band and record company realized before long that I was their ally and when they started their “Vulgar Display of Power” tour, I was all of a sudden a VIP, which meant access to interviews and, most importantly, an invitation to share in an endless parade of left-handed cigarettes being passed around and washed down with massive doses of Crown Royal.
          As the years went by, there were so many great shows and memories, from passing a joint onstage with Phil Anselmo while he sat on the edge and sang “Planet Caravan” to Ozzfest, to when they were on the bill for the Black Sabbath reunion show on New Years 1998 in Phoenix with Slayer, Megadeth, and Soulfly.
             I guess that the show that I remember more than any other (Crown Royal makes you forget a lot of shit) is the last time that I saw Pantera. It was 2000, the “Reinventing The Steel” tour at Freedom Hall. Dime arranged for me and my friend Tom Vickery, aka Metallica Tom, to actually sit onstage during the show and, during the encore, they set up a microphone and we sang “Walk” and “This Love” with the band. Mikey Doling, who played in Snot and who was in Soulfly at the time, also joined in. Afterward, more Crown Royal and a late night trip, with 2 tour buses parked right on Preston Highway, to The Godfather, because Vinnie Paul said “Let’s all go to a titty bar“. I don’t know that I’ve ever been drunker without being violently sick.pantera-dimebag090
A few years later while in Damageplan, Dime and Vinnie did our morning show on The Fox and told the story of that night and my involvement in the debauchery. Dime said that I had drunk so much, that I had turned from Black Frank to White Frank. That totally cracked everyone up and that will always be my most lasting memory of Pantera.
           The years have passed, the band broke up. There were hard feelings, there were the other bands and, of course that horrible night in Columbus in 2004. I have spoken to Vinnie Paul a couple of times with Hellyeah. He isn’t the same, much more guarded. I recently saw Kill Devil Hill and reconnected with Rex Brown (Pantera bassist) and, a couple of years ago, I talked about boxing with Phil after a Down show at Expo Five.
           It’s all just memories now, and the music that’s embedded in my soul. I’ll tell you this, though. Pantera is the number one band in the history of metal radio in Louisville, Kentucky.  In spite of everything that’s come along since, they still are.
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Frank Webb aka ‘BLACK FRANK’