The legend behind Pantera‘s cover for their 1992 album Vulgar Display Of Power is pretty brutal. According to the late and great Vinnie Paul, Pantera paid some dude to get punched in the face – $10 per punch – while the band took photos until they got one they like. Paul said it took 31 punches, bassist Rex Brown claimed 32. The real story is way less violent.
According to Vulgar Display Of Power photographer Brad Guice in an interview with Loudwire, the model’s name was Sean Cross and he was only pushed.
“At the last second, I know Ford Model Agency called me and said, ‘Hey, we have a long-haired model coming from LA,'” said Guice. “He came in and he was perfect for the shoot. His name was Sean Cross. We ended up becoming very good friends.”
Guice added: “At the time, I was getting really well known for a style I was developing – and that was like a lot of movement to photographs. I would take images and combine strobe [lighting] with tungsten [film], and then I’d put the shutter speed on my camera at a slow shutter speed.
“Through the movement, it would blur and become soft. And you would have this striking movement to pictures. So I was well-known for that. So I believe that obviously, that was the reason they called me. Because they wanted some kind of drama to what could just be a straightforward picture.”
Guice also added on the rumor that anyone was punched at all: “I’ve heard the stories, and people have asked me many, many times. But that’s not what happened. It was a professional photo shoot. [Cross] was pushed quite hard actually because I wanted it to look physical. So he was pushed really hard each and every time, but he was never punched per se.”
So there you go – it wasn’t a vulgar display so much as it was a semi-aggressive one. Though Semi-Aggressive Display Of Power is a pretty shitty album name.
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