Damageplan at the Opera House (735 Queen East), tonight (Thursday, June 17), 8 pm. $15. 416-466-0313. Rating: NNNNN
I am an easily amused person. this becomes clear the day of my Damageplan interview when I'm told that Patrick Lachman, singer for the post-Pantera yet still groove-oriented metal band, is staying in an English hotel under the name of the equally groove-oriented Rick James. That - along with their debut disc, New Found Power (Elektra), featuring a song called Cold Blooded - leads me to hope that Lachman's a fan of the disreputable funk star. Not so. When I ask, he explains he picked the name because he's a Dave Chappelle fan.
But when it comes to filling the steel-toed angry shoes of bald Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo, are his feet big enough?
"I welcome the challenge. This whole business is a struggle to begin with. I'm no stranger to adversity.
"At the end of the set, I always get the thumbs-up from everybody in the band. The main thing is that my bandmates enjoy it.
"I think the fans are definitely convinced, too. The only people who were disappointed were people who wanted Pantera right out of the chute. That's why we're not called Pantera - because we aren't Pantera. We're a different band with different members and a different sound. This is an opportunity for us to branch out and become a lot more diverse."
Lachman previously played guitar with Halford. He struck up a friendship with Dimebag Darrell after meeting him at a trade show and exchanging high fives. Soon after, Darrell flew to Las Vegas to see Halford and showed Lachman his Halford leg tattoo. After the Pantera breakup, an event that Metallica-style therapy sessions couldn't have prevented, Lachman hooked up with Darrell and Vinnie Paul to write vocals over the brothers' tuneage. It was an odd songwriting process that Lachman thinks will change by the next album.
"This band is essentially new. The chemistry is building, and we're getting more solidified in what we're trying to accomplish. We're actually looking forward to making the next record, which we know is gonna be sick. The writing process is gonna flow a lot easier."