Rex Brown is best known for the crushing low end tone he provided for decades as the bassist of seminal metal band Pantera. After that band fell apart, he went on to join former Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo in the band Down, as well as playing with the band Kill Devil Hill.

Rex recently sat down with us to talk about his influences, playing bass (and guitar) and more on an episode of Ernie Ball: String Theory. Here are the top six things we learned during the episode, along with a timestamp for each segment so you can follow along.

#1 – Being the youngest in his extended family shaped his musical influences. (0:16)

As the last of 26 grandchildren, it was through his older sister that he was first introduced to rock music: The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, The Strawberry Alarm Clock, The Turtles. Hearing ZZ Top when he was 8 or 9 years old, however, was what sealed the deal by giving him his first taste of “the boogie.”

#2 – John Paul Jones and Geezer Butler are his biggest bass influences (1:00)

Rex appreciates the bass approach in which the bass doesn’t “step on the vocal,” but locks in with the riffs and the drums. He says that John Paul and Geezer play in that style better than anybody else.

#3 – He believes that music is ultimately about the camaraderie with your fellow musicians (2:16)

Rex and his former Pantera bandmate Dimebag Darrell grew up making music together, and essentially taught each other how to play. He says that without those days of grinding, they never would have become as tight as they were.

#4 – His Cobalt Slinky bass strings are exactly what he needs for his playing style (3:59)

“They’ve got this Slinky vibe, but it’s got this meat to it.” He plays with a lot of slurs, and the Cobalts always come back in tune when he needs them to.

#5 – He’s working on a new solo record (4:44)

He moved to Nashville, TN about a year ago, and it’s brought focus into his life. He already feels at home, and doesn’t want to go anywhere else.

#6 – He feeds off the energy from fans (5:50)

The connection made with fans while giving everything on stage is what it’s all about for Rex. From playing clubs with eight people, to over a million in Moscow, he never gives anything less than 100%.

String Theory

Watch every episode of Ernie Ball: String Theory at our website, featuring such players as Kirk Hammett, Steve Vai, Don Felder and more. You can also enjoy some of the most popular songs Rex has played on in this Spotify playlist.

Guitar Strings

Rex Brown plays Ernie Ball Cobalt bass strings. Do you? Try a set.

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