Zakk Wylde & Charlie Benante Speak On Taking Part In Upcoming Pantera Reunion Tour: “It’s A Pantera Celebration. That’s What It Is.”


The recently leaked decision of surviving Pantera members Phil Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass/vocals) to reunite the aforementioned multi-platinum groove metal band for a round of touring next year sent shockwaves throughout the metal community.

Given the years of tension that emerged between the aforementioned pair and the band’s two late members, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott (guitars) and his brother Vinnie Paul Abbott, the reveal of the reunion also generated its fair share of controversy.

Vinnie Paul for one remained against the idea throughout the years after his brother was tragically murdered onstage beside him in 2004. In a 2014 interview with, Paul commented of the possibility of the band reuniting:

“If you had an ex-wife, and it was a pretty bitter split, you might not ever want to talk to her again. Who cares if everybody in the family and your friends want you to say hello again? It’s your choice whether you want to do it or not. And I think a lot of people are selfish. They say, ‘Oh, he oughtta just kiss and make up with Phil and everything will be cool. And then they can go get Zakk Wylde and everything’s gonna be great.’ No, everything’s not gonna be great.”

While the Pantera camp themselves have yet to comment publicly on their plans, it has since been confirmed that Zakk Wylde will be taking over the guitar duties for Dimebag, while Anthrax‘s Charlie Benante will be sitting behind the drum kit for the reunion shows.

That trek will extend to both North America and Europe thus far. It has been reported by Billboard that the estates of both of the late Abbott brothers have signed off on the trek.

Discussing their involvement in the beloved band via an interview earlier today (July 28th) with SiriusXM‘s ‘Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk‘, both Wylde and Benante spoke of their intentions. Wylde stated:

“It’s gonna be awesome. The fellows have always… When Vinnie was still with us, it was always rolling around that, ‘Zakk, would you honor Dime and all of us get together and do this thing?’ And I said, ‘Fellows, whenever you wanna do this thing, I’ll be over here waiting in the dugout and in the bullpen. And just call me when you need me and I’ll learn everything and we’ll go do this.’

“Throughout the years, there’s always been rumblings about it, so it wasn’t until, obviously, now… I was speaking on the phone with Phil — we might have been all on a group call — but Phil was just, like, ‘Zakk, would you honor Dime and would you play?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Phil. Of course. I’ve always said I would. Of course.’ I said, ‘If you guys wanna go do it, then let’s do it.'”

Both Wylde and Benante have also expressed their interest in remaining as authentic as they can to the original performances, with Benante offering:

“I can’t go do this as the drummer from Anthrax because it would be a different sound completely. So the way I’m gonna do that is if you close your eyes, it’s gonna sound like it’s Vinnie, basically. And that’s how it’s gonna be… The sound is gonna sound exactly like him.”

Benante also revealed that he was first approached about the reunion around December of last year, with things becoming official in January/February. Later in the interview,  Wylde and Benante also reiterated that they view the reunion as a chance to pay tribute to their fallen friends, with Benante offering:

“[Anthrax] go back a long way [with Pantera] — ’86, maybe even ’85. We played a show at a place called Cardi’s in Houston, and Pantera were the opening band. It was in [April] ’86. Helstar was on the bill. It was the first time we met them. My friendship with Darrell goes a long way, and I love both of those guys so much.

So, for me, it was a very emotional thing to do this. That’s what it’s all about — it’s all about those two guys and doing it… I don’t wanna see anybody else doing it but me, ’cause I’m gonna do it right.”

Wylde added:

“Whenever [the idea of doing a tribute has] come up, you’re celebrating the guys and you’re celebrating all their achievements and their greatness. And that’s what it is. ‘Cause everybody was just, like, ‘How can they call it a Pantera reunion?’ And I go, ‘Well, it’s Phil and Rex getting back together,’ ’cause they haven’t played together for a while.

I go, ‘It’s a Pantera celebration.’ That’s what it is. It’s no different than Mitch [Mitchell] and Noel [Redding] from ‘Experience Hendrix’ asking Eric Clapton to come out and sing and play Jimi‘s [Hendrix] stuff and honor him, and they’re gonna go out and honor Jimi Hendrix.

To me, it’s the same thing. With Ozzy, we honor Saint Rhoads every night. Every time we’re playing ‘I Don’t Know‘, ‘Mr. Crowley‘ — everything — you’re honoring Randy. To me, it’s an extension of that. You’re honoring Dime, you’re honoring Vinnie and you’re honoring Phil and Rex, all the guys, their achievements, what they achieved as Pantera and all the mountains they conquered. That’s the way I look at it. That’s the way I’ve always looked at it.”


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