Charlie Benante

Charlie Benante On The Return Of Pantera: “This Was Never A Reunion. How Can It Be A Reunion Without Vinnie And Dime Here?”


Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante has commented further on his experience behind the drum kit for this past weekend’s first Pantera reunion/tribute show. The Texan groove metal kings returned to the stage for the first show officially billed as ‘Pantera‘ this past Friday, December 02nd, at the ‘Hell & Heaven Metal Fest‘ in Toluca, Mexico and have since hit the stage again last night, December 06th.

Benante and guitarist Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne) were recruited to takeover for the late Vinnie Paul Abbott and “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott respectively, joining returning vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist/vocalist Rex Brown.

Benante has been the most vocal thus far about his time with the band, initially commenting after that first show on social media. In a new appearance on SiriusXM‘s ‘Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk‘, Benante further discussed the experience of partaking in the band’s first live performance in over 20 years:

“Basically, we get up there and there’s a big kabuki curtain in front of us and the four of us just up there. And Philip came up to the drum riser and we just had this moment where we were shaking hands. We were so excited. And then I looked to Rex and I looked to Zakk, and the four of us just had this connection.

And before I knew it — boom — we were right into playing ‘A New Level‘. And it was off from that point. And I was looking at the setlist, and I saw the next song coming up, and I was excited about that song. And then that song would finish, and I looked down, and I’m, like, ‘Oh, I fucking love this song. Yeah!’ It was that all night for me — just getting super hyped up about the next song and what was coming up. So I enjoyed myself.”

Benante also elaborated on the level of appreciation he has for the Abbott brothers and how that played into his performance:

“Before we went on, Sterling Winfield, who was very close to Dime and Vinnie — he basically engineered the last three records that Pantera did — he brought me a pair of Vinnie‘s old gloves, and he brought me one of Darrell‘s old wristbands that he wore. And I put the wristband on and I played the show with that wristband. And I put the gloves in my pocket. So I had both of them with me that night.”

The decision to reunite Pantera without two of its key members and a long-standing grudge following the murder of “Dimebag“, remained controversial among the group’s fanbase. Vinnie Paul had indirectly blamed Phil Anselmo for that murder after an escalating war of words emerged in the press amid Pantera‘s original breakup.

It’s worth pointing out though that both Anselmo and Brown have received the blessings of the estates of the Abbott brothers to bring the band back. Responding to the backlash that Pantera‘s return has generated, Benante offered:

“This was never a reunion. How can it be a reunion without Vinnie and Dime here? Sometimes people will send me something, and I see things online, and it’s so disrespectful to both Darrell and Vinnie, and it’s totally disrespectful to us too. And it’s just, like, ‘Man, if you don’t wanna come, you don’t have to come.’

One of the first things I said to Philip on the phone, I said, ‘This, to me, is more on an emotional level than any other level.’ This means a lot to me personally, to go out there and represent those guys and represent the Pantera name. And that’s all I’d ever want for me. I don’t care about it financially and stuff like that; this, to me, I had to do this. I didn’t wanna see anybody else playing these songs but me up there.”


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