The controversial Pantera 'reunion', which finally played its first dates in South America near the end of last year, has been one of the most talked about metal stories in recent years. Featuring Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown backed by Zakk Wylde on guitar and Anthrax's Charlie Benante on drums, taking the place of the deceased Abbott brothers, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, the reunion tour will continue across 2023, taking in dates in Europe, Japan and North America.
As it happens, the lineup of the new-look Pantera could have been very different indeed, at least according to a recent interview by Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti. Talking to Overdrive last month, the guitarist - who recently released an album of Frank Sinatra covers - says that Rex Brown himself once invited Tremonti to put his name forward should a Pantera reunion ever materialise.
“A number of years ago, I was talking with Rex at the Download Festival," he explains, "and he was talking about a possible Pantera reunion. He looked at me and said; ‘You should put your name in the hat,’ and I was like; ‘No way, man!’ You have to be a certain type of personality to take on that role.
“It’s not just about the playing, it’s very much the personality," he continues, "and Dime had a huge presence. Put it this way, nobody’s gonna flip off Zakk Wylde onstage, they very well might do that to me, but there’s just no way I would put myself in that situation.”
The Pantera tour has courted a divided response from the metal scene. The estate of Vinnie Paul - who was vocally opposed to the idea of any kind of Pantera reunion before his death in 2018 - all but dismissed it, noting: “There can never be a Pantera reunion without Vinnie and Dime." It did add, however, "there is no better way to celebrate and honor Vinnie and Dime's legacy, than to bring the music of Pantera directly to the fans.
“We are honored that Charlie and Zakk, their very close friends and musical brothers, will share the stage with Philip and Rex, to unleash the power of Pantera live around the world."