Dimebag Darrell's guitar tech Grady Champion says the upcoming Pantera 'reunion' shows will honour the memory of the late Abbott brothers.
Black Label Society mainman and former Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde has been confirmed as Dimebag's replacement for the upcoming Pantera shows, while Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante will take the place of Dime's brother, Vinnie Paul.
Wylde previously revealed that Champion would work with him on the road, and now the guitar tech has shared an update from rehearsals.
While some fans have dismissed the shows as a tribute rather than a reunion, Champion believes the Abbott brothers will be honoured by the performances. And he reports that Wylde is in blistering form on guitar.
Champion says: This is such a pleasure for me. Seriously. It’s coming. I get to listen to this man and this band play everyday for, I dunno groundhog days. I get to enjoy the artistry of Father Zakk.
"He’s cooking man, and I’m in the kitchen eating everything. I get to play with buttons and pedals like old times, and most of all, we are honouring the boys' memory. Stronger than all. Here for the right reasons. I’m already seven cries in."
Wylde mentioned Grady in a recent interview, when he said he'll be faithful to Dime's sound when he performs with Pantera.
He said: "I'll be using my guitars, effects, and pedals, a lot of the pedals that Dime actually gave me, and yeah, I'll definitely be using some of Dime's pedals and stuff, too.
“I'm still working out how it'll all come together, but I am looking forward to seeing how it all flows once I do. Dime's tech, Grady, is gonna be coming down too, which is great."
The Pantera lineup for the shows will be completed by singer Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown.
Pantera 2022 and 2023 live dates
Dec 02: Toluca de Lerdo Hell & Heaven Open Air, Mexico
Dec 06: Monterrey Metal Fest, Mexico
Dec 09: Bogotá Knotfest, Columbia
Dec 11: Santiago Knotfest, Chile
Dec 12: Santiago Movistar Arena, Chile*
Dec 15: Sao Paulo Vibra, Brazil#
Dec 18: São Paulo Knotfest, Brazil
May 26: Sofia Armeets Arena, Bulgaria
May 27: Bucharest, Metalhead Meeting Open Air Festival, Romania
May 30: Budapest Barba Negra, Hungary
May 31: Vienna Gasometer, Austria
Jun 2-4: Nürburgring Rock Am Ring, Germany
Jun 2-4: Nürnberg Rock Im Park, Germany
June 06: Lodz Atlas Arena, Poland
June 12: Prague O2 Arena, Czech Republic
June 13: Berlin Verti Music Hall, Germany
June15: Copenhagen Copenhell, Denmark
June 21: Hamburg Edel Optics, Germany
Jun 22-24: Oslo Tons Of Rock, Norway
* Headline show
# with Judas Pries