While debate rages on about the merits and validity of the forthcoming Pantera 'reunion' tour featuring Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante, a recent interview with vocalist Phil Anselmo suggests that the frontman firmly believes that founding members Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul would want their musical legacy to live on.
While Anselmo has yet to make a public statement in regards to the proposed reunion, which was revealed by Billboard last month, with Artist Group International representative Peter Pappalardo stating: "We are thrilled to be working with such an iconic band and bringing their music back to the fans", an interview the singer gave earlier this year, after approaching Wylde and Benante about filling in for the late Abbott brothers, saw him emphatically state that his former bandmates would have wished for Pantera's legacy to live on long after their passing.
"Dimebag and Vince always wanted this band to be a legacy band, to be massive… to be our own conduit to success, simply put," Anselmo told The Pit. "I think Dime and Vince, I know Dime and Vince would want the legacy and the name of Pantera to go on and on and on and in everybody’s damn face. I know that for sure. Absa-fucking-utely dude, that would be their biggest dream."
While Anselmo at no point touches upon the idea of resurrecting the Pantera name, Vinnie Paul frequently and repeatedly shot down the idea that the group would ever reassemble in the wake of his brother's 2004 murder.
In 2012, when asked whether demands from fans to see the group's surviving members share a stage again might lead to a reunion, the drummer said, "Without my brother being part of it, it just doesn't make any sense. I'm not gonna trample on his legacy to make some people happy. We had 14 amazing years together and we sold nearly 40 million records around the world. That's some pretty amazing stuff."
Two years later, addressing the same topic, the drummer was even more blunt: "People are selfish, man," he told EMP Rock Invasion. "They want what they want; they don't care what you want. And it's unfortunate that people go, 'Oh, wow, man, they can get Zakk Wylde to jump up there on stage and it's Pantera again.' No, it's not, you know. It's not that simple.
"If Eddie Van Halen was to get shot in the head four times next week, would everybody be going, 'Hey, man, Zakk, go play for Van Halen. Just call it Van Halen.' You see what I'm saying? I mean, it's really selfish for people to think that, and it's stupid. It's not right at all."
In the interview below, the eldest Abbott brother, who passed away in 2018, shot down the suggestion once more.
"I mean, honestly if Dime was still here that could be a possibility," he admitted, "but since he's not... We had 14 great years, I'm very proud of it and some stones are better left unturned."
In a recent conversation with SiriusXM host Eddie Trunk on his Trunk Nation show, Dimebag Darrell's former friend Zakk Wylde shared his own thoughts on the upcoming tour.
"It's gonna be awesome" he stated. "When Vinnie was still with us, it was always rolling around, that, 'Zakk, would you honour 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.'"
The guitarist also revealed that it was Anselmo who invited him to take part in the upcoming 'reunion' shows.
Although the forthcoming dates are apparently taking place with the approval of Dimebag and Vinnie Paul's estates, many metal fans have expressed hesitation at the thought of a Pantera tour without the Abbott brothers. Others have brought up the memory of Phil Anselmo's 'White Power' outburst in 2016, suggesting that the controversial singer has soiled Pantera's legacy.
Following that incident, Vinnie Paul said of Anselmo in 2016, "He’s done a lot of things that tarnish the image of what Pantera was back then and what it stood for and what it was all about. And it’s sad."
And on the seemingly non-stop rumours that Zakk Wylde could potentially replace Dimebag in a reunited Pantera, Paul added: “For me personally, it’s been over since Pantera was over. A lot of people don’t understand that. There’s reasons why the band wasn’t together anymore. And with my brother no longer being here, there’s no such thing as a reunion for that band, period."