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Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante comment on Pantera 'reunion': "it was an emotional thing to do this"

Zakk Wylde playing guitar on stage next to Charlie Benante behind a drum kit
(Image credit: Joseph Okpako/WireImage, Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Earlier this month, it was revealed that Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown would be reuniting to go on tour playing Pantera songs together, recruiting Zakk Wylde and Anthrax's Charlie Benante in place of the late Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, who died in 2004 and 2018 respectively. The tour is expected to go across North America in 2023.

The news arrived shrouded in controversy, splitting the internet down the middle with many fans thrilled at the prospect of seeing Pantera songs performed live again, while others saw no point in the band reuniting without the Abbott brothers, especially given Vinnie Paul's vocal opposition to the idea of a Pantera reunion in years gone by.

Many fans were also quick to bring attention to Anselmo's infamous white power outburst in 2016, pointing out that it tarnished Pantera's reputation and legacy.

In spite of the internet's divided opinion, Wylde and Benante are eagerly preparing what they can bring to the Pantera table, especially in terms of filling the boots of the  Abbotts.

In conversation with SiriusXM host Eddie Trunk on his Trunk Nation show, Wylde shared his thoughts on the upcoming tour. "It's gonna be awesome" he begins. "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 called him to join the band.

Of his musical approach for the reunion, Wylde continues: "You approach it the same way as you do when I'm playing with Ozzy. Obviously I've gotta learn [Randy] Rhoads's stuff and I've gotta learn Jake's [E. Lee] stuff, and when I was doing the [Black] Sabbath stuff, you learn it and do it as faithful as you can.

"I can't go do this as the drummer from Anthrax because it would be a different sound completely," adds Benante. "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."

Speaking of his former relationship with the Abbot brothers, Benante continues: "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."

Pantera haven't performed together since a show in Yokohama, Japan in 2001. Dimebag Darrell was shot dead onstage at a Damageplan show in Ohio in 2004, while his brother Vinnie passed away in 2018.

In 2016, Phil Anselmo sparked outrage at a Dimebash show in December when he was filmed shouting "white power" and making a Nazi salute.




Liz Scarlett
Liz Scarlett

Liz works on keeping the Louder sites up to date with the latest news from the world of rock and metal. Prior to joining Louder as a full time staff writer, she completed a Diploma with the National Council for the Training of Journalists and received a First Class Honours Degree in Popular Music Journalism. She enjoys writing about anything from neo-glam rock to stoner, doom and progressive metal, and loves celebrating women in music. '10 bands that rip off Black Sabbath but get away with it' is her favourite article she's written with Louder so far. When not writing, Liz enjoys various creative endeavours such as graphic design, as well as reading about rock’n’roll history, art and magic.  

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