As previously reported, vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown are planning to hit the road on a Pantera tour next year with guitarist Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy Osbourne) and drummer Charlie Benante (Anthrax) set to fill in for the late Abbott brothers. Now, during an appearance on SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk,” Wylde and Benante further commented on the opportunity.
Wylde said the following:
“It’s gonna be awesome. The fellows have always… When Vinnie was still with us, it was always rolling around that, ‘Zakk, would you honor 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.’
Throughout the years, there’s always been rumblings about it, so it wasn’t until, obviously, now… I was speaking on the phone with Phil — we might have been all on a group call — but Phil was just, like, ‘Zakk, would you honor Dime and would you play?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Phil. Of course. I’ve always said I would. Of course.’ I said, ‘If you guys wanna go do it, then let’s do it.’”
Benante went on to say that they intend to keep things as authentic as possible:
“I can’t go do this as the drummer from Anthrax because it would be a different sound completely. 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.”
The drummer also confirmed that he was initially approached about the tour last year:
“Oh, man. December [of last year]. End of December. I was talking to Philip, and then he just mentioned this. And I said, ‘Oh, yeah, sure. Whatever.’ And then it became real about January [or] February… To this day, if it happens, if there’s one show that’s played, great.”
He later added:
“[Anthrax] go back a long way [with Pantera] — ’86, maybe even ’85. We played a show at a place called Cardi’s in Houston, and Pantera were the opening band. It was in [April] ’86. Helstar was on the bill. It was the first time we met them. 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.”
Wylde went on to say that the trek will be “a Pantera celebration”:
“Whenever [the idea of doing a tribute has] come up, you’re celebrating the guys and you’re celebrating all their achievements and their greatness. And that’s what it is. ‘Cause everybody was just, like, ‘How can they call it a Pantera reunion?’ And I go, ‘Well, it’s Phil and Rex getting back together,’ ’cause they haven’t played together for a while.
I go, ‘It’s a Pantera celebration.’ That’s what it is. It’s no different than Mitch [Mitchell] and Noel [Redding] from ‘Experience Hendrix’ asking Eric Clapton to come out and sing and play Jimi‘s [Hendrix] stuff and honor him, and they’re gonna go out and honor Jimi Hendrix.
To me, it’s the same thing. With Ozzy, we honor Saint Rhoads every night. Every time we’re playing ‘I Don’t Know‘, ‘Mr. Crowley‘ — everything — you’re honoring Randy. To me, it’s an extension of that. You’re honoring Dime, you’re honoring Vinnie and you’re honoring Phil and Rex, all the guys, their achievements, what they achieved as Pantera and all the mountains they conquered. That’s the way I look at it. That’s the way I’ve always looked at it.”