During an appearance on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk,” Charlie Benante (Anthrax) opened up about his first show with Pantera. The drummer says the band’s return is more of a tribute and it was never meant to be a “reunion.”
Benante said the following:
“Basically, we get up there and there’s a big kabuki curtain in front of us and the four of us just up there. And Philip [Anselmo] came up to the drum riser and we just had this moment where we were shaking hands. We were so excited. And then I looked to Rex [Brown] and I looked to Zakk [Wylde], and the four of us just had this connection.
And before I knew it — boom — we were right into playing ‘A New Level‘. And it was off from that point. And I was looking at the setlist, and I saw the next song coming up, and I was excited about that song. And then that song would finish, and I looked down, and I’m, like, ‘Oh, I fucking love this song. Yeah!’ It was that all night for me — just getting super hyped up about the next song and what was coming up. So I enjoyed myself.”
“Before we went on, Sterling Winfield, who was very close to Dime and Vinnie — he basically engineered the last three records that Pantera did — he brought me a pair of Vinnie‘s old gloves, and he brought me one of Darrell‘s old wristbands that he wore. And I put the wristband on and I played the show with that wristband. And I put the gloves in my pocket. So I had both of them with me that night.”
“This was never a reunion. How can it be a reunion without Vinnie and Dime here? Sometimes people will send me something, and I see things online, and it’s so disrespectful to both Darrell and Vinnie, and it’s totally disrespectful to us too. And it’s just, like, ‘Man, if you don’t wanna come, you don’t have to come.’
One of the first things I said to Philip on the phone, I said, ‘This, to me, is more on an emotional level than any other level.’ This means a lot to me personally, to go out there and represent those guys and represent the Pantera name. And that’s all I’d ever want for me. I don’t care about it financially and stuff like that; this, to me, I had to do this. I didn’t wanna see anybody else playing these songs but me up there.”
Benante further commented on social media as well:
“If I say I wasn’t nervous I’d be lying. The excitement , the fear, the emotions, the love and the work that went into doing this all played a part of what was in my head. When I got up there it had all seemed to disappear ( except for the cold 50 degree weather, 🥶) I looked at @philiphanselmo @rexbrownofficial and @zakkwyldebls and felt the connection, Bam!!!!
New Level started and we were off. I kept looking down at my set list and was getting hyped up for the next song . Thank you #sterlingwinfield for bringing me an old @dimebagdarrell wristband and a pair of @vinniepaul3 old gloves . I wore the wristband and brought the gloves up with me. I had some moments up there like I felt I wasn’t there, I went to some other place.
I think I was Metal meditating , don’t laugh… I’m serious. Thank to the @panteraofficial family, thank you to the crew and the amazing fans who have always been so positive about this. Thank you to @carlaharvey and @miacbenante for listening to me play Pantera songs day in and out. I look forward to seeing you all and having a great time playing these songs and reliving the feeling of what a great band they are!”