BRET MICHAELS's Guitarist PETE EVICK Calls PHILIP ANSELMO 'A Douchebag', Says He Is 'Glad' People Will Hear PANTERA Music Again

December 15, 2022

During an appearance on the latest episode of "The Bay Ragni Show", Pete Evick, who is best known as Bret Michaels's music director and guitar player of the last 19 years, was asked to weigh in on PANTERA's recent comeback. Surviving members Rex Brown (bass) and Philip Anselmo (vocals) are joined in PANTERA's reformed lineup by guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) and drummer Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX). According to Billboard, the new lineup has been given a green light by the estates of PANTERA's founders, drummer Vincent "Vinnie Paul" Abbott and guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott.

Pete said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think Phil's a douche. I think Phil's a douchebag. And Vinnie was my friend. Not an acquaintance — Vinnie was my friend."

Pointing at a Dean guitar which is hanging on his wall, Pete continued: "Vinnie and Dean Guitars gave that to me. It's the 10-year-anniversary-of-Dime's-death model guitar. They gave it to all the Dean players. I've been a Dean guy for 20 years or whatever.

"Vinnie was great," Evick added. "And Vinnie was a great producer. He understood the studio. And me and him were friends. He was great to my son."

Circling back to the new PANTERA lineup, Pete said: "I think that the world deserves to celebrate the music. I believe that the only [guitarist] that should be allowed to do it is Zakk Wylde. Charlie Benante… Maybe it could have been Mike Portnoy; maybe it could have been Mikkey Dee. There's a handful of people… Charlie's great for it.

"I'm glad that people are gonna hear it, because the PANTERA stuff was… I remember when I was a kid, I was young enough that… When I heard VAN HALEN for the first time, I wasn't blown away. As I got older and learned… Friends of mine that were maybe 10 years older than me tell this story about hearing VAN HALEN and going, 'Holy fuck! That doesn't even sound like a guitar.' But I was born in '72. I was playing guitar by 1978, and I was only six years old. And by seven years old, I was already exposed to VAN HALEN. So I was too young to… It was just another great band. My ears were so fresh. So I loved it, and from the day I heard it to this day, they're my favorite band. But I didn't understand the intensity of how hard it was, because I started with it. At seven years old, I wanted to know how to play 'Eruption'. So I never experienced that whole thing of… I already played guitar, so I didn't have to relearn how to play guitar. That's what most people had to do with VAN HALEN, was relearn everything they knew. I never experienced that with [Eddie Van Halen]. But I experienced it with PANTERA. PANTERA is the only thing I've ever heard in my life that I went, 'I don't fucking know how to do that.' Don't get me wrong — I love Steve Vai, and I can't play like Steve Vai, but when I hear it, I know what he's doing. I go, 'I know what's happening. I can figure that out if I really wanted to sit down and figure that out.' When I heard PANTERA the first time, I went, 'What the fuck is that? How do you even make that sound with a guitar?' Which has to be what all of them felt about VAN HALEN.

"So I respect what [Dimebag] did, and what they did as a team," Pete continued. "Just like Alex [Van Halen] and Eddie, they were brothers. That chemistry between the two of them, it was the same exact thing for a different generation.

"It's good that the world's gonna hear the music. But I think that Phil's a douche," Pete repeated. "And I hope he does it right. That's all I can say, is I hope he does it right."

Asked for his thoughts on Rex, Pete said: "I don't give one shit about that guy. [Laughs] I don't know him. I don't not know him. I know he the bass player. Me and Vinnie never once had a conversation about the guy. I don't know anything about him personally. I don't know that he did anything on bass that was mindblowing. Maybe he did; I don't know. So I don't have an opinion. But I'm glad that there's multiple living members of the band. I think that I like it better that he's there. I think if it was just Phil, I might be a lot more angry about it."

Pete went on to clarify that he has never actually met Philip, "so I shouldn't judge like that. But I knew somebody that knew him really fucking well," he added.

PANTERA is next scheduled to play two shows in São Paulo, Brazil — on Thursday, December with JUDAS PRIEST and on Sunday, December 18 at Knotfest Brasil.

The new PANTERA lineup made its live debut on December 2 at Mexico's Hell & Heaven Metal Fest and also performed on December 6 at Monterrey Metal Fest in Monterrey, Mexico.

It was first reported in July that Anselmo and Brown would unite with Wylde and Benante for a world tour under the PANTERA banner.

The band will headline a number of major festivals across North America and Europe and stage some of their own headline concerts. They will also support METALLICA on a massive North American stadium tour in 2023 and 2024.

Up until his passing, Vinnie remained on non-speaking terms with Anselmo, whom the drummer indirectly blamed for Dimebag's death.

Vinnie Paul and Dimebag co-founded PANTERA. When PANTERA broke up in 2003, they formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of PANTERA were stealing his thoughts.

Vinnie passed away on June 22, 2018 at his other home in Las Vegas at the age of 54. He died of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn't pump blood as well as a healthy heart.

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