SLIPKNOT frontman Corey Taylor has weighed in on the fact that PANTERA's surviving members Philip Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass) have united with guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) and drummer Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX) for a world tour under the PANTERA banner.
Anselmo and Brown, along with Wylde and Benante, are headlining a number of major festivals across South America, Asia, North America and Europe and staging some of their own headline concerts. They will also support METALLICA on a massive North American stadium tour in 2023 and 2024.
According to Billboard, the lineup has been given a green light by the estates of the band's founders, drummer Vincent "Vinnie Paul" Abbott and guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, as well as Brown, who in 2021 said Wylde wouldn't tour with PANTERA if a reunion were to happen. It's unclear what changed his mind.
Taylor discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback during an appearance earlier today (Wednesday, August 2) on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". Asked if he has had a chance to catch a performance from the new PANTERA lineup yet, Corey said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I saw it at [the] Graspop [Metal Meeting festival in Belgium in June]. 'Cause they were on right before us at Graspop just this year. And I hadn't seen 'em [when they played with us in South America last December], 'cause we were flying in and out, so I didn't get to see them on that run, that South American run. And dude, me and [my wife] Alicia ran out to the front of house. And I didn't even care. I was, like, 'I'm watching this.' And I was so stoked. And my expectations were really high, dude. And they sounded incredible. I was so stoked. There's probably a bunch of fan-shot video of me singing along and jumping around like an idiot. I was so stoked, and they sounded so great. Dude, Phil looks great. He's having a great time."
Taylor continued: "We all know the story, and to see them get up there and to feel that positive energy that hasn't been felt around that in so long, dude. I mean, I got really — I'm starting to get emotional about it now. I mean, it just felt really good to see our buddies up there — and this is absolute honesty — really doing justice. I mean, it sounds really, really good."
A year ago, Taylor weighed in on the PANTERA reunion during a previous appearance on "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". He said: "I know everybody in the [current PANTERA] band; I knew everybody in the prior band. So it's interesting. I know there's a lot of debate about it. All I'm going to say is that I'm stoked to see these songs played live. I'm stoked to see it done with respect.
"Whether anybody wants to admit that or not, these fans online, they wanna admit this or not, you're talking about two dudes [Charlie and Zakk] who not only knew the brothers from years ago, knew them before PANTERA was even a thing," Corey continued. "They were friends with those guys from when PANTERA was still playing clubs, and they would go and hang out with them when those respective bands would go and play Dallas; they would go and hang out with those dudes. So then when PANTERA becomes massive, lo and behold they're touring with their friends, man.
"You can't get a better drummer than Charlie, you can't get a better guitar player than Zakk to step into those shoes," Taylor added. "Is it going to work? I don't know. But to say that it's not the right thing — first of all, it's for anybody else to say except for Phil and Rex, because those guys, they were in the band. So let's just give them the benefit of the doubt and let's see what happens."
In a recent interview with Live Nation, Taylor recalled going to an epic PANTERA and WHITE ZOMBIE show with some friends in 1996 that left a lasting impression on him. He said: "The co-headlining tour was PANTERA and WHITE ZOMBIE, so it was fucking rad. We ended up scoring tickets to the [concert] in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I remember ZOMBIE came out. They opened with 'Electric Head, Part 1', and it was just awesome; I mean, the place lit up. And then PANTERA came out and just destroyed everything. They opened with 'Suicide Note' parts one and two. The excitement in that audience, when they came out and played those two songs back to back, was unlike anything I felt. And it has stuck with me to this day. I mean, it was just one of the most incredible one-two punches of all time. I remember charging the pit feeling like, 'Ah, this is what concerts are made for.' It was just a great way to feel a part of something that you didn't feel a part of in real life. The music was there for you to embrace. It was a rite of passage, man."
In February 2022, Taylor spoke about the impact PANTERA's classic sophomore major label album, "Vulgar Display Of Power", had on his musical upbringing. He told HardDrive Radio: "I remember where I was when that album came out, man. I was listening to that incessantly. I was working at the RV center that my grandma got me a job at. 'Cause I didn't wanna cut my hair and I couldn't work anywhere else, man, so I was washing RVs for nine hours a day during the day in the hottest summer I'd ever felt. And it was intense, dude. And all I had was that tape — I had that tape and [a cassette from] BEASTIE BOYS. So I kept trading those tapes back and forth. And when I needed a burst of energy, I'd put on 'Vulgar Display', and when I just wanted to chill and just kind of get into the rhythm of it, I would put on, I think it was [BEASTIE BOYS'] 'Check Your Head'. So it was, like, those two albums really fueled me that summer to get through it. And I just remember listening to that album and just going, 'Jesus, this is so heavy and yet so hummable.' That's the thing that I think people really lose with PANTERA — is that it was so incredibly heavy but the hooks were incredible, dude. I mean, it was like the next evolution of what METALLICA had kind of started to do. To this day, it's still one of my favorite albums."
Back in 2017, Taylor named PANTERA's 1994 effort "Far Beyond Driven" as one of his 10 favorite metal albums of all time. "That album is so sludgy," he told Rolling Stone. "I loved 'Vulgar Display Of Power', and obviously everybody gravitates toward that one just because it's got the songs, it's got the whatever. But to me, 'Far Beyond Driven' was the first example of what a modern metal production could sound like. It was so thick and the mix was a little angrier. To me, it was the first time that you could really hear how heavy they could go and how willing they were to just drive that shit home. And it's got my favorite PANTERA song on it, which is 'Becoming'. That song alone wins. Just when you thought you had some shit figured out, fuck you. You're done."
Corey Taylor photo credit: Marina Hunter