DIMEBAG And VINNIE PAUL 'Would Have Blessed' PANTERA Reunion, Says PHILIP ANSELMO's DOWN Bandmate
September 19, 2022
EYEHATEGOD's Jimmy Bower and Mike IX Williams have weighed in on the news that PANTERA's surviving members Philip Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass) will unite 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, will headline a number of major festivals across North America and Europe and stage some of their own headline concerts.
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 last year said Wylde wouldn't tour with PANTERA if a reunion were to happen. It's unclear what changed his mind.
Bower and Williams discussed their views on the PANTERA comeback in an interview at last month's Bloodstock Open Air festival. Speaking to Hayley Leggs of TotalRock, Jimmy, who plays drums for Anselmo's DOWN project, said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think it's fucking awesome. I think it's beautiful. I think there's a lot of fans that have never had a chance to see it, and I think it's a great way to tribute the band. A hundred percent blessing from me, man."
Added Williams: "Phil's a friend, so, yeah, I'm happy to see it happen… It's great. I think it's great. Everybody's saying it's gonna be a little strange without the Abbott brothers, but it is what it is."
Bower concurred, saying: "Of course it will [be strange without the Abbott brothers]. [But] I think the Abbott brothers would a hundred percent have blessed it."
PANTERA will play its first shows in over 20 years in December 2022, starting with a co-headlining slot at Mexico's Hell & Heaven Metal Fest, followed by appearances at three Knotfest festivals in South America.
PANTERA will perform at Hell & Heaven Metal Fest on Friday, December 2 at Foro Pegaso in Toluca. Knotfest Colombia is scheduled for Friday, December 9 at Campin Circuit of Bogotá. Knotfest Chile is slated to take place on Sunday, December 11 at Estadio Monumental in Santiago. Knotfest Brasil will follow on Sunday, December 18 at Sambódromo do Anhembi in São Paulo.
While he was alive, Vinnie Paul had repeatedly dismissed talks of a PANTERA reunion, telling Germany's EMP Rock Invasion in 2014: "People are selfish, man. They want what they want; they don't care what you want. And it's unfortunate that people go, 'Oh, wow, man, they can get Zakk Wylde to jump up there on stage and it's PANTERA again.' No, it's not, you know. It's not that simple. If Eddie Van Halen was to get shot in the head four times next week, would everybody be going, 'Hey, man, Zakk, go play for VAN HALEN. Just call it VAN HALEN.' You see what I'm saying? I mean, it's really selfish for people to think that, and it's stupid. It's not right at all."
He continued: "They call it a reunion for a reason. It's called bringing the original members back to what it was. So there's a lot of these things that they call reunions that aren't really reunions. They've got one dude from the band floating around in them, you know. That's not a true reunion. With PANTERA, it'll never be possible."
He repeated those same sentiments a few months later, telling PlanetMosh in a separate interview: "Without Dimebag Darrell, there is no [PANTERA] reunion. And that's all there is to it. We were a very influential band, and we touched millions and millions of people with that band, but it's over. People really have to come to grips with that, and that's all there is to it. If all of us were still here, then the possibility would truly be there, but since it's not, you know… It's selfish of the fans to want something that they can't have. And they don't ever understand that, and I get it. There's things I want in this world too. You know, people in fucking hell want ice water, but they're not gonna get it. So… Anyways, I'm glad that the people who have decided to follow me in HELLYEAH do, and hopefully more of them will. And the ones that wanna live in the past are gonna live in the past."
Up until his passing in June 2018, 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.
Dimebag's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and Philip to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag.
Vinnie, who is Dimebag's brother, and Anselmo had not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie suggested that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer.
Haney told the producers of "Behind The Music Remastered: Pantera" that she forgave the singer after they found themselves unexpectedly face to face at a concert in California.
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