April 8, 2024

In an interview with The Break Down With Nath & Johnny, drummer Mike Wengren of DISTURBED, which recently shared the stage with PANTERA at Knotfest Australia, was asked which band he would "love to fill in for" and play a show with. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Oh, I mean, honestly, if they told me, like, somebody took Charlie [Benante, PANTERA drummer] out tonight, I think I could step in. Actually, you know what? Let me make sure I clarify this. All respect to Charlie, 'cause he's killin it, man. He is doing everything in his power to make it sound like Vinnie [Paul Abbott, late PANTERA drummer] is up there. There's nobody in the world that could actually do that. Charlie was so, so close with the [Abbott] brothers, and it's awesome. So, let me make sure I say that first. 'Cause all those guys are my bros. I'm just saying as a huge PANTERA fan, I think I know most of the songs in the back of my head already. I can probably pull it off. I got probably 80 percent of [the set down already]."

Back in June 2018, shortly after Vinnie Paul's passing, Wengren took to his social media to pay tribute to the PANTERA drummer, writing: "Still can't seem to find the words.

"Vinnie Paul was an idol of mine back in the 90s. He was a huge influence on my playing. Then Ozzfest 2000 PANTERA is on main stage and DISTURBED second stage. It was our first-ever major festival touring experience.

"As a second-stage artist, your laminates were restricted to certain areas.

"We met Vinnie and Dime. They welcomed us into their dressing room regardless of what our passes said. They took us under their wing and showed us how to treat your fellow touring mates. It never mattered that they were headliners and we were openers. To them, we were all brothers. We have continued to follow that attitude throughout our careers and treat our opening bands and crew as family.

"So many stories throughout the years.

"We used to jam together whenever our paths crossed on the road. They would join us during our set when we would cover 'Walk'. I would have Vinnie play my kit and I'd join in on the floor toms.

"To have met him was a dream come true. To become his friend was an honor.

"Vin, I will be forever grateful for your impact on my life. Rest in peace, brother. Say hello to Dime for me. Until we jam again in the afterlife."

Vinnie Paul died in June 2018 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.

Vinnie's brother, guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, was shot to death in December 2004 while performing onstage. The Abbotts founded the bands PANTERA and DAMAGEPLAN together. After Dimebag's death, Vinnie Paul joined singer Chad Gray and other members of MUDVAYNE and NOTHINGFACE in HELLYEAH, who have released six albums.

Joining Benante in PANTERA's reformed lineup are surviving members Rex Brown (bass) and Philip Anselmo (vocals),along with guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY).

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