DOWN's PEPPER KEENAN Supports PANTERA Comeback: 'It's Gonna Be A Very Cathartic Thing'January 16, 2023
CORROSION OF CONFORMITY guitarist/vocalist Pepper Keenan 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.
Keenan, who has played with Anselmo in their side project DOWN for more than 30 years, discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback in an interview with the "BREWtally Speaking" podcast. He said in part (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I know the PANTERA crew; I know everybody like the back of my hand. And Phil sings in DOWN. On a selfish note, yeah, is it gonna put DOWN on the backburner for a year or two? Sure. Do they need to get this off their chest and get it out there? Yes. Do the kids need to hear this? Yes.
"It's insane," he continued. "They've got Grady [Champion], Darrell's tech, is with them. Sonny [Satterfield], their [original] lighting guy, is with them. It's gonna be a very cathartic thing.
"They've been working really hard at it. And those guys all deserve it.
"I don't care what anybody says — I could give a rat's ass — but I know internally they need to close the book," Pepper added. "And they're gonna do it. And it's gonna be great.
"People need to hear that shit, dude. I think they've got a good lineup and the way it's gonna work. And they're all working their butts off. That's a fact."
Last month, PANTERA played seven shows in Mexico and South America. The band will next headline the 2023 "comeback" edition of Japan's Loud Park festival. The two-day "limited" event will take place on March 25 at Intex Osaka in Osaka and March 26 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City near Tokyo.
Brown was forced to leave PANTERA's Latin American tour after testing positive for COVID-19. Filling in for him at some of the shows was CATTLE DECAPITATION bassist Derek Engemann, who also plays with Anselmo in both PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS and SCOUR.
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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