FILTER's Richard Patrick 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.
Patrick discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback in an interview with Radioactive MikeZ, host of the 96.7 KCAL-FM program "Wired In The Empire". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think it's awesome. Not to sound crass, but life is for the living. We're still here. And so is Phil. And so is Rex. And Zakk was, like, Dime's best friend. And Charlie is amazing and more than capable. And let's celebrate PANTERA. It was awesome. I think that that's kind of the important thing."
He continued: "I mean, look, THE ROLLING STONES were playing shows five days later when Charlie Watts died. And U2 is gonna play without Larry Mullen for the first time in the history of the band. And that's insane, but at the same time, Larry's, like, 'Go do it. Go play.' He's having back surgery and he's recuperating from that. He's always had a bad back 'cause he fell off the motorcycle when he was a kid. Celebrate the music of U2. I mean, one of these days we're not gonna be here anymore. Bono's 63. I'm 55. If you somewhat like our music, you've gotta keep coming; it's what keeps us alive. Just imagine if THE BEATLES could have gotten back together with John Lennon. That would have happened. Somewhere in the '90s, THE BEATLES would have gotten back together and played a stadium tour. They would have done it, if both George [Harrison] and John had survived. And even to this day, it's amazing to see Paul McCartney. Now he doesn't necessarily have to come out as THE BEATLES, 'cause he's Paul McCartney.
"I just think music is so important and rock and roll is becoming so established that everybody should just partake and jump in and go in feet first," Richard added. "SKINNY PUPPY is never gonna tour again; this is their last tour. And that's why I was almost crying. 'Cause I was, like, 'Man, this just brings back so much memory.' And it's so amazing. And Ogre is still amazing. And cEvin Key.
"So, yeah. Get out there and check out all the music you can."
During the same chat, Richard called PANTERA "the band that really, really meant everything to me as far as metal, as far as straight-up metal" was concerned. He explained: "Because Phil approached it… He shaved his head and he was, like, punk; he looked like a straight-edge punk guy. And I, too, had a shaved head and was, like, straight-edge kind of — well, not straight edge, 'cause I drank, and so did Phil. But we were punkers. So when I saw him with PANTERA, I was, like, 'This is awesome.' These guys brought attitude… [Singing] 'Walk on home, punk.' 'Re-spect. You're talking to me.' I just loved it. I just love PANTERA."
This past March, PANTERA headlined the 2023 "comeback" edition of Japan's Loud Park festival. The two-day "limited" event took place on March 25 at Intex Osaka in Osaka and March 26 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City near Tokyo.
In December, PANTERA played seven shows in Mexico and South America.
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.