GOJIRA Drummer 'Cannot Wait' For PANTERA Reunion: 'It's Fantastic'
August 24, 2022
GOJIRA drummer Mario Duplantier has 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.
Mario discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback in a new interview with Colombia's El Expreso Del Rock. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's great. I mean, what can I tell? I don't know what to think about it. I'm just happy when I see PANTERA. When I just see the logo, I'm just excited. Phil Anselmo is the best singer ever. So I cannot wait. And it's good because [Philip and Rex] brought some friends — good friends [to play with them]. And why not? They are going to play PANTERA, and everybody's going to lose it. And that's it. It's fantastic. I have no criticism."
He added: "I met — not Dimebag, but Vinnie Paul a few times. Vinnie was a legend. He's a drum hero — he's one of my drum heroes — so no one can replace him. But I think it's great to have just the logo of PANTERA and the vibe around PANTERA coming back. It's great. I'm happy."
Although no official announcements have yet been made, there are rumors that PANTERA will play Brazil's Knotfest Brasil and Mexico's Hell & Heaven Metal Fest in December. U.S. dates will likely follow in 2023.
Last month, Benante told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" about how he plans to approach the PANTERA gig: "I can't go do this as the drummer from ANTHRAX because it would be a different sound completely. So the way I'm gonna do that is if you close your eyes, it's gonna sound like it's Vinnie, basically. And that's how it's gonna be. The sound is gonna sound exactly like him."
Wylde said that he had a similar mindset. "You approach it the same way as you do when I'm playing with Ozzy," he said. "Obviously I've gotta learn [Randy] Rhoads's stuff and I've gotta learn Jake's [E. Lee] stuff, and when I was doing the [BLACK] SABBATH stuff, you learn it and do it as faithful as you can. Charlie's gotta learn all of Vinnie's parts. You approach it as if you're in a cover band. When we do the ZAKK SABBATH stuff," referring to his BLACK SABBATH cover band, "I don't start changing lyrics midway through 'War Pigs'. You learn the songs — so that's what you do."
A year ago, Anselmo said that he was up for reuniting with Brown for a special tour celebrating the music of PANTERA. The 54-year-old singer, who has spent the past few years playing a PANTERA-centric set with his solo band, THE ILLEGALS, discussed the possibility of re-teaming with his former PANTERA bandmate during an interview with Brazil's Inside With Paulo Baron. Asked if he and Rex would be open to playing some shows in celebration of PANTERA's legacy, Anselmo said: "If Rex and I had a show to play, or we were ever gonna be on stage again together, I would welcome it with open arms. I love Rex. And he'd be the same way. We're brothers forever. So playing on stage together, or doing some shows together, is not out of the question. It could happen."
In April 2021, Rex told Eonmusic that he and Philip still get offers for a PANTERA tribute tour. "But if you don't have the other guys in the band, it's not going to sound the same," he said. "If we were ever to do something like that, it would have to be spot-on, or I wouldn't do it. It would be a tribute."
Talk about a possible PANTERA "reunion" intensified when Anselmo regularly joined Wylde's BLACK LABEL SOCIETY to perform PANTERA's song "I'm Broken" during DOWN's 2014 stint on the "Revolver Golden Gods Tour". That buzz only got stronger after Brown joined the jam on May 23, 2014 when the tour swung through Texas.
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.
PANTERA is managed by Scott McGhee of 1 Degree Music Entertainment. The band's legal representative is Nick Ferrara And Associates. PANTERA is booked internationally by Rod MacSween at ITB.
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