GUS G.: ZAKK WYLDE 'Was The Right Choice And The Only Choice' To Step In For DIMEBAG In PANTERA
August 22, 2023
Greek guitar virtuoso Gus G., well known in rock and metal circles for his work as Ozzy Osbourne's guitarist and as leader of his own band FIREWIND, 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 are also supporting METALLICA on a massive North American stadium tour in 2023 and 2024.
Gus discussed the controversy surrounding PANTERA's comeback in a new interview with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio. The 42-year-old guitarist said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "That has been the biggest news in metal the past year, or this year. What my thoughts are? I think it's great that they've done this and they're bringing PANTERA music to either the younger generation or people that never got a chance to see them even back in the day. I never got to see PANTERA back in the day. So, I definitely will go to a show if I have the opportunity, yes."
As for having Wylde fill in for the late, great Dimebag, Gus said: "That's the perfect lineup to go out and do that. Obviously, Zakk had a really good relationship with Dimebag; they were really close. In my mind, and I think in pretty much every fan's mind out there, that was the right choice and the only choice — the only guy that could step in and do it justice. And all the videos I've seen, they sound slamming; they sound killer. And it's a great show. I love the lights, the pyro, all the stuff they have. It's a big rock show, man. It's great."
The reformed PANTERA kicked off its U.S. headlining tour with LAMB OF GOD on July 28 at The Pavilion at Star Lake in Burgettstown, Pennsylvania.
PANTERA's current setlist includes two songs which hadn't been performed live since the band's comeback last year: "Slaughtered", from PANTERA's 1994 album "Far Beyond Driven", widely considered the heaviest metal record to ever reach No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart; and "Revolution Is My Name" from PANTERA's final studio album, 2000's "Reinventing The Steel".
According to Billboard, the new PANTERA 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.
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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