KILLSWITCH ENGAGE's ADAM DUTKIEWICZ On PANTERA Comeback: 'Make Sure You Do Not Disrespect That Legacy'

December 20, 2022

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz 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, 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 last year said Wylde wouldn't tour with PANTERA if a reunion were to happen. It's unclear what changed his mind.

Adam discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback in an interview with the RRBG Podcast. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Obviously, I'm a firm believer that the two guys that are missing are two of the most crucial [members].

"I think as long as it's done tastefully and with respect to the two brothers, I feel like it's a good thing. 'Cause it can be seen as a celebration of their music, and I think that's good," he continued.

"I grew up with PANTERA, and I've always thought Dimebag was one of the greatest guitar players in metal ever. [He was] another one of those guys, you just hear him play and you're, like, 'That's Dime.' You know exactly who's playing. Such personality.

"PANTERA just put that stamp in metal music so hard, and its importance is so tremendous," Adam added. "You just make sure you do not disrespect that legacy, man. Don't do it, man. Don't do it. As long as it's done tastefully. Do everything the right way."

Dutkiewicz went on to say that his appreciation for PANTERA's music was affected in the wake of the January 2016 incident when Anselmo made a "white power" gesture onstage during his appearance at "Dimebash".

Anselmo performed the PANTERA classic "Walk" at the January 22, 2016 event at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood, California in honor of Dimebag. As he left the stage, he made a Nazi-style salute. He appeared to say "white power" as he made the gesture, but he later claimed he was referring to drinking white wine as part of an "inside joke" and was reacting to the audience members up front who he said were taunting him.

"I'll be honest, I stopped listening to PANTERA for a while after that whole thing with Phil," Adam said. "I don't agree with that. So, yeah, I stopped listening to PANTERA for a while."

Back in March 2016, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE singer Jesse Leach was also critical of Anselmo's actions at "Dimebash", telling Artisan News: "It shouldn't rock the metal community; they should have known. The guy [Anselmo] has done this before. It's not a surprise. What's a surprise is backstepping. If that's what you are, and that's what you're all about, then so be it."

He continued: "To me, there's no place for that in music, but that's just my opinion. I think it's terrible. I wrote a lot of songs about actively fighting against racism.

"Every time I get this question, my answer is the [KILLSWITCH ENGAGE] song 'Hate By Design' [about prejudice and discrimination being passed on from generation to generation]. Just read the lyrics. There's your answer."

Leach went on to say that Anselmo's actions have not affected his opinion of PANTERA as a whole. He explained: "PANTERA is a legacy, absolutely. But, to me, PANTERA was a band; it wasn't just Phil. It's PANTERA. I'm not gonna hate PANTERA because of what one person did. But, you know, the way I think about it now, he dug his own grave, and good luck to him."

The reformed PANTERA played its fourth concert without Rex Sunday night (December 18) at Knotfest Brasil in São Paulo, Brazil. The show took place six days after Rex confirmed that a positive COVID-19 test forced him to miss PANTERA's performance at Knotfest Chile in Santiago on Sunday (December 11). Filling in for him at both gigs was CATTLE DECAPITATION bassist Derek Engemann, who also plays with Anselmo in both PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS and SCOUR.

The new PANTERA lineup made its live debut on December 2 at Mexico's Hell & Heaven Metal Fest and also performed on December 6 at Monterrey Metal Fest in Monterrey, Mexico.

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