KITTIE's MORGAN LANDER Says 'The Soul Of PANTERA Is Gone', But She 'Definitely' Wants To See Reformed Band Play Live

March 7, 2023

KITTIE frontwoman Morgan Lander 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.

Lander discussed her views on the PANTERA comeback in an interview with Anne Erickson of Audio Ink Radio. She said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "To preface this, yes, I'm a big PANTERA fan. I've been a fan for a long time. We toured with them on Ozzfest in 2000, so I got to see PANTERA live quite a bit. I regret that I feel like I was too young for the early '90s PANTERA, but I did get to see them on the Ozzfest and at a number of shows for 'Reinventing The Steel'. And I actually got to see… I stood sidestage for their very last show ever in Japan, at the Beast Feast festival. So that's all my PANTERA back story."

Regarding the new PANTERA lineup, Morgan said: "When I heard about it, I wasn't… I don't know… I wasn't mad about it. I feel like it is weird, because I feel like the heart and soul of that band were the Abbott brothers. And everything about their playing… Not like I could ever compare myself to any of them, but I understand what it's like to have a sibling in a band, and you play together for so long that it's, like, you connect on a different level. When they played, they had a certain swagger and they connected on a certain level together. And that's just something that comes with time and practice and all of those things, but also that bond, of being a sibling. And I know they were very close, obviously.

"I was really excited to see it," Lander added. "We played the very first show that they were doing the reunion thing at the Hell & Heaven festival in Mexico [last December], but we weren't able to get to the venue in time to see the show, so I actually didn't get to see it myself, with my own eyes, but I was very excited to see it.

"It's weird. To me, it feels like the soul of the band is gone," Morgan admitted. "But there are a lot of people who never did get to see PANTERA, and I'm sure that the shows are great, and with time they'll get even better. They're doing a ton of stuff this year. I definitely want to see the set, to see them play, even if it's just to hear some of my favorite tunes. But I'm not Team Phil And Rex or Team Dime And Vinnie. From a fan perspective, it's cool to be able to see and hear those songs live again. And there's a lot of people that didn't get to see it, so if they're excited, then that's cool. But I definitely will be catching probably… I know they're playing around here [in Ontario, Canada] towards the end of the year. I definitely want to catch it when I can. It's funny, because they're doing so many festival shows, and there is another new festival, I think, that they're playing as well that we might be around for. So I guess we'll see.

"Before Vinnie had passed away, I had seen lots of people talk about, 'Oh, well, the only person that could fill Dime's shoes for that should be Zakk Wylde.' As somebody who was very close to him, who was his friend, also an incredible guitar player, he always made sense for that," Lander said. "And I'd seen people talking about it for years and years and years. And so I can see where people would be excited but also kind of 'hmmm', a little weird about it. But if people wanna see them, then more power to them. Myself included — I definitely want to check it out."

In December, 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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