MACHINE HEAD's ROBB FLYNN On PANTERA Comeback: 'It's Gonna Be Awesome For Fans'

December 17, 2022

MACHINE HEAD frontman Robb Flynn 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.

Flynn discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback in an interview with Brazilian journalist Gustavo Maiato. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I think it's gonna be awesome for fans. I think if you were born in 1999, two years before PANTERA broke up, you're gonna get to see those songs again and see the band live, which is cool. Good for the fans."

Back in January 2016, Flynn released a video message criticizing Anselmo for the apparent "white power" gesture the PANTERA singer made onstage after 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.

Flynn, who performed at "Dimebash" alongside Anselmo and a number of other notable musicians, uploaded an eleven-minute video response to the incident in which he called Anselmo a "big bully" and described Philip's actions as "fucking wrong." The video has since been viewed nearly two million times on YouTube.

In December 2016, Anselmo responded to Flynn's comments publicly in an interview with SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", accusing the MACHINE HEAD frontman of wanting to "ride the coattails."

Anselmo told host Eddie Trunk: "Everybody in my camp and everybody around us, anybody who's ever watched Robert [Flynn] over the years knows that he watches me, and watches me, and watches me, and sits in the corner, and watches me, and then when we get on stage together… You know what? It all comes down to, and straight up, he wants to ride the coattails, Jack — he wants to ride the coattails. He started off a song, and I told him to stop. I hadn't even announced the song, so he took that as a slight. He started a song without me announcing the goddamn song, and I said something like, 'You don't know me,' which is, once again, my sense of humor, and I know it hurt his little… his ego or whatever, which, you know, sorry for you, brother, but I'm not sorry. So he made an eleven-minute video, and some dude who knows nothing about me except PANTERA and this and that. I'm a believer in freedom of speech whether you're joking around or not — whatever."

Anselmo added: "This whole I'm-a-racist thing is infuriating, because it's false — absolutely false. And I'd like to turn around and say, hey, what have you done to better your community, Robert? If you're gonna call me out on this supposed heinous act, what have you done? What have you done? I know what I've done. I know what I've done for the inner-city kids in Detroit when the Kronk boxing gym was getting closed down, I forked over thousands of dollars that I most certainly did not have to make sure those kids got fed, clothed and had a place to sleep, because it was run by the last father figure I had in my goddamn life, a black man named Emanuel Steward, rest in peace, who used to call me before every fight that he would call on HBO, and say, 'Whatcha think, Phil?' And he would ask me my opinion of what I thought the outcome would be."

In June 2016, Flynn confirmed that he re-wrote part of the lyrics for the MACHINE HEAD song "Is There Anybody Out There?" to include lines that are a commentary on the "white power" gesture Anselmo made onstage at "Dimebash".

The reformed PANTERA played its third concert without Rex Thursday night (December 15) at Vibra in São Paulo, Brazil. The show took place three 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.

PANTERA is next scheduled to play another show in São Paulo — on Sunday, December 18 at Knotfest Brasil.

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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