MAX CAVALERA: 'I Don't Really Think It's PANTERA Without The Brothers'
February 19, 2023
Former SEPULTURA and current SOULFLY frontman Max Cavalera has once again 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.
Max, who has spent the last few years playing SEPULTURA-centric shows with his brother, former SEPULTURA drummer Igor Cavalera, discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback in an interview with Thomas S. Orwat, Jr. of Rock Interview Series. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "There's two sides for that, right?! It's so tough, because [on] one hand I understand that the fans wanna see it, and you still have somewhat a big part of that band, but you are missing two key elements on the brothers that are irreplaceable, in my eyes. So it's tough. It's really tough."
He continued: "The only thing that maybe… It's a little bit strange that they call it PANTERA. It should be called some kind of tribute to PANTERA — I think. It would have been a little bit more of a tribute to those songs and to that era. Because I don't really think it's PANTERA without the brothers."
Max previously discussed the PANTERA return in an interview last month with the "Appetite For Distortion" podcast. At the time, he said: "I think it's cool that they're doing that. I do something very similar with my brother, where we go out and we play a lot of SEPULTURA albums that the fans really love it and they never got the chance to see it, for one reason or another. And they get to see it with the real drums and the real vocals and the real guitar. So it's the closest you get to the real thing. And PANTERA is the same thing.
"Yeah, I'm friends with all of those guys [in PANTERA]," he continued. "And I've been friends with Phil for many years. I actually thanked him for letting me borrow his guitar player. Mike DeLeon is jamming with us [in SOULFLY]. He plays with [PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE] ILLEGALS, with Phil Anselmo, for many, many years. So I thanked Phil for letting me borrow his guitar player."
Circling back to the PANTERA reformation, Max said: "Yeah, I think it's cool, especially the generation that never got to see it. I was there. I got to see it from the side of the stage every night. It was great… But I'm thinking about people that never got to see it, never got to experience that. For sure, go see it. It's not the original thing, but it's as close you can get from the original thing. It's fucking cool. The music is so powerful, it's so good, it's so cool that it will get through to the people. And I feel that way when I do those things with my brother. When we play those old songs, it connects to the whole audience. And it's a huge tribute.
"It sucks that Dimebag and Vinnie are no longer here, but at the same time, especially if you're a young kid and you grew up loving PANTERA and never got to see it, for sure, go see it, man," he added. "Just be a part of it. It's a unique experience."
Last August, Max spoke about the prospect of Anselmo and Brown reuniting for a PANTERA tour in an interview with Metal Hammer magazine. At the time, he said: "It's a delicate issue, man. On one hand, yes. But then sometimes I think if it was like me and Igor had died and somebody else would carry on without us, I don't know how I feel about that. I'm not sure I would really like it. It's a tough one. At the same time, you know, people want to hear those songs. The fans deserve to hear those songs."
Asked if the PANTERA comeback has made him rethink the possibility of doing a SEPULTURA reunion, Max said: "No. I'm good with what we did and so pleased with the reaction. It's a different thing with us and PANTERA; I'm not sure who founded PANTERA and stuff like that, but SEPULTURA was me and Igor. But if they do it the way we did, as a tribute, well, all right, you know? I think we gave the songs justice, we played them as good as they can be played and people were completely satisfied when they came to see us. At this point in my life, I'm satisfied having one foot in the past playing those old records and another in the future doing stuff like [SOULFLY's new album] 'Totem' and KILLER BE KILLED. I want to experience both sides."
In July 2022, Max told the "Talk Toomey" podcast that it would be "totally cool" if Anselmo and Brown reunited for a PANTERA tour as a tribute to the original albums. Referencing the criticism that has already been leveled at Philip and Rex for touring as PANTERA without the Abbott brothers, Max said: "You kind of can say similar things about our stuff because it's not all the four original guys, but it's as close as you get to that, and it's done really well.
"But, yeah, I'm excited," Max added. "Those [PANTERA] records are so good, they have so many fans, and they should be heard. And rest in peace, Vinnie and Dime, but if it's done right with the right heart on it, hell yeah — I'm totally on board. I think it would be great.
"This new generation, they embrace that stuff. So this music doesn't get outdated. It's not like some stuff that with time just kind of fades out; it's out of fashion. It doesn't happen with this music. So I think all of those records are like that. And, of course, PANTERA is the same vein with 'Far Beyond Driven', 'Cowboys From Hell' — those are some great fucking records, man. People want to hear it. I think it's cool. It should be fun."
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.
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