Former SEPULTURA and current SOULFLY frontman Max Cavalera has once again weighed in on the upcoming PANTERA reunion tour, saying "fans deserve to hear those songs."
The 52-year-old Brazilian-born musician made his latest comments less than a month after Billboard reported that singer Philip Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, along with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante and guitarist Zakk Wylde, will tour as PANTERA, headlining a number of major festivals across North America and Europe and staging some of their own headline concerts.
According to Billboard, Wylde and Benante's involvement in the project has been approved by the estates of PANTERA's late co-founders, Vinnie Paul Abbott and "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott.
Max, who has spent the last few years playing SEPULTURA-centric shows with his brother, former SEPULTURA drummer Igor "Iggor" Cavalera, told Metal Hammer magazine about the prospect of Anselmo and Brown reuniting for a PANTERA tour in 2023: "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."
Last month, 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."
While he was alive, Vinnie Paul had repeatedly dismissed talks of a PANTERA reunion, telling Germany's EMP Rock Invasion in 2014: "People are selfish, man. They want what they want; they don't care what you want. And it's unfortunate that people go, 'Oh, wow, man, they can get Zakk Wylde to jump up there on stage and it's PANTERA again.' No, it's not, you know. It's not that simple. If Eddie Van Halen was to get shot in the head four times next week, would everybody be going, 'Hey, man, Zakk, go play for VAN HALEN. Just call it VAN HALEN.' You see what I'm saying? I mean, it's really selfish for people to think that, and it's stupid. It's not right at all."
He continued: "They call it a reunion for a reason. It's called bringing the original members back to what it was. So there's a lot of these things that they call reunions that aren't really reunions. They've got one dude from the band floating around in them, you know. That's not a true reunion. With PANTERA, it'll never be possible."
He repeated those same sentiments a few months later, telling PlanetMosh in a separate interview: "Without Dimebag Darrell, there is no [PANTERA] reunion. And that's all there is to it. We were a very influential band, and we touched millions and millions of people with that band, but it's over. People really have to come to grips with that, and that's all there is to it. If all of us were still here, then the possibility would truly be there, but since it's not, you know… It's selfish of the fans to want something that they can't have. And they don't ever understand that, and I get it. There's things I want in this world too. You know, people in fucking hell want ice water, but they're not gonna get it. So… Anyways, I'm glad that the people who have decided to follow me in HELLYEAH do, and hopefully more of them will. And the ones that wanna live in the past are gonna live in the past."
Up until his passing in June 2018, 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.
Dimebag's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and Philip to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag.
Vinnie, who is Dimebag's brother, and Anselmo had not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie suggested that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer.
Haney told the producers of "Behind The Music Remastered: Pantera" that she forgave the singer after they found themselves unexpectedly face to face at a concert in California.