John Reese, the producer behind the annual Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, says that he has approached the three surviving members of PANTERA about resurrecting the band for an appearance at the event, explaining that "it would be badass to see PANTERA out there."
Late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on ex-PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott and singer Philip Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, who was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.
Vinnie, who is Dimebag's brother, and Anselmo have not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag's death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer.
Asked by Examiner.com what his dream act is for a future Mayhem show that he hasn't been able to sign on yet, Reese responded: "Oh, man. PANTERA, IRON MAIDEN, SYSTEM OF A DOWN and RAMMSTEIN. Those four."
Pressed to clarify whether he meant PANTERA with Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) filling in for Dimebag on guitar, Reese said: "Well, with somebody on guitar. I think that hopefully it happens. I think the fans deserve it and who knows what the three remaining guys have to say, but I think it would be badass to see PANTERA out there."
He continued: "I've even approached them about doing it. Do I think it's going to happen? I have no idea. I know that a heavy, heavy tragedy happened and there are some hard feelings, but it's up to those three dudes to decide if they ever want to do something or not. If they would decide to do I would support it wholeheartedly and I would do whatever I could to be involved. But it's up to them."
Wylde has consistently said that he would be open to taking part in a hypothetical PANTERA reunion with him filling in for Dimebag. He explained in a December 2014 interview: "It's definitely a good time [whenever I get to play PANTERA songs with Philip Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown]." He continued: "I mean, if somebody was to say 'a reunion,' I'd go, well, it's a reunion of Phil, Rex and Vincenzo [drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott]. But I'm just saying, for me, it's just… it's me going in and honoring and paying tribute [to Dimebag] at the same time."
Wylde added: "Whenever we've gotten together and jammed on the tunes… and Vinnie sometimes is at BLACK LABEL gigs and Vinnie has gotten up on drums and jammed a BLACK LABEL tune. And between HELLYEAH, we've all [toured and played] together. So it's always a good time whenever we're all hanging out together. But, like I said, whenever… 'Cause people always ask me, 'Is it ever gonna happen?' You know, that's all up to the fellows. But I love the guys. [And] I'm just a phone call away."
During an interview with Matt Pinfield of Fanpass at last year's Rock On The Range festival in Columbus, Ohio, Anselmo stated about the possibility of a PANTERA reunion: "I think the situation would have to be correct." After Pinfield interjected that Zakk would be the perfect guy to step in for Dimebag, Anselmo added: "Yeah, yeah, yeah. No doubt. We [DOWN] are on tour with fucking BLACK LABEL SOCIETY right now, and don't ever underestimate the power of conversation between Zakk and I. And I know [former PANTERA bassist] Rex [Brown] is a smart man. But at the end of the day, there would have to be a meeting at a table — or without a table — between Rex, Vince and I, and there would have to be a bigtime understanding between the two of us [Vinnie and Philip] before anything happens at all. Otherwise I think… There is a great percentage of me that says, 'This generation deserves it. Let's do it.' And then there's a reservation in me that says, 'You know what, man? Legacies get passed down. This, that, the other. Maybe we should leave it alone and just let it be part of lore and the history and whatnot.'"
Later in the interview, Anselmo once again spoke about a hypothetical PANTERA reunion, telling Pinfield, "If there was ever a proper presentation, like, OK, PANTERA is back together, Zakk's on guitar, that would be a massive feeling. That would be outrageous. And I would go to war. I would be in the best shape possible."
Vinnie, who has played in HELLYEAH for the past decade, has steadfastly refused to even consider "reuniting" PANTERA with Wylde on guitar, telling Brazil's "Wikimetal": "The bottom is they call it a reunion, and that means to bring the original members back, and we can't bring Dime back, and he was such a huge part of PANTERA. I don't wanna damage or tarnish the legacy of him or the band. We had 14 amazing years together and it's time for everybody to move on. And I have definitely moved on in my life. I don't live in the past. I like to live for today and what's coming up tomorrow, and I love what we're doing with HELLYEAH. And that's my focus and that's my goal, man."