In a brand new interview with Shannon Gunz of SiriusXM's Ozzy's Boneyard, METALLICA bassist Robert Trujillo reflected on being on the road with PANTERA more than three decades ago when he was a member of the long-running Venice Beach, California thrash/punk band SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Back in, I wanna say 1990 or '91 — it's been so long. It might have been '89. I don't know. It was a long time ago. Phil [Anselmo, PANTERA frontman] at the time was 22. So let's figure. But [PANTERA's major-label debut] 'Cowboys From Hell' had just come out. And it was SUICIDAL TENDENCIES, EXODUS and PANTERA [touring together].
"Originally, when I heard the name PANTERA, I automatically was, like, 'Wait. What's up with this band?', having no idea how heavy and badass they were and energized on stage," Robert admitted. "It was an important moment for me, because it was one of my earlier tours with SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. And also [that was] back in the day when you would connect and bond with other bands. If there were ever days off, you were hanging together. And we would share music and listen to different cassettes and kind of vibe with…
"I remember Phil had the first demo tapes that I ever heard of… I think it was EXHORDER; then you had the [RED HOT] CHILI PEPPERS demo; and then you had MR. BUNGLE — all these eccentric, kind of crazy alternative bands, ranging from super heavy to alternative kind of funk metal and all that. So it was an exciting time to be on that tour with PANTERA."
Last month, METALLICA drummer Lars Ulrich 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.
Ulrich discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback in an interview with Revolver. He said: "I think that the idea that they're out celebrating the music and the magic of PANTERA is ... I know there's been a lot of talk in the community about whether people support that or not. But I'm the type of person, if Glenn Hughes wants to go out and play a DEEP PURPLE set, I'd support that.
"I'm always in favor of people following their musical and creative ambitions; so this PANTERA reunion, I think, is good," he added. "And obviously having Charlie up there is great. I saw a video from one of the Mexico shows that felt like they were in the pocket. It'll be fun to have them out."
Speaking about METALLICA's relationship with PANTERA, which dates back to before Anselmo had even joined the band, Ulrich said: "We met the brothers on the 'Ride The Lightning' tour and became friends with them. This was in Dallas in — what — 1622 or something? It was about 400 years ago. We obviously loved both of them, and they had a posse down there, and we would see them whenever we came through Texas. We watched the band evolve over the years from more rock vibes into that creative, unique force that they became. So, we've had a relationship with them for decades and decades."
After Dimebag was murdered in December 2004, Ulrich released a statement in which he said that he was "fortunate enough to meet both Darrell and his brother in Dallas on tour" in 1985. He went on to say: "The first thing me and my friend did as soon as that tour was over was to head straight back to Dallas and hang out with Darrell and Vinnie for a long time, 'cause they were the coolest mutherfuckers that we had met after criss-crossing the states for three months. That was the beginning of a friendship that was anchored in love, respect, fun, outrageousness, music, booze, sweat, late nights, early mornings, hangovers, headaches, pounding eardrums, sore bodies... the list goes on."
He added: "Darrell and his brother were the cornerstone of musical adventures that were always groundbreaking, pushing boundaries, challenging to themselves and to their fans, respected by their peers and always true musicians' musicians."
PANTERA played seven shows in Mexico and South America in December and headlined the 2023 "comeback" edition of Japan's Loud Park festival in late March.