In a brand new interview with The Village Voice, former PANTERA and current DOWN singer Philip Anselmo was asked about the possibility of a PANTERA reunion with Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) filling in for the late "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott on guitar.
"I talked to Zakk about two weeks ago, and he's very open for it," Anselmo revealed. "He's got an open mind about it. But, truth be told, Vince [Vinnie Paul Abbott, Dimebag's brother and former PANTERA drummer] has got a grudge against me that is really unfounded. And, honestly, I've always had a wide-open door when it comes to Vince."
He continued, "If it takes me standin' there and lettin' that little guy punch me in the fuckin' face repeatedly, over and over and over, 'till his hands were tired of hittin' my rock-hard fuckin' head, as long as we could sit down and talk afterwards, I'm all for it, man."
Asked if there would be any issue with someone else playing Dimebag's guitar parts, Anselmo said, "Well, now, I didn't say that the PANTERA thing is a realistic thing. I don't think that's the important thing. I think what the important thing is, what Zakk and I discussed, is just Vince actually dropping his guard and realizing there is no treachery afoot."
Speaking to Ned of the WGRD 97.9 FM radio station in Grand Rapids, Michigan in July, Vinnie Paul clarified his previous comment that if PANTERA ever reformed, Wylde would be the man to replace Dimebag.
"There was a whole lot more that was said before that," Vinnie said. "It was from a station [97.1 The Eagle Rocks] that I did an interview with in Dallas, with Cindy [Scull], who's a really good friend of mine. We were just talking about being down in Australia. We had just done some shows with HELLYEAH, also with BLACK LABEL while we were down there, and we had done some hanging. I think the bottom line is Zakk's a great friend of mine. Obviously, he was a really great friend of Dime's. But the truth of the matter is DimewasPANTERA. He was such a huge part of it, and I just think it would tarnish the legacy of the band and everything that he was all about to try to have somebody else get up there and play. That's how I feel about it. I'm very, very proud and happy to be doing what I'm doing with HELLYEAH. It's called moving on in your life. You've gotta move forward, and that's what I'm doing."
In a recent interview, Wylde was asked about Vinnie's comment that Zakk would be the man to replace Dimebag in an imaginary PANTERA reunion. "My thoughts on the PANTERA thing… Everybody's been asking me about it now, too. Which is cool," Zakk said. "I love [Vinnie Paul]. Rex I saw at my roast [in January]. It was great seeing Rex again. And Phil, I know. . . Put it this way, if the guys were ever to do that and they asked me to… Obviously, it would be to honor Dimebag's greatness and the band's amazing achievements. I mean, to me, as far as I'm concerned, if the guys were to do it, it would just be a celebration of everything they achieved and a celebration of Dime's life and Dime's greatness. So, of course, I'd be honored to play my fallen brother's stuff, without a doubt. And I know he'd be getting a kick out if it, too. That's for sure; he'd be laughing his ass off. But that's all up to the guys. So whatever… I'd always be there for them. Without a doubt."
Former PANTERA bassist Rex Brown also addressed the possibility of Wylde taking Dimebag's place in a reformed PANTERA. He told the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner in May, "You know, we keep hearing rumors about a reunion with Zakk Wylde on guitar, and that is such bullshit. You can't replace my brother."
Dimebag was shot to death along with three others during a DAMAGEPLAN performance at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio in December 2004.