PHILIP ANSELMO's DOWN Bandmate KIRK WINDSTEIN Praises PANTERA Reunion: 'They're Doing It For The Right Reasons'

August 31, 2023

CROWBAR frontman Kirk Windstein 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 are also supporting METALLICA on a massive North American stadium tour in 2023 and 2024.

According to Billboard, the new PANTERA 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.

Windstein, who plays with Anselmo in DOWN, discussed his views on PANTERA's comeback in a recent interview with Oran O'Beirne of Bloodstock TV. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I'm so happy for [Philip] and Rex. I really am. It's fantastic. It's huge. I think it's even bigger… Maybe they knew it would get this big. I really didn't, but God, I'm happy for 'em. We played with 'em in Poland back in the beginning of June, and it was just amazing… So I'm so happy for 'em. I really am. I told PhilipandRex, I'm, like, 'You get a second chance, second shot at doing what should have happened with the brothers had they not passed away.' But they're doing it for the right reasons and, boy, they're doing it at the top of their game. The production, everything is amazing. Musicianship-wise, PANTERA was one of the best heavy metal bands ever with Dime and Vinnie. But with Zakk, look, he might not play every note like Dime, but it's not his style… He's doing the signature solos, like the stuff everybody hums, everybody sings, but he's throwing in his own stuff too, which it should be that way."

Windstein previously talked about PANTERA's return in a November 2022 interview with the "Talk Louder" podcast, hosted by veteran music journalist "Metal Dave" Glessner and lifelong hard rock/metal vocalist Jason McMaster (DANGEROUS TOYS). He said: "The people who are against it, I understand, 'cause the very moment that Phil told us what was gonna be going on, that they were doing this and it's been planned — we were in Europe with DOWN [in June 2022] when we found out — and I remember kind of going, 'But dude, do y'all have to call it 'PANTERA'?' And I really did ask him. And he's, like, 'Yeah,' he goes, 'It is. It's PANTERA.' And I started to think about it. And it never sat wrong with me for even a minute, really, or anything. I just started thinking about the reality of what…

"What you're dealing with here is a situation where, by God, it's so horrible that Vince and Dime are not here with us," Kirk continued. "But you've got a situation with a band who has not only old-school fans who have not seen them perform since fucking 2001 or whatever the last shows were, you've also got an entire new generation, including my bass player, who's 34 years old but was too young to actually go to a concert, to travel or whatever and go see… He's such a PANTERA freak and a Dimebag freak… And there's so many younger kids that, this is the closest they're gonna get to it. And I feel like the fact that they have Zakk, who was so tight with Dime, and Charlie has been so tight with the band forever, filling in for…

"To me, when I think about it, it is a tribute to a legacy. The sad thing about anything in a situation like this [is] you can't bring the guys back; they're not with us any longer, Vinnie and Dime. So, to me, are they doing something… pissing on the name or something? Not at all. I think if anything, they're glorifying it. I mean, the music is too fucking good, too legendary, it was too groundbreaking, they were too amazing to not let people enjoy it.

"That's kind of what I feel on the negative people. And I feel that a huge generation of the old-schoolers like myself can't wait to see this. And you're gonna have the generation of the younger kids…

"I just played with DOWN at the Blue Ridge festival [in September 2022] and next day we played with CROWBAR, and I told Phil, I said, 'Dude, there's more PANTERA shirts at the shows now, and it's, like, young kids.' I said, '22-year-olds who weren't even born or they were just an infant when you all were done with the 'Reinventing The Steel' touring' and then the band basically breaking up and then, of course, the Dime situation and everything. And he was laughing. I said, 'I'm excited about it. I really am.'

"It didn't take but a second for it to hit," Kirk added. "I mean, if Vince could have been involved as well, of course, but that never would have happened. But if Vinnie could have been in it as well, I think it would have been amazing. And that's nothing against Charlie. But I still think that it's gonna be amazing. And I'm looking at it as a fan, as a friend of all of those guys. I'm looking very forward to it.

"All the haters that are, like, 'Oh, fuck this shit,' they're all gonna be doing this [keeping their arms crossed at first], and three songs in, they're gonna be fucking doing this [pumping their fists in the air enthusiastically], and everything's gonna be fine."

Up until his passing, 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.

Vinnie passed away on June 22, 2018 at his other home in Las Vegas at the age of 54. He died of dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart, as well as severe coronary artery disease. His death was the result of chronic weakening of the heart muscle — basically meaning his heart couldn't pump blood as well as a healthy heart.

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