November 9, 2022

CROWBAR frontman Kirk Windstein has weighed in on the news that PANTERA's surviving members Philip Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass) will unite 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, will headline a number of major festivals across North America, South America and Europe and stage some of their own headline concerts.

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 last year 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 the "Talk Louder" podcast, hosted by veteran music journalist "Metal Dave" Glessner and lifelong hard rock/metal vocalist Jason McMaster (DANGEROUS TOYS). He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "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 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."

PANTERA will play its first shows in over 20 years in December 2022, starting with a co-headlining slot at Mexico's Hell & Heaven Metal Fest and Monterrey Metal Fest, followed by appearances at three Knotfest festivals in South America. There will also be a one-off show with JUDAS PRIEST in São Paulo, Brazil and a headlining concert in Santiago.

Next year, PANTERA will appear at Germany's Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park, two simultaneous rock festivals, which will take place June 2-4 in Nürburgring and Nürnberg, respectively. They will also perform at Norway's Tons Of Rock festival in late June.

Confirmed PANTERA shows so far:

Dec. 02 - Texicoco, Mexico - Hell & Heaven Metal Fest
Dec. 06 - Monterrey, Mexico – Monterrey Metal Fest
Dec. 09 - Bogotá, Colombia – Knotfest Colombia
Dec. 11 - Santiago, Chile - Knotfest Chile
Dec. 12 - Santiago, Chile - Movistar Arena
Dec. 15 - São Paulo, Brazil – Vibra São Paulo (with JUDAS PRIEST)
Dec. 18 - São Paulo, Brazil – Knotfest Brazil
Jun. 2-4 - Nürburgring, Germany - Rock Am Ring
Jun. 2-4 - Nürnberg, Germany - Rock Im Park
Jun. 22-24 - Oslo, Norway - Tons Of Rock

Benante told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" about how he plans to approach the PANTERA gig: "I can't go do this as the drummer from ANTHRAX because it would be a different sound completely. So the way I'm gonna do that is if you close your eyes, it's gonna sound like it's Vinnie, basically. And that's how it's gonna be. The sound is gonna sound exactly like him."

Wylde said that he had a similar mindset. "You approach it the same way as you do when I'm playing with Ozzy," he said. "Obviously I've gotta learn [Randy] Rhoads's stuff and I've gotta learn Jake's [E. Lee] stuff, and when I was doing the [BLACK] SABBATH stuff, you learn it and do it as faithful as you can. Charlie's gotta learn all of Vinnie's parts. You approach it as if you're in a cover band. When we do the ZAKK SABBATH stuff," referring to his BLACK SABBATH cover band, "I don't start changing lyrics midway through 'War Pigs'. You learn the songs — so that's what you do."

A year ago, Anselmo said that he was up for reuniting with Brown for a special tour celebrating the music of PANTERA. The 54-year-old singer, who has spent the past few years playing a PANTERA-centric set with his solo band, THE ILLEGALS, discussed the possibility of re-teaming with his former PANTERA bandmate during an interview with Brazil's Inside With Paulo Baron. Asked if he and Rex would be open to playing some shows in celebration of PANTERA's legacy, Anselmo said: "If Rex and I had a show to play, or we were ever gonna be on stage again together, I would welcome it with open arms. I love Rex. And he'd be the same way. We're brothers forever. So playing on stage together, or doing some shows together, is not out of the question. It could happen."

In April 2021, Rex told Eonmusic that he and Philip still get offers for a PANTERA tribute tour. "But if you don't have the other guys in the band, it's not going to sound the same," he said. "If we were ever to do something like that, it would have to be spot-on, or I wouldn't do it. It would be a tribute."

Talk about a possible PANTERA "reunion" intensified when Anselmo regularly joined Wylde's BLACK LABEL SOCIETY to perform PANTERA's song "I'm Broken" during DOWN's 2014 stint on the "Revolver Golden Gods Tour". That buzz only got stronger after Brown joined the jam on May 23, 2014 when the tour swung through Texas.

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.

PANTERA is managed by Scott McGhee of 1 Degree Music Entertainment. The band's legal representative is Nick Ferrara And Associates. PANTERA is booked internationally by Rod MacSween at ITB. Artist Group International will book PANTERA's North American dates, with Dennis Arfa and Peter Pappalardo as the responsible agents.

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