ROB HALFORD Says PANTERA Reunion Will Be 'Amazing': 'I'm Gonna Be Banging My Head Like A Maniac'
October 10, 2022
JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford 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 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.
Halford discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback in an interview with "Cutter's RockCast". He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Is this PANTERA thing gonna be amazing or what? We're gonna be doing the first show together [at this year's edition of Mexico's Hell & Heaven Metal Fest]."
Rob went on to say that Wylde and Benante are "the right people" to step in for Dimebag and Vinnie Paul. "If you know about the way Charlie feels about PANTERA, you know the way Zakk feels, the skill that they both have to do the songs justice," he said.
"Man, this is important — it's important. And Phil's voice is the voice of PANTERA. What Rex does is as important? So, what's not to love about this really special moment that we're all gonna go nuts?
"I can't wait to hear Zakk start churning out [starts humming 'Walk' riff].
"I'm gonna be on the side of the stage, 'cause we're both on the same bill that night. I'm gonna be banging my head like a maniac. I'm so happy for them."
As previously reported, PANTERA will co-headline the first night of Hell & Heaven Metal Fest. The reactivated band will share the stage with SCORPIONS, MESHUGGAH, ARCH ENEMY, EPICA and CRADLE OF FILTH, among other artists, on December 2 at Foro Pegaso in Toluca. PANTERA will also perform at the Monterrey Metal Fest on December 6 at Estadio Mobil Super in Monterrey, Mexico. Also scheduled to appear are JUDAS PRIEST, MERCYFUL FATE, BEHEMOTH and STRYPER, among others.
Other festivals PANTERA has been confirmed for are Knotfest Colombia, Knotfest Chile and Knotfest Brasil, all of which will take place in December. Knotfest Colombia is scheduled for Friday, December 9 at Campin Circuit of Bogotá. Knotfest Chile is slated to take place on Sunday, December 11 at Estadio Monumental in Santiago. Knotfest Brasil will follow on Sunday, December 18 at Sambódromo do Anhembi in São Paulo.
Eight years ago, Halford spoke to Revolver magazine about the first time he met PANTERA.
"PRIEST was in Canada rehearsing for the 'Painkiller' tour," he recalled. "I was doing an interview from the hotel room and I turned the telly on to [Canadian music-video channel] Much Music. The sound was turned off, and I saw this guy and he's got a 'British Steel' t-shirt on. So I quickly finished the interview, and I turned the volume up and he's just talking about his band, PANTERA, and 'Cowboys From Hell'. And just watching him and listening to him on the television, you just felt like, This is a great guy. Firstly, I saw a clip of the band. I was like, 'My God, this guitar player is fucking phenomenal,' besides the rest of the band. And then just hearing him talk, I thought, I really would like to meet this guy. So I called up Much Music and I said, 'Was that Darrell? Is he still there?' It wasn't Dimebag in those days, it was Diamond Darrell. They said, 'Yeah, he still is.' And he was, like, 'Oh my God, I can't believe it, I'm wearing a PRIEST shirt.' And I said, 'Yeah, I've just seen you on the Much Music.' He said, 'Oh man, I'd love to see you. We got a show tonight at the club in Toronto.' I'm pretty much sure that it was PANTERA and STRYPER.
"So I went down there, and we had a great time together, and we just talked about metal, this, that and the other. I think I jammed 'Metal Gods' with them. It's a bit blurry — it should be more significant than this, but this is 1991. I was clean and sober then, but you know how things get jumbled up in your brain. So that was the start of that. And I told [JUDAS PRIEST guitarists] Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing specifically after that: 'I've seen this band. They're absolutely fucking amazing and they are going to be huge. They are going to be huge!' And I said, 'We should try to get him on the tour.' So, to cut a long story short, we brought them with us on the PRIEST 'Painkiller' tour of Europe and nobody had a clue who they were. They had no distribution as far as I understood in Europe. So they went out blind, in front of Germans and French and whatever. I used to watch every show, and the first reaction fans gave them was, 'Who the hell is this?' And it was, like, 'Oh my fucking God, what's going on in front of my eyes?' They would just win an audience over in 30, 40 minutes. From playing fresh, new music that nobody had heard before. The communication was instant with that band. So, there it was. So, by the time we'd done the European tour, and they went back to the states, 'Cowboys' was shooting up the charts. And that was it, they were off and running. They were just launched into the stratosphere on that first release."
Halford also talked about the song "Light Comes Out Of Black" which he recorded with PANTERA for the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" soundtrack. Regarding how the track came together, he said: "I was away from PRIEST. Sony were working on the soundtrack. They wanted Sony artists and asked me to write a song. I hadn't written as a solo writer for years and years and years. But it's one of those things where you don't know what you can do until you put your nose to the grindstone. So I wrote 'Light Comes Out Of Black', and I was stuck. And I got Dime's number, and I called him up and I said, 'Here's the deal.' And he goes, 'Let's do it. Just get in the plane and come down to Dallas.' So, that's what I did the next day, went to the studio, laid the track down in a very short space of time. Phil wandered by, said 'Oh, how's it going, 'Metal God'?' So, I told him and he said, 'You got a spot for me?' I said, 'Pfft, here's the mic.' So Phil joins me on the back end of the song. And it turned out really good. It's amazing to think that that's a PANTERA song really. It is PANTERA with me on lead vocals, and Phil obviously doing the outro sections. But it's a PANTERA song, really."
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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