ROB HALFORD Says PANTERA Reunion Will Be 'Sensational': 'These Guys Are Going To Blow Your F***ing Mind'

November 1, 2022

JUDAS PRIEST frontman Rob Halford has once again 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 Loudwire. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I put a picture of me and Phil at [Denmark's] Copenhell [festival in June] on my Instagram while [JUDAS PRIEST and DOWN] were out over there. And he goes, 'Hey.' I go, 'What?' [He goes], 'I've got a secret.' [And I go], 'Go on. Tell me. Give me the dirt, Phil.' He goes, 'PANTERA.' And I go, 'Thank God for that.' Thank God for that, because this band means so much to us. And to have it validated by Zakk and Charlie, to me, that's it — it's complete. And Charlie and Zakk love PANTERA as much as we all do, as fans of the band.

"As much as we love and miss Dime and Vinnie, these guys are going to blow your fucking mind; I know they are," Rob continued. "So we should just cherish and relish the moment. I hope they take it around the world because there's millions and millions of PANTERA fans who can't wait. Like me. I'm gonna be there [when PANTERA and JUDAS PRIEST share the stage at the Hell & Heaven Metal Fest in December] — I'm gonna be there on the side of that stage. I'm gonna be there and I'm gonna watch the whole thing. And it's gonna be wonderful. Phil loves that band still so much, as Rex does. And I know he misses Dime and Vinnie, and Rex does, every single day of their life, like we all do. So this is just sensational. I think it needs to be done, because there's healing there."

Halford added: "I read some of these comments, 'Oh, they're digging up the past.' No, they're not. They're doing a tremendous service to all of us PANTERA fans, and the incredible healing that's gonna go out into the world. And to bring in new PANTERA fans. There's gonna be people at this show in South America that maybe have heard of this PANTERA band but then are gonna witness this assault and are gonna go straight out and get every PANTERA album, t-shirt, vinyl, whatever.

"It's beautiful. We must keep the metal alive, no matter how we can. And to have it brought back to us this way is gonna be sensational."

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."

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, Chile.

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

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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