SKID ROW Guitarist On PANTERA Return: It's Not A 'Reunion'; It's A 'Celebration'
August 19, 2022
SKID ROW guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo 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.
Sabo, who manages Anselmo's DOWN project as part of the successful management company McGhee Entertainment (KISS, TED NUGENT) headed up by Doc McGhee, discussed his views on the PANTERA comeback in a new interview with the "Talk Toomey" podcast. Asked why there hasn't been an official announcement yet about Anselmo and Brown touring again under the PANTERA name, Snake said: "Oh, there will be." He then laughed before adding: "I'm really not at liberty to really talk about anything right now. I'm just excited at the thought of this happening.
"I will say this: in no way is it a reunion at all, obviously," he continued. "This is a celebration of the legacy of a band that changed music, heavy music. And that's how I believe everybody is treating it. And for me as a fan, I can't wait to witness it, because those songs are amazing, as was the band. So to be able to go out and turn new people on to the machine that was PANTERA, the music that they created, and to celebrate the legacy of the band and to celebrate the lives of Vinnie and Dime, I think everything is right with that. And to be do it in a way — which I know they will — to do it in a way that is nothing but deeply respectful… And I think it's something, too, that gives people a reminder just how influential they were as a band and how influential both Dime and Vinnie were as musicians and songwriters.
"There's a lot to digest here, I guess," Snake acknowledged. "But really, the thing is that… It's really simple. It is a celebration of PANTERA's music and PANTERA's history with really great musicians."
Last month, 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.