SKID ROW guitarist Dave "Snake" Sabo has 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 will also support METALLICA on a massive North American stadium tour in 2023 and 2024.
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 in 2021 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 "Rock Of Nations With Dave Kinchen & Shane Mceachern". Asked if he supports Anselmo and Brown touring again under the PANTERA name, Snake said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "My gosh, a thousand percent. And it's not a reunion; it's impossible for it to be a reunion. This is like a celebration, in my viewpoint, and I think theirs as well, 'cause I've spoken with them.
"Philip and Rex and Charlie and Zakk are friends of mine, and I've known those guys forever," he continued. "I first met Zakk at the music store in Toms River when he was 18 years old, so we have a history. And I played in ANTHRAX for a short period of time, filling in. And, obviously, Philip and Rex, PANTERA toured with [SKID ROW], and I manage DOWN. So there's very close-knit friendships there.
"When they first started talking about it, they never viewed it as anything other than a celebration of the legacy of the band, a celebration of the Abbott brothers and a chance to put that in front of as many people as possible so people can get a chance to witness this music performed by some of the original members of the band in a setting that is a one-of-a-kind event, in my view. And I love it. I love it.
"Those guys are so invested in it too, and for all the right reasons," Snake added. "It came to a point where they decided, 'You know what? It's 20-some years. And this music has a life of its own. It's our music. Let's go out, put a great band together and go out and perform it and remind everybody of this legacy and how great Vinnie and Dime were and still are, because their music lives on. I think it's really special. And to me, that's the show of the year — is PANTERA."
Last month, PANTERA played seven shows in Mexico and South America. The band will next headline the 2023 "comeback" edition of Japan's Loud Park festival. The two-day "limited" event will take place on March 25 at Intex Osaka in Osaka and March 26 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City near Tokyo.
Brown was forced to leave PANTERA's Latin American tour after testing positive for COVID-19. Filling in for him at some of the shows was CATTLE DECAPITATION bassist Derek Engemann, who also plays with Anselmo in both PHILIP H. ANSELMO & THE ILLEGALS and SCOUR.
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.