This past February, at least two months after he first approached Charlie Benante about taking part in a new PANTERA tour, singer Philip Anselmo spoke to The Pit about what he thought the band’s late guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott would say about PANTERA‘s legacy. He said: “Dimebag and Vince always wanted this band to be a legacy band, to be massive, to be our own conduit to success, simply put. I think Dime and Vince — I know Dime and Vince — would want the legacy and the name of PANTERA to go on and on and on and in everybody’s damn face. I know that for sure. Abso-fucking-utely, dude. That would be their biggest dream.”
Last month, it was reported that Benante and guitarist Zakk Wylde, along with PANTERA‘s surviving members, Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, will tour as PANTERA, headlining a number of major festivals across North America and Europe and staging some of their own headline concerts.
According to a report by Billboard, Wylde and Benante‘s involvement in the project has been approved by the estates of PANTERA‘s late co-founders, Vinnie Paul and Dimebag.
Last week, Benante was asked during an appearance on SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” when he first got approached about taking part in the PANTERA tour. The ANTHRAX drummer said: “Oh, man. December [of last year]. End of December. I was talking to Philip, and then he just mentioned this. And I said, ‘Oh, yeah, sure. Whatever.’ And then it became real about January [or] February.”
While he was alive, Vinnie Paul had repeatedly dismissed talks of a PANTERA reunion, telling Germany’s EMP Rock Invasion in 2014: “People are selfish, man. They want what they want; they don’t care what you want. And it’s unfortunate that people go, ‘Oh, wow, man, they can get Zakk Wylde to jump up there on stage and it’s PANTERA again.’ No, it’s not, you know. It’s not that simple. If Eddie Van Halen was to get shot in the head four times next week, would everybody be going, ‘Hey, man, Zakk, go play for VAN HALEN. Just call it VAN HALEN.’ You see what I’m saying? I mean, it’s really selfish for people to think that, and it’s stupid. It’s not right at all.”
He continued: “They call it a reunion for a reason. It’s called bringing the original members back to what it was. So there’s a lot of these things that they call reunions that aren’t really reunions. They’ve got one dude from the band floating around in them, you know. That’s not a true reunion. With PANTERA, it’ll never be possible.”
He repeated those same sentiments a few months later, telling PlanetMosh in a separate interview: “Without Dimebag Darrell, there is no [PANTERA] reunion. And that’s all there is to it. We were a very influential band, and we touched millions and millions of people with that band, but it’s over. People really have to come to grips with that, and that’s all there is to it. If all of us were still here, then the possibility would truly be there, but since it’s not, you know… It’s selfish of the fans to want something that they can’t have. And they don’t ever understand that, and I get it. There’s things I want in this world too. You know, people in fucking hell want ice water, but they’re not gonna get it. So… Anyways, I’m glad that the people who have decided to follow me in HELLYEAH do, and hopefully more of them will. And the ones that wanna live in the past are gonna live in the past.”
Up until his passing in June 2018, 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.
Dimebag‘s longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and Philip to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag.
Vinnie, who is Dimebag‘s brother, and Anselmo had not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie suggested that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag‘s killer.
Haney told the producers of “Behind The Music Remastered: Pantera” that she forgave the singer after they found themselves unexpectedly face to face at a concert in California.