ZAKK WYLDE Is Open To Making New Music With PANTERA, But Says ‘You Would Have To Call It Something Else’

During an appearance on this past Wednesday’s (February 21) episode of SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”, Zakk Wylde spoke about the possibility of the reformed lineup of PANTERA — featuring surviving members Philip Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass),alongside Wylde and Charlie Benante (drums) — making new music. Asked if he would be open to working on new material with PANTERA, Zakk responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “No. I think you would have to call it something else. You know what I mean? PANTERA is those four guys. So, yeah, you can’t replace that.”

Pressed about whether he would want to do it under an altered name rather than calling it PANTERA, Wylde said: “Yeah. If that was ever a bridge we crossed, we’d have to wait until we get there. But right now, it’s just the four of us celebrating what the fellas [from the classic lineup] created.”

Zakk went on to say that he was open to making new music with Anselmo, Brown and Benante, provided that it was presented differently than just PANTERA. “Yeah, of course,” he said. “I mean, how could you call it PANTERA unless it was just pre-existing material and we were gonna record it — stuff that was in demo state or whatever, and it is songs that the guys wrote. But as far as new songs, it would have to be — you’d call it something else.”

Back in January 2023, longtime PANTERA producer Sterling Winfield, who is reportedly one of the people who control PANTERA drummer Vincent “Vinnie Paul” Abbott‘s estate, told Reckless Rock Radio 89.3 KNON FM about the possibility of the reformed PANTERA recording new music: “It’s not unheard of, it’s not blasphemous. I will say that it is entirely plausible, it is entirely possible, but at this point in time, I don’t know that anybody’s looking that far down the road. They’ve got a world tour to tackle, man, for the next two years, and they are gonna be busy doing that. Now, could it happen? Yes.”

Asked if he “would be cool” with Brown, Anselmo, Wylde and Benante making new music together, Sterling said: “It depends, man. Again, it has to be done right, like this whole thing; the whole tour that’s happening has to be done properly. And I don’t really feel comfortable — if it were to happen, I would not feel comfortable calling it PANTERA. I don’t think that would be classy. I’ll put it that way. And I’ll just leave it at that for now. [But] this lineup could make some very badass music. And the music is all that matters.”

Back in 2016, Vinnie Paul said that he would eventually release music that was planned for DAMAGEPLAN‘s second album.

The drummer formed DAMAGEPLAN with his brother “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott after PANTERA‘s split in 2003 and released the debut DAMAGEPLAN album, “New Found Power”, a year later.

Vinnie Paul told “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”: “The first [DAMAGEPLAN] record, I think, was pretty diverse. We wanted to do something that didn’t sound exactly like PANTERA, and with [the material that was written for] the second record, it was really focused, man. I’ve got the demos and someday they’ll come out. But I really feel like we had turned a corner. We’d been out, the fans had seen us, and they’d accepted the fact that this was our new thing at this point.”

The reformed PANTERA is headlining a number of major festivals across North America, South America and Europe and staging some of its own headline concerts. They are also supporting METALLICA on a massive stadium tour in 2024.

It was first reported in July 2022 that Anselmo and Brown would unite with Wylde and Benante for a world tour under the PANTERA banner.

According to Billboard, the lineup has been given a green light by the estates of Vinnie Paul and Dimebag, 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.

Anselmo and Brown spoke about PANTERA‘s return to the stage during an appearance on the seventeenth episode of “The Metallica Report”, the recently launched podcast offering weekly insider updates on all things METALLICA. Philip said: “It’s empowering. It is incredibly beautiful, and you feel so much love when you’re up there. And if you take it in, it’s a great feeling, man. These days, man, that’s where me and Rex, you know, we get to dig the shows more.”

He continued: “When we were younger, we were at war and when we were on stage; we were just angry and at war, man. Now it’s — the songs are there. I can concentrate on singing the fricking songs, number one. Geez, that’s a relief for me, man. I don’t have to break my fricking body in part anymore.”

Anselmo and Brown also talked about Charlie and Zakk being part of the PANTERA team. Philip said: “Them two dudes, so enthusiastic. And they got their damn thing and they got their own damn legacy, both of them, without us. It’s an honor to play with them. They’re the nicest frickin guys in the world, man. I’m just so… [Laughs] Zakk, he’s a crack-up, man. He’s a sweetheart. And fricking Charlie, we’ve known Charlie since ’87, man. It’s a long time.”

Rex chimed in: “The way [Charlie] plays Vinnie‘s parts is uncanny. I don’t think there’s any drummer out there that could play the way that Vinnie did. I would close my eyes, because I was trying to get tight, and sometimes if I close my eyes, I can hear a little better; I think I can. And there’d be a tear of joy just coming down, because that was so close to what Vinnie and I used to play. So you have the foundation.”

Philip concurred, saying: “The low end sounds so PANTERA, man. It’s freaking me out.”

When the interviewer suggested that PANTERA in 2023 had Vinnie Paul and Dimebag‘s “spirit inside it”, Philip said: “Only thing I can say is, man, I know for a damn fact Vince and Dime would want us to do this, hands down. They would want the PANTERA brand or the legacy to go on. And I don’t know what you believe in, but sometimes, you know, you would like to think that them old fellas are looking down on us, giving us the thumbs-up.”

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.”

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. 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 was 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.


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