PANTERA's 2023 Lineup To Include CHARLIE BENANTE And ZAKK WYLDE? Thursday July 14 2022, 10:40 AM

ANTHRAX   drummer   Charlie Benante   and   OZZY OSBOURNE   guitarist   Zakk Wylde   are rumored to be the musicians who will join   PANTERA 's surviving members on a reunion tour in 2023.

Although it was announced by   Billboard   on Wednesday (July 13) that singer   Philip Anselmo   and bassist   Rex Brown   have signed with   Artist Group International   to book their North American dates, there has been no official word about who will fill out the rest of   PANTERA 's touring lineup.

Benante   and   Wylde   have both voiced their appreciation for   PANTERA 's musical legacy on a number of occasions in recent years. Back in June 2018, just one day after the death of   Vinnie Paul Abbott ,   Benante   told   SiriusXM   about the first time he met the   PANTERA   drummer: "The very first time, it was the first time we ever were in Texas. And those guys [ PANTERA ] were there. We played at this club, and I believe   PANTERA   were the opening band. A mutual friend of ours, who everybody knows now —   Rita   [ Haney , longtime girlfriend of   PANTERA   guitarist   'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott ] — she kind of was the conduit to grouping us together to become friendly. We've known those guys since 1985, and just the two of them,   Darrell   and   Vinnie , after you met those two, it was like you had a friend in Texas, both of them, and they just made the experience so much better, and you immediately bonded. So throughout the years, we just remained friends."

Benante   went on to draw a parallel between   PANTERA   and another legendary rock band which featured siblings who achieved notability together.

"I always equated   Dime   and   Vinnie   as, like,   Alex   and   Eddie   from   VAN HALEN ; I always thought   PANTERA   was like   VAN HALEN   reborn," he said. "They had a guitar player, who was a hero. The drummers were fucking awesome, but the thing about   Vinnie   that, I think, not a lot of people know — maybe they do — but from a technical side of things,   Vinnie   made those   PANTERA   records sound like that. He was the guy behind it all who was turning the knobs, EQing shit so that his kick drum wasn't fighting with   Darrell 's fucking chunky guitar. He was a lot of the brains and the glue that held that band together and, basically, pushed that band."

In 2019,   Anselmo , who has spent the past few years playing a   PANTERA -centric set with his solo band,   THE ILLEGALS , told Chile's   Humo Negro   that he would consider getting together with   Wylde   and   Brown   and performing   PANTERA 's classic songs in concert. "Well,   Zakk   is a busy man," he said. "He does his own band, he does stuff with   Ozzy   and all that stuff. We spoke about it maybe one time. And I think everybody —   everybody   — is… I guess they're like me. Keep an open mind about it. We'll see. But I know from all the hard work with [ Anselmo 's]   THE ILLEGALS   [project] here to make those songs right, all of us, we would have to take time off and really practice together and get everything perfect. So it's a lot of work. And I'm doing a lot of bands, man, right now. [But] if everything was lined up, I would do it — sure. Fuck yeah! Why not?"

Zakk   was also open to the idea, telling   "The Cassius Morris Show"   in October 2019: "When   Saint Vinnie   was still around, they were talking about it then. I mean, the way I always looked at it is it's a   PANTERA   celebration and an honor. I mean, every night I'm playing with   Ozz , we honor   Saint Rhoads   [late   Ozzy   guitarist   Randy Rhoads ]. I'm playing the   Randy   stuff every night, and I'm blessed and it's an honor to do it. Basically, we're paying tribute to   Randy   every night — keeping his music alive.

"If we got together and we ended up doing it, it would be like… I just look at it like if   Eric Clapton   went out and was with   Mitch   [ Mitchell ,   Jimi Hendrix 's drummer] and   Noel   [ Redding ,   Hendrix 's bass player] and singing and playing   Jimi 's songs, and he's honoring   Jimi , 'cause that was his buddy.

"No one's replacing anybody. No one's replacing   Randy Rhoads   — he was a one-off. Just like no one's replacing   Jimi Hendrix   and no one's replacing   Dime   — or   Vinnie .

"If [ LED ]   ZEPPELIN   was going out, and if   Jason 's [ Bonham ] playing drums, no one's replacing his father. What they're doing is celebrating his father's greatness and what he achieved and all the mountains he conquered with   ZEPPELIN . It's more of a tribute and a celebration than it is... You can't replace any of these people I'm talking about — they're all legendary guys. But, yeah, you're just celebrating all their achievements — that's all."

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."

When   Eonmusic   interviewer   Eamon O'Neill   added that he wasn't about to ask the usual question about a reunion with   Zakk Wylde   taking the place of   Dimebag ,   Rex   offered: "It's going to come up, and it wouldn't be   Zakk Wylde , I guarantee you that. I've just put it out there so we can get on past it."

In February 2020,   Haney   said she would "definitely" be in favor of   Anselmo ,   Brown   and   Wylde   teaming up for a   PANTERA   tribute tour. A few days later,   Brown   weighed in on her comments, writing on   Twitter : "I wanna make sure that ppl understand what I'm about to tweet.. It's not up to   Rita   to say what will happen, only what   Philip   & I say...I'm in!! Dig?!?!?"

Rita   discussed the possibility of the former   PANTERA   members and the   OZZY OSBOURNE   guitarist paying tribute to   Dimebag   and his brother   Vinnie Paul Abbott   while speaking to   "The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show"   on the red carpet of the   Ronnie James Dio 10th Memorial Awards Gala   at the Avalon in Los Angeles. She said: "I don't think there could be a   PANTERA   reunion, but I think that his two remaining brothers,   Rex   and   Philip , if they wanted to honor   Darrell   and   Vinnie , as far as where I'm coming from and what I believe   Darrell   would believe — because he was the most forgiving person that I know — I believe that he would be honored. It's kind of a cliché to say, but he truly would be grateful that he meant that much to them. And I think if they wanna honor their fallen brothers with a tribute, I think that that's great. But as far as trying to say put   PANTERA   back together,   PANTERA   tribute, this and that, no — that's distasteful without those other guys. But I think as a tribute, it would be a really great thing. Because I know, from a fan's point, if I hadn't been able to see them play or hear those songs — the songs, they mean so much to me; I can imagine [they do to] other people as well. I think it's great that they can at least see it performed, and by people that truly love 'em. So, yeah, I think it would be a really cool thing."

When asked to clarify if she would "be okay with a tour," she responded: "I definitely would. I'd wanna be at every show. [ Laughs ]"

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.

Via Blabbermouth

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