Last month, it was announced that Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown signed with Artist Group International and agreed to a reunion/celebration tour in 2023. It was also announced that the vacancies in the group left by the deaths of brothers “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and Vinnie Paul would be filled by Black Label Society/Ozzy guitarist Zakk Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. According to Billboard, the lineup was given a green light by the estates of the Abbott brothers.
Back in February, Anselmo told The Pit about the future of the band. It was recently revealed that Benante was approached about taking part in a Pantera tour late last year giving Anselmo’s comments new weight. “Dimebag and Vince always wanted this band to be a legacy band, to be massive, to be our own conduit to success, simply put,” he said. “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-f*cking-utely, dude. That would be their biggest dream.”
Last month, Wylde and Benante appeared on Sirius XM’s “Trunk Nation” and spoke about the tour with host Eddie Trunk. “It’s gonna be awesome,” Wylde said. “The fellows have always… When Vinnie was still with us, it was always rolling around that, ‘Zakk, would you honor Dime and all of us get together and do this thing?’ And I said, ‘Fellows, whenever you wanna do this thing, I’ll be over here waiting in the dugout and in the bullpen. And just call me when you need me and I’ll learn everything and we’ll go do this.’”
Wylde continued: “Throughout the years, there’s always been rumblings about it, so it wasn’t until, obviously, now… I was speaking on the phone with Phil — we might have been all on a group call — but Phil was just, like, ‘Zakk, would you honor Dime and would you play?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Phil. Of course. I’ve always said I would. Of course.’ I said, ‘If you guys wanna go do it, then let’s do it.’”
Benante also commented saying: “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.” Benante also elaborated on when he was first approached about taking part in the tour. “Oh, man,” he said. “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… To this day, if it happens, if there’s one show that’s played, great.”
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