Philip Anselmo has been playing Pantera classics with his backing band The Illegals for the past year. Now, the singer has opened the door to fronting an even bigger tribute to his legendary metal outfit.
In a video interview with Chile news outlet Humo Negro, Anselmo said he was open to joining up with Pantera bassist Rex Brown and guitar legend Zakk Wylde, a longtime friend of the band. The collaboration would fulfill a long-rumored pipe dream of Wylde playing with the surviving members of the band when drummer Vinnie Paul was still alive.
“Well, Zakk is a busy man … We spoke about it maybe one time,” Anselmo said in reply to the possibility of a tribute lineup. “If everything was lined up, I would do it, sure. F**k yeah! Why not?”
He added: “I’m open for anything. And Rex and I, we are in touch and we talk. We’re friends and everything’s cool. So, I keep an open mind, I keep an open mind. We’ll see in the future.”
Rumors of Wylde participating in a Pantera reunion peaked in 2014 when Anselmo would join Wylde onstage for a rendition of Pantera’s “I’m Broken” during Down’s tour with Black Label Society. Brown later joined in when the tour passed through Texas, further intensifying rumors.
However, the idea of Wylde stepping in for the late “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was repeatedly shot down by Dime’s brother, Vinnie Paul, who remained estranged from Anselmo until the drummer’s own death in 2018. Vinnie harbored resentment toward Anselmo, who made inflammatory comments about Dimebag in a magazine interview shortly before the guitarist was slain onstage by a crazed gunman in 2004.
The reunion never came to fruition as Vinnie and Philip remained on non-speaking terms while the drummer was alive. That said, it was Vinnie Paul’s passing that inspired Anselmo to revisit the Pantera material with his band the Illegals.
“The last thing on my mind, before all this happened, was really playing Pantera songs,” Anselmo told Humo Negro, “…and then Vince died. And then it was, like, ‘F**k, man.’ Things got important.”
The hypothetical tribute would probably have to get the blessing of the Abbott brothers’ estate, which seems unlikely. Not to mention, Wylde’s commitment to the forthcoming rescheduled Ozzy Osbourne tour means it would be a while before it would even come to fruition.
For now, fans catch Philip Anselmo and The Illegals performing a set of Pantera classics as the opening act on the final leg of Slayer’s farewell tour. Those dates kick off November 2nd in Asheville, North Carolina. Pick up tickets here.