Prior to the tragic passing of drummer Vinnie Paul last year, talk of a Pantera reunion with Zakk Wylde filling in for the late Dimebag Darrell made headlines for quite some time. While nothing ever materialized, singer Philip Anselmo recently expressed interest in a tribute tour involving Wylde and Pantera bassist Rex Brown. Now, Wylde has offered his latest thoughts on the matter.
Speaking on The Cassius Morris Show, Wylde expressed that a collaboration with Anselmo and Brown would be a tribute to the legacies of brothers Dimebag and Vinnie.
“When Saint Vinnie was still around, they were talking about it then,” Wylde said. “I mean, the way I always looked at it is, it’s a Pantera celebration and an honor.”
Wylde compared his involvement in a hypothetical Pantera tribute to his performances with Ozzy Osbourne, during which he plays numerous songs composed by Randy Rhoads. “Every night I’m playing with Ozz, we honor Saint Rhoads. I’m playing the Randy stuff every night, and I’m blessed and it’s an honor to do it.”
Rather than trying to replace Rhoads or Dimebag, Wylde considers playing their songs a salute to their greatness.
“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 [Jimi Hendrix Experience members] Mitch [Mitchell] and Noel [Redding] and singing and playing Jimi’s songs, and he’s honoring Jimi, because 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.”
It wouldn’t be the first time Wylde has paid tribute to Pantera. He brought Anselmo onstage for a rendition of Pantera’s “I’m Broken” throughout Black Label Society’s tour with Down in 2014. Brown eventually joined in when the tour passed through Texas, intensifying rumors of a hypothetical tribute.
However, Vinnie Paul always emphatically ruled against any such tribute happening due to his longstanding feud with Anselmo. The drummer resented Anselmo for disparaging comments the singer made about Dimebag shortly before the guitarist was gunned down onstage by a deranged concertgoer in December 2004.
Any Pantera tribute involving Wylde would have to revolve around the guitarist’s commitment to Black Label Society and to Osbourne’s rescheduled tour in 2020. Even then, there would likely be hurdles in clearing it with Vinnie Paul’s estate.
In the meantime, Anselmo is playing classic Pantera songs with his band The Illegals, who are the opening act on the final leg of Slayer’s farewell tour. That trek kicks off this Saturday (November 2nd) in Asheville, North Carolina, with tickets available here.
Listen to the full interview clip with Wylde below.