In a recent interview with PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott as well as Vinnie‘s HELLYEAH bandmate Tom Maxwell, Ned of the WGRD 97.9 FM radio station in Grand Rapids, Michigan asked Vinnie if guitarist Zakk Wylde would be a man to replace Vinnie‘s brother — “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott — if PANTERA ever reformed.
Vinnie responded: “There was a whole lot more that was said before that. It was from a station [97.1 The Eagle Rocks] that I did an interview with in Dallas, with Cindy [Scull], who’s a really good friend of mine. We were just talking about being down in Australia. We had just done some shows with HELLYEAH, also with BLACK LABEL while we were down there, and we had done some hanging. I think the bottom line is Zakk‘s a great friend of mine.
“Obviously, he was a really great friend of Dime‘s. But the truth of the matter is DimewasPANTERA. He was such a huge part of it, and I just think it would tarnish the legacy of the band and everything that he was all about to try to have somebody else get up there and play. That’s how I feel about it. I’m very, very proud and happy to be doing what I’m doing with HELLYEAH. It’s called moving on in your life. You’ve gotta move forward, and that’s what I’m doing.”
Tom continued: “I have absolute respect for Zakk and all these other guitar players, and as a fan of PANTERA, I would have loved to have seen that happen again, but nobody can fill those shoes; it would not be the same, even for a fan. You might be able to get some kind of nostalgic thing out of it, but you’re not getting Dime. Pretty much, man, as a guitar player, when I went and saw [PANTERA], [Dimebag] is who I wanted to see.”
Former PANTERA bassist Rex Brown also addressed the possibility of Wylde taking Dimebag‘s place in a reformed PANTERA in an interview with San Antonio Metal Music Examiner in May. He said: “You know, we keep hearing rumors about a reunion with Zakk Wylde on guitar, and that is such bullsh*t. You can’t replace my brother.”