ZAKK WYLDE Says PANTERA Reunion ‘Brings Joy To So Many People’

Pantera Knotfest Chile

According to Zakk Wylde, the ongoing PANTERA tour is the ultimate homage to the band’s late co-founders, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and Vincent “Vinnie Paul” Abbott.

The current lineup of PANTERA, comprising Wylde, ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante, and the surviving members of the band, singer Philip Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, is headlining various major festivals across North America and Europe, as well as staging their own headline concerts. Additionally, they are set to support METALLICA on a massive stadium tour in 2023 and 2024.

“To me, it’s just a beautiful thing,” Wylde said in a new interview with Guitar World. “Whenever we do the Experience Hendrix thing, we pay tribute to the amazing music and playing of Jimi Hendrix. And when I’m playing ‘Mr. Crowley’ or ‘Crazy Train’ with Ozzy [Osbourne], we’re celebrating the greatness of Randy [Rhoads]. It’s not controversial or tragic. It’s about this awesome thing PANTERA created — and this community of people who still enjoy it.

“We’re up there celebrating Dime and Vinnie. That’s what this is about, and it brings joy to so many people. For us, it’s really special because we’re commemorating our buddies — the guys in PANTERA who we loved — and everything they did for music.”

He was also asked whether he had already learned all the songs before rehearsing with the current PANTERA lineup, to which he responded: “It’s so funny that people think I’d already played all these songs. On the first ANTHRAX/BLACK LABEL run we did, [bassist] Frankie Bello was like, ‘Zakk, you know all the parts, right?’ I go, ‘No, I don’t know any of the parts. Why would I?’ It’s like if Dime agreed to fill in for me doing a run with Ozzy and I asked him, ‘Hey, can you come up right now and play the solo to ‘No More Tears’‘Miracle Man’ or ‘Stillborn’?’ He’d be like, ‘Well, I’ve heard the songs, but that doesn’t mean I know how to play ’em. First I gotta learn ’em!’ You have to practice, and you have to work on it to get everything right.”

When asked if he found learning Dime‘s parts easy, Zakk responded: “Some of them. But I had to go to YouTube for a batch of stuff if I couldn’t figure it out. That was definitely a massive help. And then there were still about two or three things where Rex went, ‘Nah, you’re slightly off. Do this’ — whatever it was. And I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. I got it now.'”

According to Billboard, the lineup has been given a green light by the estates of the band’s founders, drummer Vincent “Vinnie Paul” Abbott and guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, as well as Brown, who last year said Wylde wouldn’t tour with PANTERA if a reunion were to happen. It’s unclear what changed his mind.