Charlie Benante Opens Up on Getting Negative Reactions for Joining Pantera, Explains What It’s Like to Play Vinnie Paul’s Parts

Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante recently spoke up on receiving some negative reactions online for joining the current incarnation of Pantera. The legendary groove metal band currently involves Zakk Wylde on guitar, Charlie Benante on drums, as well as Pantera’s classic members, vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown.

While talking to Consequence of Sound and their metal-oriented outlet Heavy Consequence, Benante was asked to weigh in on how he felt about some of those negative comments that people had about the current version of Pantera, knowing that the two core members, brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, are no longer with us. He replied (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“I don’t go [online] looking for [people’s negative comments about it]. There’s people that send me, ‘Hey, did you see this?’ And I’m, like, ‘Why did you send me this? Why ruin my day?'”

He also added:

“I think the people who do these things, these comments, I don’t even think they realize how much of an effect that they could have on people.”

“And whether or not you hate the situation, or whatever it is, why can’t you find some sort of restraint? Why do you need to say this thought that you have? Can’t you just hold it in and maybe be, like, ‘I’ll keep my thoughts to myself’?”

“No, they’ve gotta tell you. I’ve never seen more of it in my life than I [did] in these past couple of months about just people judging.”

Pantera (2023-03-25, Loud Park 2023, Osaka, Japan) [4K]

Pantera’s reunion, a word which the band members have distanced themselves from, was officially announced in summer of 2022. It was later revealed that Zakk and Benante would be rounding up the lineup, which didn’t come as much of a surprise to most of the band’s fans.

What felt a bit odd to some, however, was the band being promoted as a “reunion” of Pantera, despite the band members saying that it’s not a real reunion. Additionally, no one could technically ask Vinnie Paul or Dimebag Darrell what they would think of it, although their respective estates have given a green light on the whole thing.  

Getting back to the interview, Benante also discussed what it’s like to perform Vinnie Paul’s drum parts. He offered:

“I just spent a lot of time on Vinnie’s parts and more importantly the tone that Vinnie had because I wanted it to sound like Pantera. That was my thing.”

PANTERA- Charlie Benante Clips from Our shows in Mexico,Colombia,Chile and Brazil

“And my drum configuration is different from the Anthrax one because I wanted to challenge myself to play those parts like he played them in that configuration, which, to me, was more important than anything. But yet people still have to find some problem in that.”

Discussing the current version of Pantera further, Benante also explained how emotional the lineup’s first rehearsal was for Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown. He offered:

“Those two hadn’t played together in a long time, playing Pantera songs. Yeah, they played [together] in Down, but this was an emotional thing for them. And I remember after the week of rehearsals that we did, saying goodbye was weird because it was an emotional thing; we really kind of bonded, the three of us. Zakk wasn’t there at the time. But for me, I knew I had done something right.”

Early this year, an interview with Pantera’s old producer Sterling Winfield was published where he discussed this particular issue by offering:

“It is not Pantera 2.0, at least not at this point. Whatever you wanna think, that’s fine; go ahead and make your assumptions. But it was the media that called this a reunion; it was the media that called this the reformation of Pantera — not them.”

“They never put this out there as that; they put this strictly out there as a tribute to the brothers [Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell] and for the fans and for the music and for the legacy of this music, to bring it to another generation of people.”

PANTERA - Cowboys from Hell , Domination / Hollow - Toluca, Mexico - 12.02.2022 - 1st reunion show

“There’s little kids out there wearing Pantera shirts, and it’s amazing to watch, because, yes, since Dime got killed, there’s a whole generation of people that have been born on this earth.”

Regarding Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante, he said:

“I cannot think of anyone better to handle the duties of Dime and Vinnie than Zakk and Charlie. I’ve known both of those dudes for a very long time.”

“And Charlie is just a model human being himself and a monster drummer and loved the brothers like you wouldn’t believe. And same goes for Zakk.”

🔥PANTERA🔥Full First Show (Multicam) - Hell & Heaven Fest 2022 👹 - 02.DEC.2022

“They’re not trying to be Dime and Vinnie, guys; they’re not trying to be that. That would be disrespectful. But they are being themselves and they are having fun. And I think you should come out and do it too.”

“Even just watch some of the videos. You’ve seen ’em on YouTube. These crowds are insane, and I think you’re gonna be missing out if you don’t come check it out.”

“There was no doubt in my mind that he would be the one to take over for Vinnie. [It was a] no-brainer — absolute no-brainer. Now, there were some other guitar folks that were brought up. I’ll just say this — that it would not have been a good fit, and quite honestly, they would not have been able to pull it off. But it always kept circling back around to Zakk. And after a couple of times, it was, like, again another no-brainer.”

Pantera - A New Level @ Knotfest Chile 2022 4K HDR 60FPS

“Because he knew Dime better than most any other guitar player on the planet knew him. Is it gonna be Dimebag Darrell’s exact notes and riffs and everything? No. It’s Zakk Wylde, you idiots. It’s Zakk.”

Photos: MorganaPhotolive (Black Label Society (26643606944)), Ingo Hoffmann (Charlie Benante), Llann Wé² (W0829-Hellfest2013 Down PhilAnselmo 69245), Rexzone111 (Rex Brown)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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