Ex-Judas Priest Singer Says Current Pantera Lineup is ’Not Pantera,’ Here’s What He Really Thinks of It

In a recent appearance on Smokin’ Talk N’ Roll, former Judas Priest and Iced Earth frontman Tim “Ripper” Owens touched upon the issue of the currently active revival of Pantera. Reflecting on the current tour, with Zakk Wylde on guitar and Anthrax’s Charlie Benante on drums, he said (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“I think it’s great. As long as they don’t say it’s… It’s not Pantera; it’s a celebration of Pantera. I think it should be [written] on the top of it: ‘Celebration Of Pantera’. People are loving it. Obviously, people hate everything, right? Go to Blabbermouth or wherever.”

Owens is somewhat familiar with being a “replacement” or a “fill-in” in a big band and how rough it can get. As he recalls, joining Judas Priest was rough since he was taking a position once belonging to Rob Halford. This helped him grow a closer relationship with Ronnie James Dio who replaced Ozzy Osbourne in Black Sabbath back in the day. Owens added:

“I had to live with [that kind of criticism as well when I joined Judas Priest]. That’s why Ronnie [James Dio] and I hit it off and he took me under his wing right away. ‘Cause he was, like, ‘I had to go through it with Black Sabbath.’ He was, like, the people in the crowd flipping you off…People don’t give it a chance.”

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

“When they say — to me, they [say things like], ‘You’re not a good singer,’ or, ‘You’re a Rob Halford clone.’ First of all, when you hear my records, I sound like me. I’ve been doing this for 20, 30 years; I’ve been putting these records out. [It’s Priest album] ‘Jugulator”s 25th anniversary. It sounds like me.”

“Can someone finally just go, ‘Yeah…’ And they do say it, but then there’s also people that [are], like, ‘He’s trying to be like Rob.’ I’m, like, ‘Why would I try to be like Rob?’ And why would Zakk Wylde try to be like Dime. There’s people who just attack you.”

The Pantera camp announced a comeback tour in the summer of 2022. Not long after, it was announced that Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown would be joined by Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante. However, not long after Pantera’s tour started, Rex had to leave due to contracting COVID and was replaced by Derek Engemann who’s known for his work with Anselmo’s different bands, as well as his work in Cattle Decapitation.

Pantera - A New Level (Live @ Knotfest 2022) [By Metal Bootlegs]

The fan response was a bit mixed, although people seem to be keen on seeing this lineup on the stage. What caused some confusion with the initial public announcement is that nothing mentioned whether this was actually Pantera or not. Although billed under the name, Zakk Wylde said that it’s “not Pantera” by offering:

“It was so funny because somebody was like, ‘It’s not Pantera!’ Of course it’s not Pantera. [laughs] It’s Phill, Rex, and two of their buddies getting together to honor Dime, Vinnie, and all their achievements. It’s a celebration of Pantera and all the mountains they conquered. It’s the way I look at it.

Photos: MrPanyGoff (Tim -Ripper- Owens (cropped)), Tilly antoine (Phil Anselmo Hellfest 2022)


  • 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.