Ex-Pantera Producer Says Current Band Is ’Not a Reunion,’ Says Guitarists Other Than Zakk Wylde Were Considered

In a new interview with Reckless Rock Radio, former longtime producer for Pantera, Sterling Winfield, discussed the current revival of the band. To those who are not familiar, Sterling is very close to Pantera and, although not confirmed, is believed to have some control over Vinnie Paul’s estate today.

Recalling Pantera’s rehearsal that took place on November 21, 2022, in New Orleans, which he also attended, Sterling said (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“When I was in New Orleans, I knew it was gonna be huge because I got to see how serious they are taking this, how to heart they are taking this. Phil and Rex are different people now; they are not the same people from 20-something years ago.”

“You mature, you grow up, you own your mistakes, you move forward in your life and you hope to make a better way for yourself. And that’s exactly what I see here.”


Going further into it, the producer also pointed out that “this is not a reunion” even with the Pantera moniker being used. Sterling clarified the whole thing by saying:

“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.”

“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 the choice of musicians to accompany Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown on this tour, Sterling also said that Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante are the best guys for the job of replacing Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul. 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.”

Zakk Wylde Plays Dimebag Darrell's 'Walk' solo

“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.”

What’s also interesting is that, according to Winfield, there have been other guitarists and drummers considered before Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante got their positions. He explained:

“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.”

“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.”

Another thing that came up is the issue of new music. When asked whether there’s a possibility for that to happen, he said:

“It’s not unheard of, it’s not blasphemous. I will say that it is entirely plausible, it is entirely possible, but at this point in time, I don’t know that anybody’s looking that far down the road.

“They’ve got a world tour to tackle, man, for the next two years, and they are gonna be busy doing that. Now, could it happen? Yes.”

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.