Judas Priest Guitarist Names One Thing People Disagree With Him on Pantera Reunion, Shares Honest Opinion on Zakk Wylde Replacing Dime

Richie Faulkner, Judas Priest’s guitar player, recently discussed the currently ongoing Pantera tour and partial reunion where Anthrax’s Charlie Benante and Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Zakk Wylde replaced Vinnie Paul and Dimebag Darrell. In particular, during his visit to the Real Rock 100.3 The Fox radio, he reflected on the decision to hire Zakk to fill in for Dime. Faulkner explained (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“I think there’s only one guy that could have done that gig. He’s the right guy for it. He’s the only guy for it. The relationship he had with Dime over everything else.”

“I mean, there’s tons of guys that can play that stuff note for note for note, but I think the integrity that Zakk brings to that whole thing because of his relationship with Dime, I don’t think there’s anyone else on the planet that can do the gig like Zakk can do it.”

“I don’t think you need to play that stuff note for note. I think it’s all about what comes from the heart. People are sure to disagree with me there, but that’s just my opinion on it. Dime played from the heart. It was all about emotion and passion.”

Zakk Wylde Plays Dimebag Darrell's 'Walk' solo

“And I think as long as you put emotion and passion into that music, that’s what it’s about. Anyone can learn notes off a page, but if you don’t have the passion and the emotion, what have you got with that music?”

“So, Zakk’s the guy. It was always gonna be Zakk. It always should have been Zakk, and it’s gonna be fucking amazing. It’s gonna be great… Pantera were fantastic, and to hear those songs again, it’s gonna be off the charts, man.”

“The Internet is one reality, and then reality is another reality. And it’s gonna be off the hook.”

After the announcement that Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown will be resurrecting the Pantera name with two new musicians last summer, fans seemed to have been divided on the issue. Although rarely anyone is against the tour itself, the issue of whether it should be a real Pantera was up for debate.

Before the tour commenced last year, Zakk Wylde talked to Ultimate Guitar, revealing whether the current Pantera with him and Charlie Benante is the real Pantera. When asked whether he discussed such a tour with Vinnie Paul while Pantera drummer was still alive, Zakk replied:

“It’s like, ‘Zack, would you ever do it?’ It’s like, ‘Well, of course I’m going to do it. Why would I not?’ I’m going to do the best job I can, obviously, but that’s not my decision, that’s the guys.”

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

“Back in the day with Vinnie, there were discussions, and then, after Vinnie passed away, I didn’t think anything would ever happen. I remember Phill called me one night and was like, ‘Zakk, me and Rex would really love it if you would honor Dime.'”

“And I was like, ‘Of course, guys, I would always be here to honor Dime and all your achievements.’ The way I looked at it – It’s just a bunch of friends getting together, honoring their buddies, you know what I mean?”

Of course, the issue of whether this is the “real” Pantera or not also came up with Zakk saying:

“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.”

In another interview last year, Charlie Benante was also weighed in on the whole “tribute vs. the real thing” question. First reflecting on the first live show they did with this lineup, the drummer said how Dime and Vinnie are still there in spirit. He offered:

“Before ‘Planet Caravan’ [Black Sabbath cover] starts, we have this video that runs with a little piece of the song ‘Cemetery Gates’, and it’s basically a tribute to Dime and Vinnie,” he explained. “I mean, Dime and Vinnie are all over the place. They are on my drum kit. Zakk has patches with them. But even in spirit, they’re there.”

“Before we went on, Sterling Winfield, who was very close to Dime and Vinnie — he basically engineered the last three records that Pantera did — he brought me a pair of Vinnie’s old gloves, and he brought me one of Darrell’s old wristbands that he wore.”

“And I put the wristband on and I played the show with that wristband. And I put the gloves in my pocket. So I had both of them with me that night.”

During the same interview, he also reacted to some negative online comments, saying:

“This was never a reunion. How can it be a reunion without Vinnie and Dime here? Sometimes people will send me something, and I see things online, and it’s so disrespectful to both Darrell and Vinnie, and it’s totally disrespectful to us too. And it’s just, like, ‘Man, if you don’t wanna come, you don’t have to come.'”

Photos: Rik Goldman (Dimebag Darrell with Pantera), S. Bollmann (Judas Priest With Full Force 2018 31), MorganaPhotolive (Black Label Society (26643606944))


  • 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.