Zakk Wylde Recalls What Dimebag Darrell Was Really Like, Says They (Unfortunately) Never Jammed Together

While recently appearing in a new interview with Guitar World, Zakk Wylde looked back on his friendship with Pantera’s axeman Dimebag Darrell. Currently taking his spot in the new incarnation of Pantera, also featuring Anthrax’s Charlie Benante on drums, Zakk was asked about Dime and the time they spent together prior to the Pantera guitarist’s tragic passing in 2004. Asked about how the friendship started, Zakk replied:

“It was a combination of everything. Between the playing, the drinking, how we matched our stilettos and our fishnets with our eyeliner and our rouge – all the typical stuff that brings fellas together. [Laughs]”

Zakk’s humorous responses aside, the two shared a very close bond. He even dedicated a Black Label Society song “In This River” to Dime. Although the piece was written before the sad events in 2004, Zakk later agreed that the piece was perfect for Dime.

Black Label Society - In This River [Official Video] HQ

Going more into the matter, Zakk was asked whether the two ever jammed together. And, interestingly enough, he revealed that they haven’t. However, there’s a pretty good reason for that, as he explained:

“No. Why would we do that? Let’s see. We could be at an Irish pub somewhere laughing our asses off or we could be working on writing some new music. Hmmmm. I think we’ll be at the Irish pub! [Laughs]”

He also added:

“Seriously, man. There was no time to jam. They live in Texas. I was out in California. Whenever we got together it was just to have a good time.”

Welcome to Rockville 2023

Detailing their friendship, Zakk also explained that the two kept in touch, even when the wonders of the modern internet era weren’t around. For this, they had the assistance of the good old landlines:

When we started hanging out, of course, we drank, but most of the time drinking with Dime would be over the phone. We talked on the phone all the time for several hours just drinking away.

“We’d make each other cry, we’d be laughing so hard. But every time we got together it was always hilarious – nothing but pure comedy. And sometimes we caused mayhem.”

Zakk Wylde plays Dimebag's Guitar Live

Ever since the Pantera “reunion” has been announced, plenty of fans online have discussed whether the whole thing should be labeled as such. In an interview for Ultimate Guitar conducted last year, Zakk was asked about whether he ever discussed any potential Pantera events when the band’s drummer and Dime’s brother Vinnie Paul was still alive, and to share a few details on how the current iteration of Pantera came to be. He replied:

“The fellas… There was always word about that going around. And I just always said, ‘That’s up to the guys.’ It’s almost kind of like, the way I always viewed it, if Mitch Mitchell and Noel Redding called up Eric Clapton because Eric and Jimi, they’re all friends.

“And they’re just like, ‘Eric, we’re gonna get together, and we’re gonna go honor Jimi. Would you sing and play Jimi’s stuff?’ Of course Eric would do it. I mean, that’s his buddy. Of course, I would do it.

PANTERA - Full HD Concert Welcome to Rockville, Daytona Beach, FL, USA MAY 20, 2023

“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 best job I can, obviously, but that’s not my decision, that’s the guys. 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?”

Discussing this further, Zakk finally revealed that the current version of the band is not actually THE Pantera but rather a “celebration” of the band:

“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.”

Pantera - First US show in 22 years!

Photos: Rik Goldman (Dimebag Darrell with Pantera), 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, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.