Zakk Wylde Recalls How Dimebag Darrell Felt About Pantera Disbanding, Reveals What He Told Him

Playing guitar in the current incarnation of Pantera, Zakk Wylde recently recalled talking to the band’s original guitar player Dimebag Darrell when the band broke up in the 2000s. This was before Dime’s tragic passing in December of 2004 and after the official disbandment of Pantera in late 2003. Looking back on that time and his conversation with Dime for the recent edition of Metal Hammer, Zakk said:

“That was the only time I ever talked to [Dimebag] when he wasn’t a force of positivity. Clearly, he was still upset about Pantera.”

“They had worked so hard to get to where they did and then it all ended, and he basically had to start over again. He was like, ‘Zakk, what am I gonna do?’”

So to comfort him Zakk had a trick up his sleeve. He recalled showing Dime a picture of Randy Rhoads to boost his morale:

“I said to Dime, ‘Whenever you’re feeling down, just look at this picture for inspiration.’”

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

After the disbandment of Pantera, Dimebag Darrell and his brother and the band’s drummer Vinnie Paul went on to form Damageplan. It would be on the band’s show in Columbus, Ohio on December 8, 2004, that Dimebag would get shot while the band performed the first song of their set.

Sometime after Dime’s passing, Vinnie Paul continued his musical career with the band Hellyeah. Vinnie passed away in 2017 but the band went on for a few more years until going on an indefinite hiatus in 2021.

In 2022, it was announced that Pantera would reunite with classic members Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown being joined by two more musicians. Not long after the announcement, it was revealed that Zakk Wylde will be handling the guitar duties while Anthrax’s Charlie Benante would be behind the drumkit, as expected.

Phil Anselmo, Down, Zakk Wylde - Pantera: I'm Broken Live in Chicago at House of Blues 2014

During an interview with Ultimate Guitar From late 2022, Zakk Wylde clarified whether it’s really considered to be a “reunion” of Pantera or not. When asked about how long has this been in the works and whether he discussed it with Vinnie Paul when he was still alive, Zakk 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 - Cowboys From Hell! Crazy crowd @ Knotfest Chile 2022!!!

“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?”

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

To conclude, Zakk actually mentioned how it’s not actually Pantera but rather a celebration of the band and the Abbott brothers. He said:

“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 a recent interview, Zakk also discussed some details behind his gear and tone for the current Pantera tour. Asked if he’ll bring some of the guitars that he got from Dimebag, Zakk replied:

“I definitely want to bring them out, but I didn’t want to travel with them on a lot of flights like we were doing in South America. I was like, ‘Man, if these things disappear, I’ll be pretty bummed out.’ The guitars Dime gave me are literally ‘one of one.’“

Zakk Wylde plays Dimebag's Guitar Live

“There are no replicas, and even if there were, the whole special part of it would be me bringing the real thing out on stage.”

Going into his rig, Zakk said:

“I’m using the rig I use with Black Label, Ozzy, Zakk Sabbath, Experience Hendrix and Generation Axe – my Wylde Audio tops, my Marshall cabinets and my usual pedalboard. Because Dime used solid-state amps in Pantera and I use tube stuff, I wasn’t sure if it would sound right.”

“So when I was getting ready to rehearse with the fellas, I was thinking of finding out what Randall heads Dime used and then buying a whole bunch of them on Reverb or eBay. But when we got down to rehearsals, I used my rig and it worked out just fine. Obviously, I had to get a [DigiTech] Whammy pedal for ‘Becoming,’ so I’m now the proud owner of one of those.”

ZAKK WYLDE DOING DIMEBAG STYLE

“And I had to get noise gates too because I don’t use them. I just Googled ‘best noise gates’ and the Dunlop one [Dunlop MXR Smart Gate Noise Gate M135] came up so I bought a couple.”

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 Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.

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