While promoting his new online guitar course, Zakk Wylde recently sat down with Ultimate Guitar to discuss the whole Pantera reunion thing planned for 2023. Zakk is filling in for the late Dimebag Darrell, who was also his close friend. Asked about whether he started practicing for the tour and what are the biggest challenges of playing Dime’s parts, he replied:
“It’s just sitting down and working on it. When we do these Zakk Sabbath [his Black Sabbath tribute side-project] songs, I have to sit and learn all of Lord Iommi’s parts. Learning all Dime’s parts, even just the writing alone, the chord choices he chose — I would have never done that.”
The reunion got a lot of attention from media and fans, with many criticizing them for actually calling it Pantera rather than just a tribute lineup. While people are certainly not opposed to hearing Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown getting together with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante, original members Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul — the Abbott brothers — are obviously not part of it.
Asked how the whole thing came together and whether he ever discussed it with Vinnie Paul when he was 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 Jimmy’s stuff?’ Of course Eric would do it. I mean, that’s his buddy. Of course, I would do it.
“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.”
“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?”
Zakk also addressed the issue of whether this is the real Pantera or not by adding:
“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.”