Zakk Wylde Speaks Truth on How Pantera Reunion Came to Be, Names Song That Was Difficult to Learn

In preparation for the next year’s Pantera reunion tour and promoting his new guitar school, Zakk Wylde recently sat down with Ola Englund for the YouTuber’s new “Sunday With Ola” episode. During the chat, the two discussed the Pantera tour and how the whole thing came to be. Zakk said (transcript via Blabbermouth):

“There’s always been talks about it, for years, especially when Vinnie was still alive. And it was just, like, well, I’ll just wait till that day comes. ‘If you guys decide you wanna do it, you know I’m always gonna be here for ya.'”

“Phil called me up one night, and he was just, like, ‘Zakk, I was talking with Rex. We’re thinking about doing this. We were wondering if you would wanna honor Dime.’ And I was, like, ‘Of course, man.’ How could I say no? So now, it was just, like, ‘All right. Well, send me the songs for the setlist so I can start learning this stuff, man.'”

Zakk Wylde Plays Dimebag Darrell's 'Walk' solo

Recently, Zakk also mentioned that he hasn’t yet started learning all of the songs and Dimebag Darrell’s guitar parts. However, according to what he said in the interview with Ola Englund, he’s now in the process. Zakk explains:

“Yeah, of course. I’ve been working on it for a while now. I had to get a whammy pedal. I never owned one of those things. Grady [Champion, who was Dimebag’s guitar tech throughout his career with Pantera] will probably be running that thing, the guy who ran it for Dimebag. So, yeah, I’m a proud owner of a whammy pedal now. [Laughs]”

“And I’ve got my Dime guitars, the ones that actually he gave me… I’ve got my rig. Obviously, what Dime used that I don’t use, obviously, is noise gate. Obviously, if you’re gonna be doing [hums ‘Cowboys From Hell’ main riff]…”

“My stuff, it’s just pure lightning all the time. If I’m gonna stop, you stop. Dime would have, like, two distortion pedals on at the same time. I remember in his rig, he goes, ‘Zakk, what pedals do you use?'”

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

“My overdrive pedals — he had one of those things in his board. I go, ‘Dime, it’s probably not even panning anything ’cause you’ve got so much overdrive on there.’ But for him, there wasn’t enough gate. He loved it. And there’s an art to controlling it.”

When asked whether there was a particular solo that he’s worried about, Zakk said:

“To me, it’s just like learning Randy’s [Rhoads] stuff [to play with Ozzy Osbourne], whether we’re doing ‘Mr. Crowley’ or ‘I Don’t Know’ or anything. To me, it’s fun. But whether we’re playing ‘Goddamn Electric’, that solo’s beyond… I mean, all the solos are blazing; they’re all awesome.”

“It’s gonna be fun when you’re playing ‘Walk’, and stuff like that, or ‘Cowboys From Hell’ or anything like that. Some of the other ones that we’ve got on there like… I mean, ‘A New Level’ and stuff like that — those are all cool.”

“I think I may have gone on your web site, just to see ‘Becoming’, watching you play. Any of these things that I got stumped on, I was, like, ‘What the hell was that?’ I would just go, ‘How to play…’ and I’d go on to YouTube and just see all these other amazing players playing the stuff…”

Pantera - Becoming (SBD AUDIO) @ Live at Dynamo Open Air - Netherlands (1998)

“For me, that’s the whole thing, too — playing it with the record is one thing, but then you take the record away and it’s, like, ‘All right. Play it for me.’ It’s a guideline. It’s like cover by numbers; you know where you’re going.”

“Or taking the GPS off your car. It’s, like, ‘All right, do you remember how to get back down to Hollywood?’ You’re, like, ‘Zakk, I have no idea. I was following the GPS the whole time.'”

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.

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