JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner comments on Zakk Wylde strapping on the guitar for the PANTERA tour

Speaking with the Meltdown show on Detroit radio station WRIF, Richie, who brought on PANTERA bassist Rex Brown to play on the debut album from his other band ELEGANT WEAPONS, was asked if he was ever considered for the guitarist position in the newly launched PANTERA comeback tour. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “No. To me, there was only one guy that could do that, and that’s Zakk [Wylde].

“To me, there’s a thousand guys on YouTube that can play that stuff note for note, but there’s only one guy that had that relationship with the band and with Dime [late PANTERA guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott]. And that’s Zakk. That’s who they’ve got doing it. So there’s only one guy, to me, that can do that gig.”

When Richie was asked if he ever had a chance to meet the guys from PANTERA, including Dimebag, he said: “I met Vinnie [late drummer Vincent ‘Vinnie Paul’ Abbott]. Vinnie came down to a couple of shows that we played with PRIEST in Texas. I’ve never met Dime. I met Philip [Anselmo, PANTERA singer] a few times. I was never lucky enough to meet Dime, no.”

Faulkner also revealed that he never saw the classic lineup of PANTERA perform live. “I didn’t, unfortunately,” he said. “Back when I was a teenager, I listened to [IRON] MAIDEN, METALLICA and PANTERA religiously for about a year. And a year is a long time when you’re 12 or 13 years old. That was all I listened to, but never got the chance to see the band. And I think that goes for a lot of people in that age group.”

Richie added that the current incarnation of PANTERA gives younger fans a chance to experience the band’s songs live performed by the surviving members of the iconic group.

“We were just down in South America [with JUDAS PRIEST], and there was, like, 80 thousand people rocking out to PANTERA,” he said. “And, obviously, we know the situation that they’re in — Dime’s not around, Vinnie’s not around — but they didn’t care. They just wanted to see and hear those songs, and they were going absolutely ballistic, man. It was an amazing thing to see.”

You can check out the interview below.

Richie previously discussed the PANTERA comeback in an interview with radio station 100.3 The Fox in Rapid City, South Dakota. Speaking about Zakk Wylde playing Dimebag‘s role in the band: “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,” Richie continued. “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. 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,” Faulkner added. “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.”

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