Zakk Wylde says PANTERA’s current tour is a celebration of ‘Dimebag’ Darrell and Vinnie Paul Abbott
According to Zakk, the ongoing PANTERA trek serves as the ultimate tribute to the band’s late co-founders, the esteemed guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and the talented drummer Vincent “Vinnie Paul” Abbott.
Joining forces with ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante, as well as PANTERA‘s remaining members, vocalist Philip Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, Wylde is currently on the road under the PANTERA name. The band is headlining prominent festivals across North America and Europe while also organizing their own headline concerts. In addition, they have exciting plans to support METALLICA on an extensive stadium tour spanning both 2023 and 2024, further solidifying their impactful presence in the music scene.
“To me, it’s just a beautiful thing,” Wylde told Guitar World magazine. “Whenever we do the Experience Hendrix thing, we pay tribute to the amazing music and playing of Jimi Hendrix. And when I’m playing ‘Mr. Crowley’ or ‘Crazy Train’ with Ozzy [Osbourne], we’re celebrating the greatness of Randy [Rhoads]. It’s not controversial or tragic. It’s about this awesome thing PANTERA created — and this community of people who still enjoy it.
“We’re up there celebrating Dime and Vinnie,” he added. “That’s what this is about, and it brings joy to so many people. For us, it’s really special because we’re commemorating our buddies — the guys in PANTERA who we loved — and everything they did for music.”
When asked if he already knew how to play all the songs before he started rehearsing with the rest of the current PANTERA lineup, he said: “It’s so funny that people think I’d already played all these songs. On the first ANTHRAX/BLACK LABEL run we did, [bassist] Frankie Bello was like, ‘Zakk, you know all the parts, right?’ I go, ‘No, I don’t know any of the parts. Why would I?’
“It’s like if Dime agreed to fill in for me doing a run with Ozzy and I asked him, ‘Hey, can you come up right now and play the solo to ‘No More Tears’, ‘Miracle Man’ or ‘Stillborn’?’ He’d be like, ‘Well, I’ve heard the songs, but that doesn’t mean I know how to play ’em. First I gotta learn ’em!’ You have to practice, and you have to work on it to get everything right.”
When asked if it was easy to learn Dime‘s parts, Zakk said: “Some of them. But I had to go to YouTube for a batch of stuff if I couldn’t figure it out. That was definitely a massive help. And then there were still about two or three things where Rex went, ‘Nah, you’re slightly off. Do this’ — whatever it was. And I’m like, ‘Oh, okay. I got it now.'”
This past March, PANTERA headlined the 2023 “comeback” edition of Japan’s Loud Park festival. The two-day “limited” event took place on March 25 at Intex Osaka in Osaka and March 26 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba City near Tokyo.
In December of last year, PANTERA played seven shows in Mexico and South America.
PANTERA was co-founded by Vinnie Paul and “Dimebag“. After the band disbanded in 2003, they formed DAMAGEPLAN.
Tragically, on December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, “Dimebag” was fatally shot onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who mistakenly believed that the members of PANTERA were intruding on his thoughts.
Vinnie Paul passed away on June 22, 2018, at his second home in Las Vegas at the age of 54. The cause of his death was dilated cardiomyopathy, characterized by an enlarged heart and severe coronary artery disease. The chronic weakening of his heart muscle prevented it from efficiently pumping blood, ultimately leading to his untimely demise.