ZAKK WYLDE looks ahead on playing DIMEBAG's parts on PANTERA tour: 'no matter what I do, it's going to sound like me'
Zakk Wylde says that he is going to sound like himself when he performs “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott‘s parts on the upcoming PANTERA tour.
In July, it was reported that Wylde and ANTHRAX drummer Charlie Benante, along with PANTERA‘s surviving members, singer Philip Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, will tour as PANTERA, headlining a number of major festivals across North America and Europe and staging some of their own headline concerts.
According to a report by Billboard, Wylde and Benante‘s involvement in the project has been approved by the estates of PANTERA‘s late co-founders, Dimebag and drummer Vincent “Vinnie Paul” Abbott.
Zakk discussed his participation in the PANTERA celebration tour in a new interview with Guitar World. He said: “No matter what I do, it’s going to sound like me. I can practice all I want and stay as faithful as I want, but I am never going to escape that. It’s like if Randy Rhoads were to play Eddie Van Halen‘s ‘Eruption’. No matter what he did, it would sound like Randy playing, not Eddie. You’re never going to mistake Randy for Eddie or Eddie for Randy, and it’s the same thing here with me playing Dime‘s stuff.”
As for how he plans to approach playing the material, he said: “I am going to go in, learn the parts, be as faithful to what Dime did as possible, and just be me. I’m gonna have fun with it, knowing that I am not expecting myself to sound like Dime, and no one else should either, which is how it is when I play with Ozzy or whatever else.”
Zakk went on to confirm that he will be using gear from Dimebag‘s own collection, including “some of Dime‘s heads, pedals, or the cabs.” He added: “I’ll be using my guitars, effects, and pedals, a lot of the pedals that Dime actually gave me, and yeah, I’ll definitely be using some of Dime‘s pedals and stuff, too. I’m still working out how it’ll all come together, but I am looking forward to seeing how it all flows once I do. Dime‘s tech, Grady (Champion), is gonna be coming down too, which is great. I’ve got my tech, but it’ll be great to have Grady here to help pay tribute to Dime.”
Zakk previously discussed his involvement in the PANTERA tour during an appearance on The SDR Show. He said: “I had nothing to do with (putting the PANTERA thing together). I’m friends with the guys. It’d be like if Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell were gonna do a tribute to Jimi (Hendrix) and they (asked) Eric Clapton, ‘Eric, would you sing and play Jimi‘s stuff? We’re gonna put this tribute thing together.’ It’s just, like, of course Eric would (do it). ‘Just let me know when you wanna do it.’ It’s just like anything. Like when we do ‘Experience Hendrix’, we do anything like that, it’s just, like, ‘Would you guys like to go out and honor Jimi Hendrix?’ It’s just, like, ‘Yeah. And why wouldn’t we?'”
He continued: “Yeah, of course. I’m gonna be honored. Even if it was a festival they were putting together and they wanted BLACK LABEL to come up and have Phil sing and they were gonna have all the different bands up there — LAMB OF GOD, BLACK LABEL, ANTHRAX — and all the bands were gonna play a PANTERA song and Phil‘s gonna sing. Of course we’d be involved. Why wouldn’t we be involved?”
Benante told SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk” about how he plans to approach the PANTERA gig: “I can’t go do this as the drummer from ANTHRAX because it would be a different sound completely. So the way I’m gonna do that is if you close your eyes, it’s gonna sound like it’s Vinnie, basically. And that’s how it’s gonna be. The sound is gonna sound exactly like him.”
Wylde said that he had a similar mindset. “You approach it the same way as you do when I’m playing with Ozzy,” he said. “Obviously I’ve gotta learn (Randy) Rhoads‘s stuff and I’ve gotta learn Jake‘s (E. Lee) stuff, and when I was doing the (BLACK) SABBATH stuff, you learn it and do it as faithful as you can. Charlie‘s gotta learn all of Vinnie‘s parts. You approach it as if you’re in a cover band. When we do the ZAKK SABBATH stuff,” referring to his BLACK SABBATH cover band, “I don’t start changing lyrics midway through ‘War Pigs’. You learn the songs — so that’s what you do.”
PANTERA will play its first shows in over 20 years in December 2022, starting with a co-headlining slot at Mexico’s Hell & Heaven Metal Fest and Monterrey Metal Fest, followed by appearances at three Knotfest festivals in South America. There will also be a one-off show with JUDAS PRIEST in São Paulo, Brazil and a headlining concert in Santiago, Chile.
Confirmed PANTERA shows so far:
Dec. 02 – Texicoco, Mexico – Hell & Heaven Metal Fest
Dec. 06 – Monterrey, Mexico – Monterrey Metal Fest
Dec. 09 – Bogotá, Colombia – Knotfest Colombia
Dec. 11 – Santiago, Chile – Knotfest Chile
Dec. 12 – Santiago, Chile – Movistar Arena
Dec. 15 – São Paulo, Brazil – Vibra São Paulo (with JUDAS PRIEST)
Dec. 18 – São Paulo, Brazil – Knotfest Brazil
Talk about a possible PANTERA “reunion” intensified when Anselmo regularly joined Wylde‘s BLACK LABEL SOCIETY to perform PANTERA‘s song “I’m Broken” during DOWN‘s 2014 stint on the “Revolver Golden Gods Tour”. That buzz only got stronger after Brown joined the jam on May 23, 2014 when the tour swung through Texas.
Up until his passing, Vinnie remained on non-speaking terms with Anselmo, whom the drummer indirectly blamed for Dimebag‘s death.
Vinnie Paul and Dimebag co-founded PANTERA. When PANTERA broke up in 2003, they formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of PANTERA were stealing his thoughts.
PANTERA is managed by Scott McGhee of 1 Degree Music Entertainment. The band’s legal representative is Nick Ferrara And Associates. PANTERA is booked internationally by Rod MacSween at ITB. Artist Group International will book PANTERA‘s North American dates, with Dennis Arfa and Peter Pappalardo as the responsible agents.
Pantera is one of the most successful and influential bands in heavy metal history, combining elements of hardcore and thrash to create a menacing sound that many acts have tried to replicate. Created by late brothers Vincent “Vinnie Paul” Abbott on drums and “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott on guitar, Pantera broke through following the release of their fifth album, 1990’s Cowboys from Hell, with new singer Phil Anselmo and the 1992 follow-up Vulgar Display of Power, with the simplicity of tracks like “Walk” gaining the band mainstream popularity.