PANTERA's concert in Vienna cancelled too
PANTERA‘s concert in Austria this spring has been cancelled following the cancellation of the band on the German festivals ROCK AM RING and ROCK IM PARK earlier this week. Fans assume the cancellation holds a connection to singer Philip Anselmo‘s previous on-stage racist remarks in 2016.
The reformed band — featuring PANTERA‘s surviving members Anselmo and Rex Brown (bass) along with guitarist Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY) and drummer Charlie Benante (ANTHRAX) — was scheduled to appear at Gasometer in Vienna on May 31 as part of its spring/summer 2023 European tour. However, earlier today (Wednesday, January 25),promoters Barracuda Music and Mind Over Matter Music released a statement on social media saying that the show was scrapped. “All tickets can be returned where they were purchased,” the promoters wrote. “Thank you for your understanding.”
Barracuda Music and Mind Over Matter Music did not offer an explanation for the cancelation, but the majority of the fans commenting on the promoters’ Facebook page assumed that the move was made for the same reason PANTERA‘s appearances at Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park festivals in Germany were called off earlier this week.
Most of the backlash that led to the German concert cancelations stemmed from the fact that Anselmo made a Nazi-style salute when he performed at the January 2016 “Dimebash” event at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood in honor of late PANTERA guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. He also appeared to say “white power” as he made the gesture, but later claimed he was joking about drinking white wine backstage and was reacting to the audience members up front who he says were taunting him.
There was additional criticism with regard to the fact that Rock Am Ring takes place in Nürnberg (known in its English form as Nuremberg),where Hitler supporters held a series of mass Nazi party rallies between 1933 and 1938.
In calling for Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park organizers to cancel PANTERA‘s appearances at the festivals, the German Green Party said in the Nürnberg city council that Anselmo “repeatedly and deliberately made Nazi gestures and yelled racist slogans.” Réka Lörincz, the spokeswoman for the Greens against racism and right-wing extremism, added that “the former Nazi party premises” were “being deliberately misused for the staging and reproduction of racist and inhuman ideology.” The Green Party rep told Germany’s Stern magazine that Anselmo‘s apology for his white power outburst was “not credible enough” and that hosting the band on the former Nazi Party rally grounds “clearly exceeds the limit of what is bearable.”
“We are relieved about the organizer’s decision not to offer the band PANTERA a stage. Their singer Phil Anselmo had repeatedly attracted attention with anti-Semitic and racist incidents,” Lörincz wrote in a statement on the Green Party’s web site. “Therefore, a performance was unimaginable for us — especially on the former Nazi party rally grounds.”
In the days leading up to the Vienna concert cancelation, the Green party in Vienna demanded that this performance also be scrapped.
“Due to its National Socialist past, Vienna in particular has a special historical responsibility to oppose any form of right-wing extremism. The appearance of PANTERA is completely incompatible with this responsibility,” they said in a statement. “Therefore, it can only mean for Vienna: No stage for a Hitler salute, no stage for PANTERA!” At the request of the APA, Barracuda Music explained in a statement on Tuesday (January 24): “We are currently examining the possibility of canceling the show.”
Back in May 2019, Anselmo was asked by U.K.’s Kerrang! magazine if he feels the “Dimebash” debate is something he has moved past. He responded: “I feel like it’s ridiculous. I made an off-color joke and ‘Boom!’ — it’s like I’m literally Hitler! I’m not. I take each individual one at a time, in the way that any logical individual will. I have love in my heart. Over the years, I’ve learned to take the first step with love and to put good faith first. I get along with everybody. If there’s any doubt about my political leanings, people should get it out of their heads. I was raised amongst a dazzling (cast of characters) from the theatre, from the mental hospital, from all walks of life — all colors, creeds and kinds. It’s absurd to me that anyone in this day and age would judge anyone by the color of their skin, their heritage or their religion. I’m a harmless guy. I’m a reactionary, not a troublemaker.”
In the days following the “Dimebash” incident, MACHINE HEAD‘s Robb Flynn — who played PANTERA songs with Anselmo at the event — released an eleven-minute response video in which he denounced Anselmo as a “big bully” and a racist. He concluded by saying that he would never play another PANTERA song again. ANTHRAX‘s Scott Ian, who is Jewish, released a statement on his official web site saying, “Philip‘s actions were vile” and invited Anselmo to make a donation to the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Former PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, who hadn’t spoken to Anselmo since the band’s split in 2003, was dismissive when asked for a comment on the singer’s white-power salute. “I can’t speak for him,” Vinnie said in a 2016 interview. “He’s done a lot of things that tarnish the image of what PANTERA was back then and what it stood for and what it was all about. And it’s sad.”
In 2017, Anselmo blasted “false journalism in the metal community” for suggesting he was racist because of his actions at “Dimebash”.
In the weeks after the “Dimebash” incident, Anselmo‘s DOWN project canceled a number of shows, including at France’s Hellfest, Dutch festival FortaRock and U.K.’s Download. The singer wrote an open letter to the Hellfest organizers in which he said it was not the right time for DOWN to tour. He also revealed that he was suffering from a recurring knee injury and needed rehabilitation.
PANTERA has a string of dates throught Europe, America and South Aerica scheduled so far. Reportedly, there are negotiations going on about making new music.
It was first reported in July that Anselmo and Brown will unite with Wylde and Benante (ANTHRAX) for a world tour under the PANTERA banner.
Anselmo and Brown, along with Wylde and Benante, will headline a number of major festivals across North America, South America and Europe and stage some of their own headline concerts.
According to Billboard, the lineup has been given a green light by the estates of the band’s founders, drummer Vincent “Vinnie Paul” Abbott and guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, as well as Brown, who last year said Wylde wouldn’t tour with PANTERA if a reunion were to happen. It’s unclear what changed his mind.
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.
Remaining confirmed dates so far:
May 26 – Sofia, Bulgaria – Armeets Arena
May 27 – Bucharest, Romania – Metalhead Meeting Open Air Festival
May 30 – Budapest, Hungary – Barba Negra
May 31 – Vienna, Austria – Gasometer Jun. 2-4 – Nürburgring, Germany – Rock Am Ring Jun. 2-4 – Nürnberg, Germany – Rock Im Park
Jun. 05 – Lodz, Poland – Atlas Arena
Jun. 8-10 – Hyvinkää, Finland – Rockfest
Jun. 10 – Sölvesborg, Sweden – Sweden Rock Festival
Jun. 12 – Prague, Czech Republic – O2 Arena
Jun. 13 – Berlin, Germany – Verti Music Hall
Jun. 15 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Copenhell
Jun. 15-18 – Dessel, Belgium – Graspop Metal Meeting
Jun. 21 – Hamburg, Germany – Edel Optics
Jun. 22-24 – Oslo, Norway – Tons Of Rock
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.”
A year ago, Anselmo said that he was up for reuniting with Brown for a special tour celebrating the music of PANTERA. The 54-year-old singer, who has spent the past few years playing a PANTERA-centric set with his solo band, THE ILLEGALS, discussed the possibility of re-teaming with his former PANTERA bandmate during an interview with Brazil’s Inside With Paulo Baron. Asked if he and Rex would be open to playing some shows in celebration of PANTERA‘s legacy, Anselmo said: “If Rex and I had a show to play, or we were ever gonna be on stage again together, I would welcome it with open arms. I love Rex. And he’d be the same way. We’re brothers forever. So playing on stage together, or doing some shows together, is not out of the question. It could happen.”
In April 2021, Rex told Eonmusic that he and Philip still get offers for a PANTERA tribute tour. “But if you don’t have the other guys in the band, it’s not going to sound the same,” he said. “If we were ever to do something like that, it would have to be spot-on, or I wouldn’t do it. It would be a tribute.”
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.