During a question-and-answer session on June 26 at the Diamond Pub Concert Hall in Louisville, KY, Philip Anselmo (Pantera, Down, Superjoint Ritual) commented on the possibility of a hypothetical Pantera reunion. Talk about a possible reunion has intensified since Anselmo has regularly joined Zakk Wylde’s Black Label Society onstage to perform Pantera’s “I’m Broken” during Down’s stint on the “Revolver Golden Gods Tour”. Phil has been asked about having Zakk fill in for the late “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott on guitar. The buzz got stronger after Rex Brown (former Pantera bassist) joined the jam on May 23,2014, when the tour made a swing through Texas.
Phil says: “Zakk is such a badass fucking player, but I just think he’s a different player, man — different style. And also, you’ve gotta remember, tonality comes into it — he has a different tone than Dime, you know? So there would be, I guess, so many things to tweak about what (Zakk) does to not fill (Dimebag’s) shoes but actually play PANTERA parts. ‘Cause there ain’t no filling them fucking shoes.”
He went on to say: “Make no mistake: Zakk Wylde is a fucking awesome motherfucker, down to earth, cool as shit, and can rip his fucking ass off. But I even said something to him after a show. I said, it’s that grip. Nobody had Dimebag’s fucking grip on that fucking axe — nobody.”
However, former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott still opposes any talk of a hypothetical reunion, saying: “The bottom line is they call it a reunion, and that means to bring the original members back, and we can’t bring Dime back, and he was such a huge part of Pantera. I don’t wanna damage or tarnish the legacy of him or the band. We had 14 amazing years together and it’s time for everybody to move on. And I have definitely moved on in my life. I don’t live in the past. I like to live for today and what’s coming up tomorrow, and I love what we’re doing with Hellyeah. And that’s my focus and that’s my goal, man.”
Paul later weighed in even less enthusiastically, “If you had an ex-wife, and it was a pretty bitter split, you might not ever want to talk to her again. Who cares if everybody in the family and your friends want you to say hello again? It’s your choice whether you want to do it or not. And I think a lot of people are selfish. They say, ‘Oh, he oughta just kiss and make up with Phil and everything will be cool. And then they can go get Zakk Wylde and everything’s gonna be great.’ No, everything’s not gonna be great.”
Vinnie, Dimebag’s brother, and Phil have not spoken since Pantera’s split in 2003. Their relationship got even more caustic when Vinnie indirectly blamed Phil for Dime’s death, suggesting that some remarks made by the singer in print just weeks earlier might have pushed Dimebag’s killer to shoot him while on stage with Damageplan at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.
Dime’s longtime girlfriend, Rita Haney, asked Vinnie and Phil to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag back in 2011. Haney forgave the singer after they found themselves unexpectedly face-to-face at a concert in California.