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CHARLIE BENANTE And ZAKK WYLDE Defend Upcoming PANTERA ‘Reunion’ Tour

Guitarist Zakk Wylde and drummer Charlie Benante have discussed their participation in the upcoming Pantera "reunion" tour.

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Guitarist Zakk Wylde and drummer Charlie Benante have discussed their participation in the upcoming PANTERA “reunion” tour.

Upon it’s initial announcement a couple weeks ago, it was revealed that Wylde and Benante would team up with surviving PANTERA members, singer Philip Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown, for a tour under the PANTERA name, which would include headlining a number of major festivals across North America and Europe along with some individual headline shows.

Yesterday (Thursday, July 28), Zakk and Charlie discussed their involvement in the PANTERA celebration tour while speaking to SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk“. Zakk said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “It’s gonna be awesome. The fellows have always… When Vinnie was still with us, it was always rolling around that, ‘Zakk, would you honor Dime and all of us get together and do this thing?’ And I said, ‘Fellows, whenever you wanna do this thing, I’ll be over here waiting in the dugout and in the bullpen. And just call me when you need me and I’ll learn everything and we’ll go do this.’

“Throughout the years, there’s always been rumblings about it, so it wasn’t until, obviously, now… I was speaking on the phone with Phil — we might have been all on a group call — but Phil was just, like, ‘Zakk, would you honor Dime and would you play?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, Phil. Of course. I’ve always said I would. Of course.’ I said, ‘If you guys wanna go do it, then let’s do it.'”

Speaking about playing the late ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott‘s guitar parts, Zakk said: “You approach it the same way as you do when I’m playing with Ozzy. 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.”

Benante added: “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.”

Asked when he first got approached about taking part in the PANTERA tour, Charlie said: “Oh, man. December [of last year]. End of December. I was talking to Philip, and then he just mentioned this. And I said, ‘Oh, yeah, sure. Whatever.’ And then it became real about January [or] February… To this day, if it happens, if there’s one show that’s played, great.”

When asked if he knows when the first show from the PANTERA tribute project is going to happen, Benante said, “No.”

Charlie and Zakk went on to say that they see the PANTERA tour as simply a celebration of the music created by the iconic groove-metal band. “Absolutely,” Benante said. “And I think everybody in [ANTHRAX] feels the same way about those guys. We go back a long way [with PANTERA] — ’86, maybe even ’85. We played a show at a place called Cardi’s in Houston, and PANTERA were the opening band. It was in [April] ’86. HELSTAR was on the bill. It was the first time we met them. My friendship with Darrell goes a long way, and I love both of those guys so much. So, for me, it was a very emotional thing to do this. That’s what it’s all about — it’s all about those two guys and doing it… I don’t wanna see anybody else doing it but me, ’cause I’m gonna do it right.”

Zakk added: “Whenever [the idea of doing a tribute has] come up, you’re celebrating the guys and you’re celebrating all their achievements and their greatness. And that’s what it is. ‘Cause everybody was just, like, ‘How can they call it a PANTERA reunion?’ And I go, ‘Well, it’s Phil and Rex getting back together,’ ’cause they haven’t played together for a while. I go, ‘It’s a PANTERA celebration.’ That’s what it is. It’s no different than Mitch [Mitchell] and Noel [Redding] from ‘Experience Hendrix’ asking Eric Clapton to come out and sing and play Jimi’s [Hendrix] stuff and honor him, and they’re gonna go out and honor Jimi Hendrix. To me, it’s the same thing. With Ozzy, we honor Saint Rhoads every night. Every time we’re playing ‘I Don’t Know‘, ‘Mr. Crowley‘ — everything — you’re honoring Randy. To me, it’s an extension of that. You’re honoring Dime, you’re honoring Vinnie and you’re honoring Phil and Rex, all the guys, their achievements, what they achieved as PANTERA and all the mountains they conquered. That’s the way I look at it. That’s the way I’ve always looked at it.”