For my money, Pantera had established themselves as the world’s top metal band by the mid-90s. And just like that, they were gone.

Sure, Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown have resurrected the band with two of the most capable replacements in Dime’s best bud, Zakk Wylde on guitar, and Anthrax’s Charlie Benante on drums. It’s great that a generation who never got to experience seeing Pantera live is getting the next best thing.

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Interestingly, the founders of the band chose not to do that when Phil and Rex stopped answering the phone in the early 2000s.

Instead, Dime and Vinnie decided to move forward with Damageplan. Even though it wasn’t Pantera, this Pantera fan was happy to hear the Abbott brothers cranking out new tunes again.

But admittedly, it just wasn’t the same. The chemistry between Dime, Vinnie, Rex, and Phil was undeniable. The band had found their groove (no pun intended) with Cowboys from Hell, and Pantera went on to enjoy a decade of dominance.

So, I wouldn’t have blamed them had they chosen to move forward with a new vocalist and bass player. I’m sure I would’ve had mixed feelings about the move due to my love for Anselmo-era Pantera, but they formed that band and had every right to continue to fly the Pantera flag.

But as Vinnie explained in an appearance on the Eric Blair Show in the early 2000s, they chose to not “tarnish” the legacy they had.

Living in North Texas, I would hear all sorts of rumors surrounding Pantera after Phil left the band. One rumor that seemed to be the most credible was that they were looking at replacing him with their good friend Dave “Stage” Williams of Drowning Pool before his untimely death in 2002.

Unfortunately, now that Dime and Vinnie are both gone, we’ll never know if that was the case.

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