Zakk Wylde Speaks for First Time About Pantera’s 2023 Tour + New Lineup
Last week, Billboard broke the news that a Pantera tour would take place in 2023, later revealing that Ozzy Osbourne guitarist and Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante would round out the lineup. Now, Wylde has spoken about the new lineup, marking the first official comment from any of the four members about the plans.
When Wylde sat down with Danny Wimmer Presents hosts Jose Mangin and Matt Pinfield at the Inkcarceration festival in Ohio for an interview, one of the early topics of discussion was naturally Pantera. Manging explained the deep connection both Wylde and Benante have with Pantera, referring to the two musicians as "family," which is important when considering the group's legacy.
“When Vinnie [Paul] was still alive, when the fellows were all talking about doing it," Wylde begins (transcription via The PRP), "I just always told them, I said, ‘Of course I would… If you asked me, why would I not do it? I’m going to honor Dime.’ It could be like Noel Redding and Mitch Mitchell asking Eric Clapton if he would go out and honor Jimi [Hendrix] and Eric playing Jimi‘s stuff and singing Jimi‘s songs and they’re going out as the ‘Jimi Hendrix celebration.’ And he’s going honor his buddy and he’s going play his songs. I think it’s a beautiful thing."
"When we do the ‘Dimebash‘... it’s a celebration of Dime‘s greatness. It’s a Pantera celebration — that’s what it is," says Wylde."
"Just like playing Saint [Randy] Roads' stuff or Jake [E. Lee's] stuff or any of the guys, When I'm involved with the Experience Hendrix [tour] you learn the songs...," Wylde went on when Mangin asked what Pantera songs he had started learning. "It's a beautiful thing. You’re celebrating Vinnie and Dime‘s greatness and you’re celebrating all the mountains that Pantera conquered and crushed," he continues.
“Obviously, it’s not Pantera," Wylde clarifies, "Pantera is those four guys — it’s Phil [Anselmo], Rex [Brown], Dime and Vinnie. But it’s just like when [Led] Zeppelin went out with Jason Bonham playing, it was phenomenal. It told Jason, I was just, like, ‘Dude, you crushed it, man. Your dad is probably bawling.’ It’s a great thing just to hear them play that music again."
"I’m beyond honored to be a part of it," concludes Wylde.
Watch the full interview below.
Not much is known about Pantera's future plans other than a return to the stage is expected in 2023. As of press time, no statements have been communicated directly from the band's official channels.