Despite recent controversies and cancellations, Pantera is gearing up to kick off their reunion tour in Denmark on June 15. In the midst of this tour, and before of their upcoming Metallica performances, Zakk Wylde spoke with Guitar World about his prior connection with the band, as well as the feud between Phil Anselmo and Vinnie Paul. There were rumors in 2014 that the guitarist intended to join Anselmo and Rex Brown for a possible Pantera reunion with Vinnie Paul. The band’s new member recently acknowledged that the rumors sprang from a recommendation he gave to the band members at the time.
During the interview, he stated: “I told Vinnie and the guys, ‘Of course, if you guys ever wanted to do it, I would be there to support you and Dime.” Simply tell me what I need to know, and I will learn it.’ There were so many talks going on.” When asked if the conflict between the band’s frontman and drummer had been settled, Wylde stated: “I’m not sure where Vinnie was with Phil at the time.” As previously said, I am not involved in such matters. I’m not claiming that this [collection of musicians] is Pantera. I just want to pay tribute to Dime and the band.
It’s like asking Eric Clapton, ‘If Mitch [Mitchell] and Noel [Redding] asked, ‘Would you honor Jimi and go out and play and sing with us?’ Clapton, of course, will say yes. It isn’t even a question of saying yes. You must do this. So you do it if they ask you to.” It was widely assumed at the time that Paul had made his mind on Pantera. Following Dimebag Darrell’s death, he had limited communication with his former bandmates, as confirmed by Rex Brown in a 2017 interview with SiriusXM’s ‘Trunk Nation.’
Brown’s assessment of the scenario was as follows: “Philip and I have always been close. We’ve contacted out a number of times through e-mails and such since we still have business to conduct. You never, ever say never. This life we have is far too brief and precious. Philip and I don’t have any bad blood. It’s simply that Vinnie won’t talk to any of us.” The bassist revealed Vinnie’s reason to discontinue contact in a separate 2022 interview with Gibson TV. Referring to Anselmo’s remarks on Dimebag Darrell just before his death, he said: “[Vinnie] would have nothing to do with Phil at all.” That, he reasoned, was the reason his brother died. That is something I disagree with. I believe this was a crazy who had previously been planned and premeditating whatever move he was going to make.” Vinnie Paul’s most recent performance was in Las Vegas in 2018. He died about a week later, at the age of 54, from heart illness.