Now let’s get one thing straight from the rip — Phil Anselmo is not going anywhere as it relates to the Pantera reunion/tribute shows are concerned. He’s one half of the surviving members of the band and it would be absolutely crazy to have him get replaced (though not entirely unwarranted).
Still, during a recent interview with DJ Zoran Theodorovic of Metal Godz Radio (transcribed by Blabbermouth), ex-Judas Priest and ex-Iced Earth frontman Tim “Ripper” Owens said he would “absolutely” take the mic if the situation arose.
“Well, I would be up to the task as celebrating Pantera, like they’re doing right now, which I think is fantastic. All these guys — Zakk [Wylde, guitar] and Charlie [Benante, drums] — you couldn’t have picked two cooler guys to celebrate that. My thing is I would celebrate it.”
Ripper, who’s made a living singing other people’s music has created a solo career of his own, putting out his own music over the years. And while he understands that cover songs are what ultimately got him the Judas Priest gig, he noted that he’s done a cover of Pantera’s “Walk” with Hail!, so the possibility of covering the groove metal band’s discography wouldn’t be too far fetched for him.
“I nail styles like that. I love Pantera and I love that style, and I would for sure get up and celebrate the career of Pantera with those guys, absolutely. It’s never gonna happen, but I’m not replacing anybody; I would just be celebrating it.”
Pantera’s next live show is March 26 in Chiba, Japan for Loud Park 2023 and then it’s radio silence until their slate of tour dates starting in May. The band was already kicked off of Rock im Park and Rock am Ring — and had a date in Vienna canceled — due to backlash regarding Anselmo’s past racist comments and gestures. That being said, they’re still slated to tour North America with Metallica, so it’s apparent not everyone’s worried about the Louisianan’s past transgressions.
Still, it would be pretty fucking wild to hear Ripper on some of those Pantera songs. As long as you could get over the fact that Rex Brown would be the only surviving member of the band left on stage, at least Tim could hit those high notes from “Cemetery Gates.”