Near the tail end of last year, something happened that hadn’t been done in more than 20 years — a version of Pantera took the stage. Despite the fact that vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown were the only original members up there with guitarist Zakk Wylde filling in for Dimebag Darrell and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante going behind the kit for the late Vinnie Paul, what followed honestly kicked a bit of ass.
And even though those guys all had decades of experience playing in front of crowds big and small, some of the dudes said they were a bundle of nerves leading up to the first show. During a newly uploaded interview with producer and YouTube personality Rick Beato, Benante, Wylde, and Brown talked for more than an hour about all sorts of topics, from Pantera and its influences to the origins of metal and all sorts of other shit.
Yet one of the most fascinating aspects of the chat was the very human reality that even bringing the Pantera name back carried a lot of expectations. For example, Wylde has a ton of experience playing to huge crowds, having played for Ozzy for so many years. Still, the band’s first show in Mexico was different.
“The funny thing was, ’cause there was no warm-up shows; we didn’t do any club shows. So the first show was the one in front of forty thousand people or whatever it was… For me, I felt there’s… Like the adrenaline, kind of like my first Ozzy [Osbourne] show, that I did in an arena when I was, like, 20 years old. So for me, I was just, like, ‘Wow, this is pretty insane.’”
Also reflecting on that night, Benante said the stakes were insanely high for the Pantera reunion/tribute/whatever the fuck. If you don’t remember, there was a lot of hype and derision in equal measures leading up to the band’s first shows. With the metal audience being particularly brutal with their honesty and criticism, the drummer said he knew they didn’t get very many chances to prove they were honoring the band and the Abbotts’ legacy.
“This is the first time people are gonna see it. And then it’s gonna be everywhere after tonight. So if we don’t bring it, it’s gonna be like, ‘Oh, I saw it. It wasn’t so good.’ And like I said, I had a hundred things going through my head: ‘I don’t wanna play this too fast. I wanna catch that groove as if I’m riding a surfboard.’”
As for Brown, who was the only original member to participate in the discussion, that first moment where the show kicked off and the band began ripping through the classics, he knew things were going to be alright.
“That’s what I call the shot across the world right there. That one little moment of time, and I remember it, because I just felt this huge relief come on. Because we had been in a hangar, with these two guys, for two weeks, getting this thing down with the lights and the production on this thing for nine, 10 hours a day playing the songs.”
Honestly, there’s just so much to talk about with this chat. It’s a little more than an hour long but totally worth your time. Be sure to check it out down below and subscribe to Rick Beato’s channel. Dude has some great content about all kinds of rock music.
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