Despite her formidable chops, Pantera enthusiast Kayla Kent wasn’t considered for the guitar slot on the metal powerhouse’s upcoming reunion tour. That position went to Zakk Wylde who, to be fair, is a worthy contender to fill Dimebag Darrell’s monolithic shoes, and said recently that he’s “beyond honored” to be joining the trek.
Kent’s busy elsewhere, though, as she continues to grow her YouTube channel, where she’s so far tackled Dimebag’s leads from Pantera classics such as Cowboys From Hell and Walk, to deeper cuts including P.S.T.88 and Message in Blood.
But in her latest video, the guitarist has deviated from her usual Pantera-related content to record a piece of original music. Well, we say original, but the track’s central melody was, as she explains, written by her late pet guinea pig, Lil Lou.
The video begins with an old piece of footage in which the guinea pig stomps its feet on tablet with a virtual piano app, and Kent proceeds to develop the melody – which is simple, but impressive seeing as it came from the mind of a rodent – into a light-hearted downtempo number in its honor.
Armed with her Explorer-style Kramer JK8000 electric guitar – which is fitted with a stock '80s Kramer pickup in the bridge position and a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails humbucker in the neck – Kent offers up a string of uber-melodic leads and some rapid-fire lines, to boot, over footage of Lil Lou and Hal 9000, who also sadly passed away in 2020.
Perhaps its time we started paying more attention to the musical abilities of animals; back in 2021, we saw a cat write a surprisingly decent bass solo on piano.
While much of the attention directed at Kayla Kent surrounds her insane Pantera covers, the guitarist has written a selection of other original songs, including the brooding Halloween and searing Dimebag-inspired Fractured Soul.
“The most unexpected thing from all of this on YouTube was people appreciating my original music,” she told Guitar World earlier this year. “I never expected that at all, especially since all my stuff is more indie rock than metal.”
To see more Kayla Kent content, head to her official YouTube channel.