Mark Tremonti was asked to try out for Pantera – here’s why he declined

Mark Tremonti and Dimebag Darrell
(Image credit: Chiaki Nozu / Paul Natkin / Getty)

Mark Tremonti says he was approached by Rex Brown about taking on guitar duties in the reprised Pantera, but thought better of auditioning for the role.

In a recent interview with Irish publication Overdrive (opens in new tab), Tremonti revealed he’d had a brief conversation with Pantera bassist Brown at Download festival in the UK “a number of years ago”.

“He was talking about a possible Pantera reunion,” says Tremonti. “He looked at me and said, ‘You should put your name in the hat,’ and I was like, ‘No way, man.’ You have to be a certain type of personality to take on that role. It's not just about the playing, it's very much the personality, and Dime [late Pantera guitarist ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott] had a huge presence.” 

Instead, Tremonti seems to have predicted that his more studious approach to metal may not have entirely gelled with Pantera’s audience. With that in mind, he says that the eventual choice of Zakk Wylde was definitely the right way to go.

“Put it this way,” jokes Tremonti. “Nobody's gonna flip off Zakk Wylde onstage. They very well might do that to me, but there's just no way I would put myself in that situation.”

Tremonti’s comments echo those of longtime Pantera producer Sterling Winfield, who recently told Texas station KNON’s Reckless Rock Radio show that Wylde was among a list of players considered for the role. 

“There were some other guitar folks that were brought up,” reveals Winfield, though it is not clear if he is alluding to Tremonti. “I’ll just say this – that it would not have been a good fit, and quite honestly, they would not have been able to pull it off. 

“But it always kept circling back around to Zakk. And after a couple of times, it was, like, again another no-brainer. Because he knew Dime better than most any other guitar player on the planet knew him. Is it gonna be Dimebag Darrell's exact notes and riffs and everything? No. It's Zakk Wylde, you idiots. It's Zakk.”

You can hear Winfield’s full interview above. It’s fair to say that Tremonti has enough strings to his bow for now, though. The guitarist is back on the road for a full US tour with Alter Bridge (accompanied by Mammoth WVH) at the end of the month, while Pantera next hit the stage in Spring, kicking off their summer run on May 20 at Daytona Beach, Florida.

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Matt Parker

Matt is a freelance journalist who has spent the last decade interviewing musicians for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk (opens in new tab), which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.