The new tribute Pantera lineup – which currently comprises Zakk Wylde, Charlie Benante, Rex Brown and Phil Anselmo – is in the midst of a comprehensive world tour, having recently concluded their December run of festival dates.
When Wylde and Benante’s appointments were confirmed last year, it was accompanied with the news that the Pantera lineup would be embarking on a tour of South America, with further European and North American dates arriving soon after. Beyond that, the new Pantera tribute project was envisaged solely as a live-only experience.
Now, though, Pantera producer Sterling Winfield has suggested new material from the current Pantera members might arrive in the future.
Speaking to Reckless Rock Radio, the band’s longtime collaborator said it’s “entirely possible” that Wylde, Benante, Brown and Anselmo will continue playing together beyond their scheduled touring commitments, and may even release new music together somewhere down the line.
Though he stressed such discussions hadn’t yet taken place, Winfield went on to say, “It’s not unheard of, it’s not blasphemous. I will say that it is entirely plausible.
“It is entirely possible, but at this point in time, I don’t know that anybody’s looking that far down the road,” he continued. “They’ve got a world tour to tackle for the next two years… [but] could it happen? Yes.”
However, Winfield did go on to say that he would feel uncomfortable if such material was released under the Pantera name, and that – though the four-piece would make “very badass music together” – such a move wouldn’t be “classy."
“It has to be done right,” he said of the potential for new material. “If it were to happen, I would not feel comfortable calling it Pantera. I don’t think that would be classy. I’ll put it that way and I’ll just leave it at that for now. This lineup could make some very badass music. And the music is all that matters.”
Though part of that hesitancy no doubt stems from a desire to honor the original Pantera lineup – and especially the memory of the band's late guitarist, Dimebag Darrell, and drummer, Vinnie Paul – Winfield also noted Pantera’s surviving members may now have developed an entirely new sound.
“[They] are different people now. They are not the same people from 20-something years ago,” he explained. “You mature. You grow up. You own your mistakes. You move forward in your life. That’s exactly what I see here.”
Elsewhere in that same interview, Winfield reflected on the lengthy selection process that took place before Zakk Wylde was recruited as the band’s guitarist, saying the decision to appoint the Black Label Society man was a “no-brainer."
“It always kept circling back around to Zakk,” Winfield admitted. “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.”
One name that was considered for the post was Mark Tremonti, though Tremonti himself recently stated he turned down the job because he didn’t believe he had the right “personality” for the role.
“You have to be a certain type of personality to take on that role,” Tremonti told Overdrive. “It's not just about the playing, it's very much the personality, and Dime had a huge presence.
“Put it this way,” joked 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.”