Rex Brown has announced that he will miss the remainder of Pantera’s ongoing South America tour after falling ill with COVID-19.
The bass guitar player was missing from the band’s two shows in Santiago, Chile on December 11 and 12, with “health issues” cited as the reason for his absence. Now, Brown has issued a statement via Pantera’s social media channels confirming his Covid diagnosis and his absence from the rest of the band’s 2022 shows.
“I caught a very mild strain of Covid, but because of our own protocols, I simply do not wanna risk getting my brothers or the crew sick,” he writes. “I’m feeling better and am on my way to a speedy recovery. Merry fucking christmas and see you all next year!”
Cattle Decapitation bassist Derek Engemann – who also plays with Pantera frontman Phil Anselmo in Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals – and former Down bass player Bobby Landgraf assumed low-end duties for the gigs, and look to be sharing the role for the band’s two remaining South America shows in São Paulo, Brazil.
After wrapping up at Knotfest Brazil in São Paulo on December 18, Pantera will enjoy a quiet start to 2023, before heading to Europe for a string of dates from May 26. And from August 2023, the band will embark on a tour of the US, their first in over 21 years.
The band’s 2022 setlist, though tweaked here and there, has included a host of classic Pantera cuts, including A New Level, Mouth For War, Strength Beyond Strength, Cowboys From Hell and Walk.
A regular fixture of the show has been their cover of Black Sabbath’s Planet Caravan, which the band play while a tribute to Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul appears on screens either side of the stage.
Zakk Wylde has looked well at home onstage with the band, despite admitting that he still needed to learn some of Dimebag’s guitar parts as late as mid-October, and later revealing that he was using YouTube videos to grasp them.
His rig for the shows so far has included Wylde Audio Warhammer electric guitars – the closest thing in his company’s product lineup to Dimebag’s trademark MLs – walls of Wylde 4x12 cabs and some of Dime’s own pedals, courtesy of the late guitarist’s guitar tech, Grady Champion.
Last month, Wylde spoke with Guitar World about his approach to the gig, explaining how he didn’t expect to go into it and sound like Dimebag Darrell.
“No matter what I do, it's going to sound like me,” he said. “I can practice all I want and stay as faithful as I want, but I am never going to escape that. It's like if Dime were still here, and he played Miracle Man or No More Tears – even if he played them spot on – it would still sound like Dimebag Darrell playing Zakk Wylde.
“So, that's a challenge, but it's not a bad thing at all. It's like if Randy Rhoads were to play Eddie Van Halen's Eruption, no matter what he did, it would sound like Randy playing, not Eddie. You're never going to mistake Randy for Eddie or Eddie for Randy, and it's the same thing here with me playing Dime's stuff.
“So, the way I look at it is I am going to go in, learn the parts, be as faithful to what Dime did as possible, and just be me. I'm gonna have fun with it, knowing that I am not expecting myself to sound like Dime, and no one else should either, which is how it is when I play with Ozzy or whatever else.”