Zakk Wylde will use Dimebag Darrell’s guitar gear on Pantera's reunion tour

Zakk Wylde and Dimebag Darrell
(Image credit: Tim Mosenfelder / Paul Natkin/Getty Images)

The late Dimebag Darrell’s former guitar tech Grady Champion has revealed Zakk Wylde will be using some of Dimebag’s gear for the upcoming Pantera reunion tour.

Breaking the latest news on social media, Champion – who worked with Dimebag throughout his time with Pantera – announced he had signed on for the upcoming tour, and while he won’t be replacing Wylde’s own guitar tech, he will be bringing some of Dimebag’s gear on the road with him.

He will also be in charge of helping the team dial in Dimebag’s effects and sounds, ensuring the upcoming Pantera shows are as true-to-tone as possible.

In a statement posted to Instagram, Champion revealed he had been granted access to Dimebag’s gear by the late guitarist’s girlfriend, Rita Haney, who is the trustee of Dimebag’s estate.

“For all the people I’ve ghosted, and anyone else who is interested. I’m doing a thing,” Champion wrote. “I signed on for the Pantera tour. [Rita Haney] has allowed me access to some of Dime’s gear and I’m bringing it for Zakk. 

“I’m not his tech, he has a bad ass, long-time one,” he continued. “The plan for now is for me to run effects and help bring Dime’s tone to the party.”

As for what specific gear Wylde will be using on the tour – and if he’ll swap his Wylde Audio guitars for an old Dean model – Champion went on to say the details are yet to be ironed out.

“I started with Pantera and I will end with Pantera,” Champion went on to write. “I didn’t know the ‘right’ thing to think, to say, to do. When I saw the headline like everyone else, I threw up, sweaty palms, heart was freaking out, I had seen that headline 1000 times in my nightmares. 

“After it sunk in and I spoke to everyone, I felt like I would be crazy to turn my nose up and say [fuck] that. I need to be involved IF I am needed, turns out I am needed, and I’m doing it.”

Champion also dismissed the notion that the Pantera reunion – which features Wylde alongside Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown, as well as Anthrax’s Charlie Benante – was fueled by financial gain, and instead said the tour will offer the real “Pantera experience”.

“Anyone that brings up ‘money grab’ has no concept of reality,” he concluded. “How much it takes from people to do this. More dedication that you’ll ever see, tears, all of it. If you want to hate, don’t go, I don’t want to hear it. 

“If you want a Pantera experience, this is it. We’re giving it hell, and going to give it all there is to give. Philip, Rex Brown, Zakk and Char Benante are going to bring it.”

Champion’s decision to join the tour has been widely praised. In response to the post, Scott Ian of Anthrax wrote, “His tone is literally the cornerstone to this whole thing… and it’s really great that you’re going to be there.”

Likewise, Powerflo’s Christian Olde Wolbers said, “It would never be close to the same without you bro. You’re the extension to Dime and his tone. I feel Zakk should be using Dime’s guitar as well – like you said, the full experience.”

Fans of Pantera who were previously skeptical of the reunion also voiced their approval of the appointment. One wrote, “[This is] literally the first post that’s made me feel okay about this,” while another said, “I will say, reading that you’re part of it and felt the same way I did when reading the headlines, that it makes me start to rethink how I feel about it all.”

Tickets for Pantera's first reunion show – a slot at the upcoming Knotfest South America – will go on sale tomorrow (August 31), ahead of a 2023 reunion tour. For more info, visit Tuboleta.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.