Former PANTERA members Philip Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass) joined BLACK LABEL SOCIETY on stage last night (Friday, May 23) at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie, Texas to perform a cover of the PANTERA classic "I'm Broken". Fan-filmed video footage of their appearance can be seen below (courtesy of Zach Rose and Sam Moncivalles).
During an interview with Matt Pinfield of Fanpass at last weekend's Rock On The Range festival in Columbus, Ohio, Anselmo — who currently fronts DOWN — was once again asked about the possibility of a PANTERA reunion with Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) filling in for the late "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott on guitar.
"I think the situation would have to be correct," Anselmo began before Pinfield interjected that Zakk would be the perfect guy to step in for Dimebag. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. No doubt," Philip agreed. Anselmo continued: "We [DOWN] are on tour with fucking BLACK LABEL SOCIETY right now, and don't ever underestimate the power of conversation between Zakk and I. And I know Rex is a smart man. But at the end of the day, there would have to be a meeting at a table — or without a table — between Rex, Vince [former PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott] and I, and there would have to be a bigtime understanding between the two of us [Vinnie and Philip] before anything happens at all. Otherwise I think… There is a great percentage of me that says, 'This generation deserves it. Let's do it.' And then there's a reservation in me that says, 'You know what, man? Legacies get passed down. This, that, the other. Maybe we should leave it alone and just let it be part of lore and the history and whatnot.'"
Later in the interview, Anselmo once again spoke about a hypothetical PANTERA reunion, telling Pinfield, "If there was ever a proper presentation, like, OK, PANTERA is back together, Zakk's on guitar, that would be a massive feeling. That would be outrageous. And I would go to war. I would be in the best shape possible."
After Pinfield pointed out to Anselmo that he remembered seeing the singer backstage during PANTERA's prime years working out in preparation for the live show, Philip said: "I had boxing coaches and all that shit with me. But, you know, after I injured my back, things got really vulnerable for me. And that was a very bad feeling for me. I felt like Superman one time and then, cut in half. Whatever, man. Hey, you get dealt the fucking card you get, and you play it. And I lost a bunch of rounds. But I think the reason why we're sitting here today having this conversation, I might have won a couple too."
During a September 2013 interview with Artisan News, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY mainman Zakk Wylde was asked about the possibility of a hypothetical PANTERA reunion with him filling in for Dimebag on guitar. "It'd be up to Vinnie, Phil and Rex — they're the guys that make everything happen," he said. "So if they were all gonna do it and honor Dimebag and [if they said to me], 'Zakk, would you wanna honor Dime and do Dime's parts?' Of course, I was a pallbearer for him — I laid him to rest — so, of course, I'd say, it would be a beautiful way to honor him and stuff like that. And to celebrate all things PANTERA and what they achieved. 'Cause they changed the game, as far as extreme metal goes. I mean, they're the kings of it. But it's up to the fellows. Then it would just be me woodsheddin' 25-8, learning all of Dime's parts, you know what I mean?! Yeah, but like I said, as far as I'm concerned, it would just be honoring Dime. Like with the Yankees, you honor… everybody's wearing Thurman Munson's '15' for that day, just because we're honoring Thurman's greatness. So it's the same thing, man."
Asked about the likelihood of a PANTERA "reunion" with Wylde filling in for Dimebag, Vinnie Paul told the Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas radio station 97.1 The Eagle Rocks in March 2012: "I spent two hours with Zakk, sitting down — a really great talk about… [Zakk] calls [Dimebag] 'the old man.' I mean, [Zakk] and my brother were so tight. If [a PANTERA reformation] ever were to happen, [Zakk] would be the guy [to step in for Dimebag]. But I honestly think, out of respect for my brother, we should just leave the 14 amazing years PANTERA had be. We're all happy doing our own thing. We have to continue living and do other things."
Dimebag's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, who was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.
Vinnie, who is Dimebag's brother, and Anselmo have not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag's death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer.
John Parks of Legendary Rock Interviews recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current DOWN frontman Philip Anselmo. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Legendary Rock Interviews: What surprised me about [your debut solo album] "Walk Through Exits Only" is that, with all due respect to DOWN and all of your other projects, this little blast of energy feels like the most out-and-out "fun" record you've been involved with since PANTERA's "Reinventing The Steel".
Anselmo: Oh, thank you so much, brother; I really appreciate that. I appreciate that so fuckin' much. I wanted to show people a different side of the old sense of humor of me, in a way. There's a lot of tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic fucking things that I say on the record that could be taken one way or another. I think that sometimes when you listen to a band or a performer who's supposed to be very rebellious or anti-authority, sometimes it can be a bit of a letdown, so to have that shock value back in there. Take the songtitles, or the whole fuckin album title, "Walk Through Exits Only". I'm not the type of motherfucker that's gonna sit here and spoonfeed the fuckin listener. I'd rather have people take something and listen to it and make it their own, really. Sometimes I feel compelled just to write a line that could mean a hundred things to a hundred different people. Let me put it to you this way: I like to architect things lyrically and let people themselves finish the building I've begun, so to speak.
Legendary Rock Interviews: I'm glad you mentioned the title track. That is just so fitting, and obviously, it could be interpreted as a classic "fuck you," but there's music history commentary and all sorts of other shit I'm reading into it as well.
Anselmo: When you take the hook line from the verses, where I say, "It's ruined, everybody ruins music..." For me, it's, like, you're always gonna have your critics. You can name any band that puts out any record, it's gonna be loved and it's gonna be hated. Music's like food — you can love it or hate it or be indifferent to it or you grow to like it eventually. So I know that no matter what I did, I could have just fuckin' done a violin-and-spoon record with nothing but yodeling, and some people would have loved it and some people would have fuckin hated it. God knows we put a lot of effort into this record and all that, but still, at the end of the day, it's up to the people to make up their own minds as to how they take it. For me, it's like, fuck it. It's gonna be what it is and people are gonna feel they way they're gonna fuckin feel about it. What can I do about it? Nothing. Put one foot in front of the other and keep on fuckin truckin'; that's what I'm gonna do.
Legendary Rock Interviews: You respect PANTERA's fanbase immensely. Do you ever feel like you are walking a line between understanding what it is they love about you and following your heart?
Anselmo: Not at all, not at all, because honestly, for me, PANTERA is a sacred thing. It's a very sacred thing for fans and for myself, because the musicians that encompass that fuckin band are still, bar none, the greatest musicians I have ever played with, and I think that the approach to the songwriting is very, very different than anything I've ever done, especially because of that particular talent in PANTERA. So, it's a sacred thing and I've never, ever, ever gonna tried to take the place of a PANTERA and I never will.