I REMEMBER BACK SIXTEEN YEARS AGO WHILE I WAS ON A HUNTING TRIP WITH SOME BUDDIES IN SOUTH CAROLINA. MY GUIDE THE TIME HAPPENED TO BE THIS HICK LOOKING DUDE, WITH TATOOS ALL OVER HIS ARMS AND LEGS, SPORTING LONG STRAIGHT HAIR DOWN TO HIS BACK. HE WAS DRIVING ME TO MY STAND IN HIS BEATEN UP FORD BRONCO THAT LOOKED LIKE IT HAD BEEN THROUGH HELL AND BACK...HIS STEREO BLARING THIS SONG THAT I HAD NEVER HEARD BEFORE. THE SONG HAD THIS SICK SOLO THAT MADE THE HAIR STAND UP OFF OF MY SKIN. I CAN REMEMBER ASKING THE GUY WHAT SONG IT WAS AND WHO THE BAND WAS. HE FIRED BACK IN AN ALMOST MOCKING TONE..."THAT IS THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL BY PANTERA. FROM THAT DAY FORWARD I WAS A HUGE PANTERA FAN AND HAVE SINCE PURCHASED EVERY ALBUM AND VIDEO THEY HAVE PRODUCED.
THAT'S WHAT PHIL ANSELMO DID, AFTER IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HIM AND HIS BAND MEMBERS, AFTER THE UNTIMELY DEATH OF STAR GUITARIST, "DIME BAG DARRELL." YES PHILIP IS STILL GOING STRONG WITH HIS OWN BAND "DOWN," BUT LET'S FACE IT...DOWN IS NO PANTERA. I REMEMBER WHEN I FIRST BECAME A FAN OF THE BAND, THEY PROVIDED A UNIQUE NEW STYLE THAT WAS SOME WHAT DIFFERENT THAN THE THRASH BANDS I HAD KNOWN TO GROW AND LOVE.
TO ME, PANTERA IS ON A GUNS N' ROSES LEVEL, AS FAR AS WHAT THEY DID TO POPULARIZE HEAVY METAL MUSIC IN AMERICA TODAY. I HAVE ALWAYS SAID THAT IF AXL ROSE COULD EVER GET HIS HEAD OUT OF HIS ASS AND RECONCILE WITH SLASH, DUFF, AND THE BOYS...AND IF GUNS N' ROSES ANNOUNCED A COMEBACK...THERE WOULD NOT ONLY BE RECORD ALBUM SALES, BUT ALSO RECORD SELL OUTS AND UNLIMITED TOURS. IT WOULD BE THE BIGGEST MUSIC STORY SINCE THE BEATLES. GNR IS AN ICON AND IN A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN.
WELL...I WOULD NOT HESITATE TO SAY THAT IF PANTERA WERE TO REUNITE...THEY WOULD PROVIDE A SIMILAR SOCIAL PHENOMENON. ZACK WYLDE, FORMERLY LEAD GUITARIST FOR OZZY AND CURRENT GUITARIST OF BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, IS ONE OF THE GREATEST GUITARISTS OF THE PAST FEW DECADES. HE WOULD BE THE PERFECT FIT TO REPLACE DIME BAG. THEY BOTH SHARE SIMILAR STYLES AND I FEEL THE BAND WOULD NOT MISS A BEAT WITH ZACK. I MEAN...IN MY ERA OF LIFE THERE HAVE BEEN MANY AWESOME GUITAR PLAYERS BUT THERE ARE SOME THAT TRANSCEND THE INSTRUMENT. Slash, Dave Mustaine, Zack Wylde, Eddie Van Halen, Randy Rhodes (before his death), Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton and Yours Truly...Dime Bag Darell just to name a few.
During the past few years, there have been many rumors to circulate of a Pantera reunion, with Zack on the axe. If this rumor ever does come to fruition, you can pretty much bet that it will be the biggest news in Metal, since Metallica's comeback. I can just picture Zack right now...strumming his guitar to the intro of Cemetery Gates. I can picture his stellar solos on Cowboys From Hell. This would be exciting news for any true Heavy Metal fan if Pantera did reunite.
In a recent magazine article, Phil Anselmo said that a reunion with Zack and the three other original members is a definite possibility. Phil Anselmo is in his own band, "DOWN." Former Bassist Rex Brown is in Kill Devil Hill. And, Vinnie Paul, Dime's brother is in Hell Yeah. All of these bands have been successful. However, nothing would top this reunion. Vinnie is still not reconciled with Phil; however, anything is possible. Stay tuned all of you Heavy Metal Maniacs!!!!! As we wait patiently for an announcement...remember PANTERA. As a matter of fact...yesterday was the anniversary of the release of Far Beyond Driven. This was the first Heavy Metal album to hit Number One on the Billboard 200 in forever. C'MON Guys...if anyone is reading this with ties to the band....do you realize how big this would be???!!!! It's what Dime would want.