How Zakk Wylde Ended Up Being Guitarist For The Pantera Tribute

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Jan 3, 2023

Posted By Tracy Fuller

I am a music enthusiast with a deep love for the energy of crowded venues, loud music, & passionate fans. I have a diverse background that includes private security, talent buying, festival security planning, & media relations. I've also worked as a camera operator for various projects, including music videos featuring notable artists like Bernz, Tech N9ne, & Krizz Kaliko. Additionally, I am a camera operator for Full Moon Features, where I contribute to the production of horror movies.
Pantera Reunion Tour Lineup Noise From The Pit
How Zakk Wylde Ended Up Being Guitarist For The Pantera Tribute 2

I had heard many people say that Zakk Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante were the natural choices to fill Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul‘s shoes in the Pantera tribute lineup because they were close friends with the Abbott brothers when they were alive.

In a recent interview with Reckless Rock Radio 89.3 KNON FM, Sterling Winfield, a long-time producer and someone who controls Vinnie Paul’s estate suggested that Zakk Wylde wasn’t the only guitar player considered to fill Dimebag’s shoes in a Pantera tribute. However, despite considering other options, the conversation seemed to return to Wylde, the New Jersey-born guitarist.

“There was no doubt in my mind that [Charlie Benante] would be the one to take over for Vinnie. [It was a] no-brainer — absolute no-brainer. Now, there were some other guitar folks that were brought up. I’ll just say this — that it would not have been a good fit, and quite honestly, they would not have been able to pull it off. But it always kept circling back around to Zakk. 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.”

Last week, Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti revealed that Pantera bassist Rex Brown had approached him to audition for a spot in the band, but he ultimately turned down the offer. Tremonti emphasized that the right person for the role must have a certain type of personality. While we don’t know who else was considered for the position besides Zakk Wylde, it’s clear that the decision-makers are being selective in finding the right fit.

As fans eagerly anticipated the first Pantera show in Santiago, Chile, last month, many wondered how Zakk Wylde would approach playing Dimebag Darrell’s parts, given his distinct playing style. Zakk stated that he would stay true to himself while playing Dime’s parts, and Sterling Winfield, a long-time producer and someone who knew Pantera well, agreed that this was the most respectful way to pay tribute to the late guitarist.

“They’re not trying to be Dime and Vinnie, guys; they’re not trying to be that. That would be disrespectful. But they are themselves, and they are having fun.”

Don’t miss the opportunity to hear the rest of the insightful interview with Winfield in the clip below.


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