During a recent interview with Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show, former PANTERA frontman Philip Anselmo was asked why a hypothetical reunion of the band’s surviving members would be important to him personally. He responded (hear audio below): “I discussed the fans earlier [in the interview], and as a guy who puts zero expectation on every single record he’s ever done — and that’s just a habit, and that’s just the type of [bleep] I am — I would have to take a look at an honest and pure want for the event, number one, and then evaluate it from there. It’s the fans that matter.
“You ask me why it would be important to me? Well, I always tell fans that it’s a two-way street,” he continued. “People come up to me and thank me. Well, right back at ’em, because the band doesn’t choose the audience; it’s the audience that chooses the band. So, really, like I say, it’s very much a two-way street.
“So, if there is any want or need for such a thing to occur, then that would be the only thing that could drag me in such a direction, because, honestly, I am perfectly fine with where I’m at right now, because I’m on a journey. There’s a lot of different records I wanna make, there’s a lot of different music I wanna touch upon, and none of it has anything to do with PANTERA.”
Anselmo added: “But, once again, I do know that — I mean, real talk — PANTERA is, as far as my life goes, as far as just me, if I’m looking at the big picture, PANTERA is a huge part of that big picture; it’s the biggest part of it. We sold the most records, we were the most popular band that I have ever been a part of. So to ignore that fanbase, or to deprive the fanbase, if this fanbase really wants such a thing, that would hurt my heart; I wouldn’t wanna do that. But once again also, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Just keep plugging along and be honest and play honest and just be who you are and make music and move forward, and that’s what I’m all about, man. But as far as what you’re talking about, I say let the fans dictate. And put it this way: if the fans [say] ‘yes,’ then consider me ready to go. If the fans say ‘no,’ then consider me very comfortable where I’m at.”
Talk about a possible PANTERA reunion intensified when Anselmo regularly joined Zakk Wylde‘s BLACK LABEL SOCIETY to perform PANTERA‘s song “I’m Broken” during DOWN‘s 2014 stint on the “Revolver Golden Gods Tour”. That buzz only got stronger after bassist Rex Brown joined the jam on May 23, 2014 when the tour swung through Texas.
In 2011, Rita Haney, the longtime girlfriend of late PANTERA and DAMAGEPLAN guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, called on ex-PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of the guitarist, 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.
Vinnie Paul has repeatedly shot down any talk of a hypothetical PANTERA reunion, telling Brazil’s Wikimetal back in 2014: “The bottom line is they call it a reunion, and that means to bring the original members back, and we can’t bring Dime back, and he was such a huge part of PANTERA. I don’t wanna damage or tarnish the legacy of him or the band. We had 14 amazing years together and it’s time for everybody to move on. And I have definitely moved on in my life. I don’t live in the past. I like to live for today and what’s coming up tomorrow, and I love what we’re doing with HELLYEAH. And that’s my focus and that’s my goal, man.”
Vinnie Paul later weighed in even less enthusiastically on the subject, telling Revolver magazine: “If you had an ex-wife, and it was a pretty bitter split, you might not ever want to talk to her again. Who cares if everybody in the family and your friends want you to say hello again? It’s your choice whether you want to do it or not. And I think a lot of people are selfish. They say, ‘Oh, he oughta just kiss and make up with Phil and everything will be cool. And then they can go get Zakk Wylde and everything’s gonna be great.’ No, everything’s not gonna be great.”