Dimebag Darrell Wanted to Reunite Pantera Shortly Before His Death, Says Close Confidant

Plus, Dime's longtime girlfriend endorses a potential tribute with Pantera's surviving members

Dimebag wanted Pantera reunion
Pantera, via EastWest Records America

In a new interview, Pantera’s official videographer Daryl “Bobby Tongs” Arnberger revealed that Dimebag Darrell wanted to “go back to Pantera” in the weeks before his death.

Darrell was tragically murdered onstage by a crazed gunman while performing with Damageplan on December 8th, 2004 in Columbus, Ohio. Anrberger, who was a close friend of Dimebag, discussed the last time he saw the virtuosic guitarist in November of 2004. It was then that Dimebag shared his intentions to reunite Pantera.

“Oh, yeah, he would have [reunited Pantera],” Arnberger told the podcast. “The last time I saw him was in November of 2004. I was about to go back out with Slipknot or [Marilyn] Manson, one of the two. And I went over to his house. I was just talking to him briefly about everything. He was, like, ‘We’re gonna go out and do this [Damageplan] tour through December, and I’ll see you for Christmas and everything. After that, we’re gonna have some new shit going on. And it’s not gonna be this. Whatever it takes, we’re gonna get these guys back together and do it right.'”

Arnberger added, “He was saying he was gonna do everything he could. He was pretty much done with what [Damageplan] were doing at that point. He wanted to move on and go back to Pantera.”

The revelation adds even a sadder element to Dimebag’s untimely passing. Pantera played their last show in 2001 and broke up in 2003 due to tensions between frontman Philip Anselmo and the brothers Darrell and Vinnie Paul. The brothers went on to form Damageplan.

The rift between Anselmo and Vinnie Paul never healed prior to Paul’s own death in June 2018, and any hypothetical Pantera tribute with Anselmo, Paul, bassist Rex Brown, and a guest guitarist never came to fruition. However, the idea of a long-rumored tribute tour, with guitarist Zakk Wylde filling in for Dime, continues to be tossed about in interviews.

Darrell’s longtime girlfriend Rita Haney is the latest party to discuss a possible tribute tour, giving it her endorsement in an interview on the red carpet at the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund 10th Anniversary Memorial Awards last week.

“I don’t think there could be a Pantera reunion, but I think that his two remaining brothers, Rex and Philip, if they wanted to honor Darrell and Vinnie, as far as where I’m coming from and what I believe Darrell would believe — because he was the most forgiving person that I know — I believe that he would be honored,” Haney said.

She added, “It’s kind of a cliché to say, but he truly would be grateful that he meant that much to them. And I think if they wanna honor their fallen brothers with a tribute, I think that that’s great. But as far as trying to say put Pantera back together, Pantera tribute, this and that, no — that’s distasteful without those other guys. But I think as a tribute, it would be a really great thing.”

Anselmo recently said he was open to a tribute featuring Wylde, who then seconded his own interest in the idea. The last, daunting checkbox would be getting support from Vinnie Paul’s estate, who might be reluctant given Paul’s falling out with Anselmo.

Listen to the full interview with Daryl “Bobby Tongs” Arnberger, and see the interview with Rita Haney, below.