Even the greatest guitarists in the world can use some visual help when learning how to master the late Dimebag Darrell’s iconic playing. Take, for instance, Zakk Wylde, who is watching YouTube clips as he learns how to play select Pantera songs while preparing to hit the road as part of the legendary band’s new touring lineup.
As previously reported, classic members Philip Anselmo (vocals) and Rex Brown (bass) have recruited Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante to take Pantera back on the road again for the first time in more than 20 years. Wylde and Benante are filling in for the late Abbott brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, respectively.
The “celebration” of Pantera, as Wylde calls it, will get going next month, with a series of December festival dates and a couple of headlining gigs in Latin America, followed by a handful of appearances at massive European fests in June.
In a new interview with Sunday With Ola, a YouTube series hosted by Swedish guitarist Ola Englund, Wylde said he plans to meet up with the other guys in the band later this month to begin rehearsing for the upcoming shows. Asked whether he has begun learning the songs, Wylde responded (as transcribed by Blabbermouth), “Yeah, of course. I’ve been working on it for a while now. I had to get a whammy pedal. I never owned one of those things. Grady [Champion] will probably be running that thing, the guy who ran it for Dimebag. So, yeah, I’m a proud owner of a whammy pedal now.”
Wylde went on to compare the situation to the one he was in when Ozzy Osbourne recruited him as his guitarist back in the ’80s, while also revealing some of the songs Pantera will be playing on tour. “To me, it’s just like learning Randy [Rhoads’] stuff [to play with Ozzy], whether we’re doing ‘Mr. Crowley’ or ‘I Don’t Know’ or anything. To me, it’s fun. But whether we’re playing [Pantera’s] ‘Goddamn Electric,’ that solo’s beyond… I mean, all the solos are blazing; they’re all awesome. It’s gonna be fun when you’re playing ‘Walk,’ and stuff like that, or ‘Cowboys From Hell’ or anything like that. Some of the other ones that we’ve got on there.”
He added, “I mean, ‘A New Level’ and stuff like that — those are all cool. I think I may have gone on your website, just to see ‘Becoming’, watching you play. Any of these things that I got stumped on, I was, like, ‘What the hell was that?’ I would just go, ‘How to play…’ and I’d go on to YouTube and just see all these other amazing players playing the stuff… For me, that’s the whole thing, too — playing it with the record is one thing, but then you take the record away and it’s, like, ‘All right. Play it for me.’ It’s a guideline. It’s like cover by numbers; you know where you’re going. Or taking the GPS off your car. It’s, like, ‘All right, do you remember how to get back down to Hollywood?’ You’re, like, ‘Zakk, I have no idea. I was following the GPS the whole time.'”
Before it has even started, the Pantera tour is proving to be quite popular, as the band’s first headlining show, a gig in Santiago, Chile, had to be moved to an arena three times the size of the original venue after tickets sold out immediately.
In between the December and June shows with Pantera, Wylde’s Black Label Society will embark on a second North American leg of their co-headlining tour with Anthrax. Tickets for those shows are available here.
Watch the aforementioned interview with Zakk Wylde and see the current Pantera tour itinerary below.
Pantera 2022-2023 Tour Dates:
12/02 – Texicoco, MX – Hell & Heaven Metal Fest
12/06 – Monterrey, MX – Monterrey Metal Fest
12/09 – Bogotá, CO – Knotfest Colombia
12/11 – Santiago, CL- Knotfest Chile
12/12 – Santiago, CL – Movistar Arena
12/15 – São Paulo, BR – Vibra São Paulo
12/18 – São Paulo, BR – Knotfest Brazil
06/02-04 – Nürburgring, DE – Rock Am Ring
06/02-04 – Nürnberg, DE – Rock Im Park
06/10 – Sölvesborg, SE – Sweden Rock Festival
06/22-24 – Oslo, NO – Tons of Rock (Tix)