As the fateful day draws nearer and the world gets a glimpse of what Pantera sounds like with Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante filling in for the late “Dimebag” Darrell and Vinnie Paul, metal artists continue to express their support for the effort. The latest to share his feelings on the matter was Anthrax bassist Frank Bello, whose band toured extensively with the original iteration of Pantera.
While speaking with Detroit radio station WRIF, as transcribed by Blabbermouth, Bello reflected on his relationship with the guys in Pantera and the fact that the reunion/tribute/whatever you want to call it was happening in the first place.
“I knew about it. Well, [Charlie] came to all of us [and told us about it].
“Look, you have to understand, we were very, very, very close with Pantera. We were family; that’s our family. So if there’s one guy in the world to play drums and pay tribute to this thing, it’s Charlie Benante — right off the bat. He was very close with Dime, very close with Vinnie. We all were; we all were. So that’s family to us.
“These songs should be celebrated. And having Charlie Benante play those songs, I think it’s gonna be great for Charlie. People know Charlie is a great drummer, but the world doesn’t know how great he is. I want people to [put] the spotlight on Charlie ’cause I want them to see what I see all the time — how great of a drummer he is. And I’m excited, ’cause I think Charlie’s gonna do it the right way. So is Zakk. So I think they have the right band there. Remember — I’m friends with these guys; Rex, Phil, these are family members to me.
“So I think it’s a great celebration. I’ll be there watching it. I can’t wait. I think it’s a great thing. Can you imagine the people that haven’t seen this are gonna see these songs live? That’s a great thing. So I think it’s great for metal. I think it’s great to pay tribute to Dime and Vinnie. I’m looking forward to it. I think when people see it, they’re gonna bug out, ’cause [the guys in Pantera are] gonna do it right… I’m excited for [the fans], to be honest. I live through them, kind of. It’s, like, ‘Yeah, man, wait till you see this.’ This music should be celebrated. We’re part of this metal thing, this metal family.
“Dime and Vinnie, rest their souls — God rest their souls — but they would be happy, I think, seeing this, because Charlie and Zakk were family to those guys. So I think it’s a big celebration. So I’m excited.”
This isn’t the first time Bello’s given the idea his blessing, nor is it the first time he’s said he thinks the Abbotts would approve. Still, with so many people with personal connections to the OG Pantera saying how stoked they are for it and how the actual members would have reacted, it’s hard not to think this could be pretty sweet.