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Arguments over whether or not Pantera is actually Pantera have been raging ever since the band announced their comeback in 2022. Some fans feel that Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown are carrying on the Pantera name, while others are adamantly calling it a tribute band due to the absence of Vinnie Paul and “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott.

In an interview with Rolling Stone Australia, Brown clarified the issue, saying that Pantera with Charlie Benante and Zakk Wylde is not a tribute band – Pantera now is Pantera.

“Two of our beloved brothers that just aren’t here anymore man, that’s life, you know? They’re just not with us man. That’s just fate; it’s the way the ball rolls, dude.”

He added: “This is no tribute band — Philip and I get to play these songs of ours that we haven’t played in 23 years. And to be able to do that and connect with the enormity of what’s happened is just extraordinarily fucking insane, you know?”

Brown also touched on the audition process for Pantera, and getting both Benante and Wylde up to speed for the shows. Brown notes that this wasn’t a quick decision, but one that resulted in many rehearsal to produce the band you see on stage today.

“We knew who would fit and who wouldn’t. We knew what the obstacles were in front of us, and we knew after… I’ll put it this way — Charlie and I came down in September [2022] before we played that [first] show in December [2022], and we have probably one hundred hours of tape of us playing every fucking Pantera song that I could remember.

“And so, you know, me and Charlie lockin’ in like that… the drummer and the bass player, that’s your foundation. So when Zakk came in, there were certain things we had to go over and over and over, to get tight. And today, this band is about as tight and about as badass as I fucking want. You know what I mean, and that’s all I’m gonna say on that.”

Brown also recently touched on the possibility of new Pantera material during an interview with Brown remained vague in his answer, only saying: “Oh, absolutely. Yeah, I could tell you more but I’m not going to.” Of course the implication there being that there’s more to say on the topic. So who knows – maybe new Pantera is already in the works? That, or Brown is just having fun with everyone.

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