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Mike Wengren, drummer for the band Disturbed, and a self-proclaimed Pantera fanatic, recently expressed his immense respect for the band’s legacy and acknowledged the irreplaceable talent of Pantera‘s late drummer Vinnie Paul.

In an interview with The Break Down With Nath & Johnny, Wengren commended Charlie Benante, Pantera‘s current drummer, for honoring Vinnie‘s legacy. He also acknowledged his deep familiarity with Pantera‘s music, suggesting he could potentially step in as a drummer if needed.

“Oh, I mean, honestly, if they told me, like, somebody took Charlie out tonight, I think I could step in. Actually, you know what? Let me make sure I clarify this. All respect to Charlie, ’cause he’s killing it, man. He is doing everything in his power to make it sound like Vinnie is up there.

“There’s nobody in the world that could actually do that. Charlie was so, so close with the Abbott brothers, and it’s awesome. So, let me make sure I say that first. ‘Cause all those guys are my bros. I’m just saying as a huge Pantera fan, I think I know most of the songs in the back of my head already. I can probably pull it off. I got probably 80 percent of the set down already.”

Reflecting on his deep-rooted respect for Pantera, Wengren shared anecdotes of his encounters with Vinnie and Dimebag, emphasizing the profound impact they had on his musical journey. Recalling moments of camaraderie and mentorship, Wengren painted a picture of the Abbott brothers’ generosity and inclusivity, even to younger bands like Disturbed.

Vinnie Paul was an idol of mine back in the 90s. He was a huge influence on my playing. Then Ozzfest 2000 Pantera is on the main stage and Disturbed second stage. It was our first-ever major festival touring experience. As a second-stage artist, your laminates were restricted to certain areas,” Wengren recalled.

“We met Vinnie and Dime. They welcomed us into their dressing room regardless of what our passes said. They took us under their wing and showed us how to treat your fellow touring mates. It never mattered that they were headliners and we were openers. To them, we were all brothers. We have continued to follow that attitude throughout our careers and treat our opening bands and crew as family,” he added.

“So many stories throughout the years. We used to jam together whenever our paths crossed on the road. They would join us during our set when we would cover ‘Walk’. I would have Vinnie play my kit and I’d join in on the floor toms.

“To have met him was a dream come true. To become his friend was an honor. Vin, I will be forever grateful for your impact on my life. Rest in peace, brother. Say hello to Dime for me. Until we jam again in the afterlife.”

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