PHILIP ANSELMO: What I Would Say To VINNIE PAUL

Ex-PANTERA and current DOWN frontman Philip Anselmo spoke to Loudwire about his desire to reconnect with his former PANTERA bandmate Vinnie Paul Abbott more than eight years since ex-PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club.

Vinnie, who is Dimebag's brother, and Anselmo have not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag's death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer.

Asked what he would say to Vinnie Paul if that one-on-one conversation ever happened, Anselmo said: "Well, first and foremost, I'd tell him I love him. I love the guy — as different as both of us are individually, we're very different people. But the same can be said for all of us in PANTERA. Rex [Brown, former PANTERA bassust] and I are very different people. Dimebag and everybody [were] very different people.

"I would let Vince Paul know that I love him very much, and I would apologize to him for his misinterpretation in not understanding where I was coming from in my lowest point in our career. And then I would definitely touch upon how much lack of communication played a big role in our breaking up. A lot of that is on my back, which I've completely fuckin' owned up to. But I'm not sure the rest of them have owned up to their side of things, especially Vince, when it comes to communication.

"At least in my life, I cannot hold on to grudges. It's a waste of energy, a waste of time. And really, and I feel strongly about this, after we lost Dimebag in such a horrific way, I just cannot help but feel that Vinnie Paul's entire healing process could have been helped a lot more had he reached out to Rex and I, and we could have healed somehow together — whether you want to call it 'healing' or not. But if we would have really focused together on this thing and come out of it as brothers — because we are brothers — in certain ways we could have formed an even stronger bond together. But that did not happen and I think it's hurt us.

"Put it this way, I don't ever expect Vince to bend or break on his stance at all, I really don't. But if ever given the chance, man, to get straight back to your fuckin' question, I would just really give him all the apologies, I'd tell him I love him and then I would say, 'Look, let's get down to differences now. You're gonna have to hear my side of it. Take it or leave it, because you can leave it — you've already locked it out for x amount of years. What's the harm in hearing me out one on one, away from everybody? What's the harm?'

"I have no anger toward Vince. No one can question a person — really, he saw Darrell get shot. That's a scarring thing for anybody. I wish it can be seen for what it is and that blame did not have to fall on anyone's head or any circumstance. Because really it was a psychopath who had a hard-on for PANTERA and it's very well-known fact between Rex and I, between my family and myself — we all had to go through a lot of soul searching — but it could have been Rex, it could have been me, it could have been Vince. It was Darrell that was murdered and it's just the way it happened. I could say, 'I wish it would have been me'' or anything like that — I can say a million fuckin' things, man, and it still would not bring Dime back.

"So this is always gonna be a tough thing to talk about, and I really wish instead of talking about it in this interview, Vince and I can be talking about it together and just ironing this thing out. I'll end it with this: I don't think this is fair to the PANTERA fans. I really don't. When you're a fan of a band, you don't wanna hear about them fighting. You don't want to hear about their negativity. You don't want to read that shit. You don't want to fuckin' hear about that crap.

"I think it would mean a whole lot to a whole lot of people if one day Vince and I and Rex could all sit in the same room and work things out to the best of [our] abilities. I think everyone would breathe a great big sigh of relief, but the sad thing is I just don't see it happening."

Dimebag's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney has called on Vinnie and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, telling the producers of "Behind The Music Remastered: Pantera" that she forgave the singer after they found themselves unexpectedly face to face at a concert in California.

"I came out of the restroom, and when I looked up, I just didn't expect it was him," Rita said. "I go, 'I have one question. First, I just need to know why.' And, you know, he looked me right in the eye, and he said, 'I have no excuse. I was a junkie.' And for him to say that, you know, that's all any of us wanted to hear."

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