Vinnie Paul Abbott says that "it's sad" to see Philip Anselmo doing "a lot of things" that have tarnished PANTERA's image in the fifteen years since the band's split.
The former PANTERA drummer's comments came during an interview he and his HELLYEAH bandmates gave to R7 before the latter group's September 7 performance at the Maximus Festival in São Paulo, Brazil.
Asked to comment on the fact that Anselmo was filmed earlier in the year giving a Nazi salute and shouting "white power" at a California concert, Vinnie Paul said: "I can't speak for him. He's done a lot of things that tarnish the image of what PANTERA was back then and what it stood for and what it was all about. And it's sad. But I carry on with what I do, which is HELLYEAH, which I'm very, very proud of. And, you know, I can't control anything that goes on with that dude. I mean, honestly, I haven't spoken to him since 2000. So there you have it."
Vinnie Paul added that he hasn't seen the former PANTERA singer since the band's final concert, which was held in 2001. "It was a long time ago, bro, I'll tell you right now," the drummer said when asked to recall what his last words to Anselmo might have been. "I'm thinking… Probably the last show that we ever did was in Tokyo, at 'Beast Feast', and I might have said 'Bye' or something. I don't know."
According to Vinnie Paul, he and his brother — late PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott — did their best to patch things up with Anselmo before launching their DAMAGEPLAN project, but their efforts were in vain. "Nothing ever transpired," Vinnie Paul explained. "We tried to make amends of things when we were doing DAMAGEPLAN, and he didn't want anything to do with it. And then the horrible thing that happened to my brother happened. And, to me, that was the nail in the coffin. Period."
Vinnie Paul also once again shot down any talk of a hypothetical PANTERA reunion featuring Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) filling in for Dimebag on guitar. He said: "For me personally, it's been over since PANTERA was over. A lot of people don't understand that. There's reasons why the band wasn't together anymore. And with my brother no longer being here, there's no such thing as a reunion for that band, period. I am one hundred percent dedicated to HELLYEAH. I love what I do in this band. I'm really proud of this band. Everybody in this band is such a special person, and the music that we make together, I really believe, is very special and the next level in my life. So, for me, I'm not worried about whether people wanna live in the past or not, man. If you live in the past, you've got no future."
Although there is no chance of the surviving PANTERA members ever playing together again under that band name, Vinnie Paul is glad to see the group's fans continuing to celebrate his brother's life more than a decade since he was gunned down while performing with DAMAGEPLAN. "It makes me happy, man," Vinnie Paul said. "It puts a big smile on my face, man, to know that people still love and cherish him as if he was here. And he is here in spirit. So I really, really embrace it. I really do appreciate all the tributes and all the things that people do to keep his spirit and memory and legacy alive. That's what it's all about. It's a beautiful thing."
Dimebag's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, who was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.
Vinnie and Anselmo's relationship got 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.
Anselmo performed the PANTERA classic "Walk" at the January 22 "Dimebash" event at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood, California in honor of Dimebag. As he left the stage, he made a Nazi-style salute. He appeared to say "white power" as he made the gesture, but he later claimed he was referring to drinking white wine as part of an "inside joke."