"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott's longtime girlfriend says that she would "definitely" be in favor of Philip Anselmo, Rex Brown and Zakk Wylde embarking on a special tour celebrating the music of PANTERA.
Rita Haney discussed the possibility of the former PANTERA members and the OZZY OSBOURNE guitarist paying tribute to Dimebag and his brother Vinnie Paul Abbott while speaking to "The Blairing Out With Eric Blair Show" on the red carpet of the Ronnie James Dio 10th Memorial Awards Gala this past Thursday, February 20 at the Avalon in Los Angeles.
She said (see video below): "I don't think there could be a PANTERA reunion, but I think that his two remaining brothers, Rex and Philip, if they wanted to honor Darrell and Vinnie, as far as where I'm coming from and what I believe Darrell would believe — because he was the most forgiving person that I know — I believe that he would be honored. It's kind of a cliché to say, but he truly would be grateful that he meant that much to them. And I think if they wanna honor their fallen brothers with a tribute, I think that that's great. But as far as trying to say put PANTERA back together, PANTERA tribute, this and that, no — that's distasteful without those other guys. But I think as a tribute, it would be a really great thing. Because I know, from a fan's point, if I hadn't been able to see them play or hear those songs — the songs, they mean so much to me; I can imagine [they do to] other people as well. I think it's great that they can at least see it performed, and by people that truly love 'em. So, yeah, I think it would be a really cool thing."
When asked to clarify if she would "be okay with a tour," she responded: "I definitely would. I'd wanna be at every show. [Laughs]"
Last year, Anselmo told Chile's Humo Negro that he would consider getting together with Wylde and Brown and performing PANTERA's classic songs in concert. "Well, Zakk is a busy man," he said. "He does his own band, he does stuff with Ozzy and all that stuff. We spoke about it maybe one time. And I think everybody — everybody — is… I guess they're like me. Keep an open mind about it. We'll see. But I know from all the hard work with [Anselmo's] THE ILLEGALS [project] here to make those songs right, all of us, we would have to take time off and really practice together and get everything perfect. So it's a lot of work. And I'm doing a lot of bands, man, right now. [But] if everything was lined up, I would do it — sure. Fuck yeah! Why not?"
Zakk was also open to the idea, telling "The Cassius Morris Show" last October: "When Saint Vinnie was still around, they were talking about it then. I mean, the way I always looked at it is it's a PANTERA celebration and an honor. I mean, every night I'm playing with Ozz, we honor Saint Rhoads [late Ozzy guitarist Randy Rhoads]. I'm playing the Randy stuff every night, and I'm blessed and it's an honor to do it. Basically, we're paying tribute to Randy every night — keeping his music alive.
"If we got together and we ended up doing it, it would be like… I just look at it like if Eric Clapton went out and was with Mitch [Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix's drummer] and Noel [Redding, Hendrix's bass player] and singing and playing Jimi's songs, and he's honoring Jimi, 'cause that was his buddy.
"No one's replacing anybody. No one's replacing Randy Rhoads — he was a one-off. Just like no one's replacing Jimi Hendrix and no one's replacing Dime [late PANTERA guitarist 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott] — or Vinnie.
"If [LED] ZEPPELIN was going out, and if Jason's [Bonham] playing drums, no one's replacing his father. What they're doing is celebrating his father's greatness and what he achieved and all the mountains he conquered with ZEPPELIN.
"It's more of a tribute and a celebration than it is... You can't replace any of these people I'm talking about — they're all legendary guys. But, yeah, you're just celebrating all their achievements — that's all."
Talk about a possible PANTERA "reunion" intensified when Anselmo regularly joined Wylde's BLACK LABEL SOCIETY to perform PANTERA's song "I'm Broken" during DOWN's 2014 stint on the "Revolver Golden Gods Tour". That buzz only got stronger after Brown joined the jam on May 23, 2014 when the tour swung through Texas.
Up until his passing in June 2018, Vinnie remained on non-speaking terms with Anselmo, whom the drummer indirectly blamed for Dimebag's death.
Vinnie Paul and Dimebag co-founded PANTERA. When PANTERA broke up in 2003, they formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of PANTERA were stealing his thoughts.