During a recent interview with Ant May of PlanetMosh, former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott was once again asked about the possibility of a hypothetical PANTERA reunion featuring Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) filling in for the late "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott on guitar.
"It's been answered a million times, and I'll answer it again," Vinnie said (hear audio below). "Without Dimebag Darrell, there is no reunion. And that's all there is to it. We were a very influential band, and we touched millions and millions of people with that band, but it's over. People really have to come to grips with that, and that's all there is to it. If all of us were still here, then the possibility would truly be there, but since it's not, you know… It's selfish of the fans to want something that they can't have. And they don't ever understand that, and I get it. There's things I want in this world too. You know, people in fucking hell want ice water, but they're not gonna get it. So… Anyways, I'm glad that the people who have decided to follow me in HELLYEAH do, and hopefully more of them will. And the ones that wanna live in the past are gonna live in the past."
Vinnie was similarly dismissive about the prospect of a PANTERA reunion when he spoke to Germany's EMP Rock Invasion earlier in the year. He said: "It's unfortunate that people go, 'Oh, wow, man, they can get Zakk Wylde to jump up there on stage and it's PANTERA again.' No, it's not, you know. It's not that simple. If Eddie Van Halen was to get shot in the head four times next week, would everybody be going, 'Hey, man, Zakk, go play for VAN HALEN. Just call it VAN HALEN.' You see what I'm saying? I mean, it's really selfish for people to think that, and it's stupid. It's not right at all."
He continued: "They call it a reunion for a reason. It's called bringing the original members back to what it was. So there's a lot of these things that they call reunions that aren't really reunions. They've got one dude from the band floating around in them, you know. That's not a true reunion. With PANTERA, it'll never be possible."
Asked if he ever feels pressure with HELLYEAH to live up to the immense legacy of PANTERA, Vinnie said: "Never, because it's a different band. If you played for a soccer team and you get traded to another soccer team, you're gonna kick ass for that soccer team just like you did the other one. You may not achieve the same goals, or you may achieve higher goals; you never know. But that's what happens when you change teams and do different things."
Dimebag's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and former PANTERA singer Philip Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, who was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.
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.
Haney told 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.