In December, Creed and Alter Bridge's Mark Tremonti made headlines when he relayed a story about Rex Brown proposing "a number of years ago" that he "put [his] name in the hat" as a possible guitarist for a hypothetical Pantera celebration tour. Now, producer Sterling Winfield — who worked on the metal giants' final studio album, Reinventing the Steel — has confirmed that other guitar players were indeed considered for the gig before Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society shredder Zakk Wylde landed the job.
Appearing on Reckless Rock Radio 89.3 KNON FM, Winfield said (as transcribed by Blabbermouth), "There was no doubt in my mind that [Anthrax's Charlie Benante] would be the one to take over for Vinnie [Paul]. [It was a] no-brainer — absolute no-brainer. Now, there were some other guitar folks that were brought up. I'll just say this — that it would not have been a good fit, and quite honestly, they would not have been able to pull it off. But it always kept circling back around to Zakk. And after a couple of times, it was, like, again another no-brainer. Because he knew Dime better than most any other guitar player on the planet knew him. Is it gonna be Dimebag Darrell's exact notes and riffs and everything? No. It's Zakk Wylde, you idiots. It's Zakk."
Winfield also weighed in on the controversy over whether the ongoing Pantera tour, which includes dates around the world throughout 2023, should be considered "a reunion." "It is not Pantera 2.0, at least not at this point," he said. "Whatever you wanna think, that's fine. Go ahead and make your assumptions. But it was the media that called this a reunion. It was the media that called this the reformation of Pantera — not them. They never put this out there as that. They put this strictly out there as a tribute to the brothers and for the fans and for the music and for the legacy of this music, to bring it to another generation of people."
He noted: "There's little kids out there wearing Pantera shirts, and it's amazing to watch, because, yes, since Dime got killed, there's a whole generation of people that have been born on this earth."
You can listen to the full interview below.