This week, Pantera announced the first of their long-teased reformation shows, featuring surviving members Philip Anselmo and Rex Brown. In December, the group will be co-headlining Mexico's Hell & Heaven Fest and afterward they'll be playing at Knotfest Colombia, Knotfest Chile and Knotfest Brazil. Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante will be filling in for the late Abbott brothers, Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul.
The late Dimebag Darrell's guitar tech Grady Champion will also be joining the band on tour, running effects for Wylde to help capture Dimebag's classic tone. In an Instagram post, Champion emphasizes that he's not acting as Wylde's guitar tech, noting that "he has a bad ass, long-time one," but he'll still be involved in crafting his instrument's sound. He also notes that Dimebag's widow Rita Haney has given him access to some of the late guitarist's gear, which Wylde will be using at the upcoming shows.
"I started with Pantera and I will end with Pantera," Champion says in an Instagram post. "I didn't know the 'right' thing to think, to say, to do. When I saw the headline like everyone else, I threw up, sweaty palms, heart was freaking out, I had seen that headline 1000 times in my nightmares. After it sunk in and I spoke to everyone, I felt like I would be crazy to turn my nose up and say f that. I need to be involved IF I am needed, turns out I am needed, and i'm fkn doing it."
The upcoming shows are the first set of dates that Pantera have lined up in over 20 years, with their last set of shows taking place in 2001 in support of 2000's Reinventing the Steel. The group officially disbanded in 2003, only months before guitarist Dimebag Darrell was fatally shot in a nightclub while performing with his post-Pantera group, Damageplan. Founding drummer Vinnie Paul passed away in 2018.