Enlarge Charlie Benante via Wikimedia Commons

Charlie Benante Responds to Pantera Haters: “It’s So Disrespectful to Both Darrell and Vinnie”


The music scene can’t stop talking about the Pantera tribute (or reunion or cash grab, depending on who you ask) and neither can the band. While speaking to Eddie Trunk, Charlie Benante spoke about his first show as part of the current Pantera lineup configuration at Hell & Heaven on December 2 in Mexico (transcribed by Blabbermouth).

“Basically, we get up there and there’s a big kabuki curtain in front of us and the four of us just up there. And Philip came up to the drum riser and we just had this moment where we were shaking hands. We were so excited. And then I looked to Rex and I looked to Zakk, and the four of us just had this connection. And before I knew it — boom — we were right into playing ‘A New Level’. And it was off from that point. And I was looking at the setlist, and I saw the next song coming up, and I was excited about that song. And then that song would finish, and I looked down, and I’m, like, ‘Oh, I fucking love this song. Yeah!’ It was that all night for me — just getting super hyped up about the next song and what was coming up. So I enjoyed myself.

“One thing I spoke to those guys about months ago, I said, ‘Man, let’s just try and be in the moment and just enjoy it.’ And that’s what we all did — we just kind of enjoyed it.”

Benante placed a heavy emphasis on the fact that these shows are also about honoring the legacy of Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, who died in 2004 and 2018 respectively.

“Before ‘Planet Caravan’ starts, we have this video that runs with a little piece of the song ‘Cemetery Gates’, and it’s basically a tribute to Dime and Vinnie,” he explained. “I mean, Dime and Vinnie are all over the place. They are on my drum kit. Zakk has patches with them. But even in spirit, they’re there.

“Before we went on, Sterling Winfield, who was very close to Dime and Vinnie — he basically engineered the last three records that PANTERA did — he brought me a pair of Vinnie’s old gloves, and he brought me one of Darrell’s old wristbands that he wore,” Benante added. “And I put the wristband on and I played the show with that wristband. And I put the gloves in my pocket. So I had both of them with me that night.”

Like he’s said before, Benante would like to remind everyone that if they don’t like the idea of Pantera playing shows, they don’t have to come.

“This was never a reunion. How can it be a reunion without Vinnie and Dime here? Sometimes people will send me something, and I see things online, and it’s so disrespectful to both Darrell and Vinnie, and it’s totally disrespectful to us too. And it’s just, like, ‘Man, if you don’t wanna come, you don’t have to come.’

“One of the first things I said to Philip on the phone, I said, ‘This, to me, is more on an emotional level than any other level.’ This means a lot to me personally, to go out there and represent those guys and represent the Pantera name. And that’s all I’d ever want for me. I don’t care about it financially and stuff like that; this, to me, I had to do this. I didn’t wanna see anybody else playing these songs but me up there.”

You can watch the full set from Hell & Heaven below.

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