Enlarge Zakk Wylde by chascar, via Wikipedia.

Zakk Wylde Says “There’s Nothing I Can Do” About Canceled Pantera Shows


The saga that’s been the Pantera tribute experiment has been a fascinating one these last few months. First, it was a conversation about whether it was actually Pantera. Then the metal world waited with bated breath as it anticipated tour dates. Then finally, after they hit the stage in Mexico and South America, we learned that three European shows this August — including two major festivals — had canceled the tribute act because of Phil Anselmo’s past racist actions during a 2016 tribute to the late “Dimebag” Darrell Lance Abbott.

While speaking with Guitar World in a recent interview with himself, Scott Ian and Gary Holt regarding the ongoing Black Label Society, Anthrax, and Exodus tour, Zakk Wylde was asked about the cancellations. His response simply noted that he was there to do a job and learn Pantera songs to pay tribute to his fallen friend.

“There’s nothing I can do about that, you know what I mean? In terms of my role, it’s always a case of being ready for whatever – as in seeing if the fellas want to add any more songs or anything like that while we’re out rolling together on this tour.

“If I get a call from Phil or Rex and they want to change up the set or do whatever, I’m usually just in the back lounge working on more songs!”

Those cancellations were big news because not only is Pantera one of the bigger tickets of the year, with their own headlining tour and their supporting role for Metallica’s 72 Seasons tour in the coming months. The two cancellations in Germany and the one in Austria reopened a discussion about Phil Anselmo and the actions he’s taken in the past — and not just at the Dimebash — that suggest at least a sympathetic leaning toward white supremacist views.

While the interview in question didn’t touch on the controversy, it’s a little bit of a bummer to think that Wylde didn’t even address the backlash. Sure, he’s friends with the guys and he’s mostly just there to play guitar. And sure, Anselmo’s apologized multiple times over the years for his actions at the 2016 Dimebash. But that doesn’t mean Wylde couldn’t have easily defended Phil while still condemning racism as a whole, nor does it excuse the numerous examples in the past of Anselmo’s problematic comments and actions.

The rest of the interview is a good read, with all three guitarists taking a trip down memory lane about how they met, and more. You can check the whole thing out at Guitar World.

Just wish Zakk took the opportunity to at least try to clear the air a bit.

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