Pantera Engineer Says Zakk Wylde is the Perfect Fit: “There Is a Certain Personality, I Think, It Takes to Fill that Position”
When it comes to Pantera, it isn’t like there are a ton of options for guitarists who could fill in for the late Dimebag Darrell Abbott. Not only was Darrell an extremely-skilled guitar player, his attitude, appearance and general style became synonymous, for better or for worse, with what Pantera was. In a new interview with the Is Breakfast Included? podcast, Pantera engineer and bass tech Sterling Winfield discussed how long it took to make the reunion happen and why Zakk Wylde is the clear man for the job.
Speaking about the timeline (transcribed by Blabbermouth), he said:
“We’ve been talking about [doing this] probably for the last two years — something like that. It really started to take shape about two years ago on my end.”
Seeing is believing and Winfield says that he didn’t fully believe until he heard the current Pantera configuration of classic members Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown with Wylde and drummer Charlie Benante.
“Listen, I came in the door with my doubts — I had my doubts — but they were silenced. The production is off the hook. I personally think Phil is at peak performance; he’s singing better than I’ve heard him sing in years. They’re all in good shape. Rex is still doing his thing and in good shape. And they couldn’t have asked for two better people to fill those shoes. I know that they can’t be filled, but to jump in and take up that responsibility, which is pretty heavy, they could not have picked two better people than Charlie and Zakk. I walked out of there just dumbfounded. Seriously.”
When speaking to the podcast about Pantera selecting Wylde for the role, Winfield said that there weren’t auditions or anything like that, but that a few guitarists were considered. He addressed a claim that Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti was considered and said that ultimately, Wylde was selected because he has not only the skills, but the attitude.
“There were no auditions — I’ll put that out there — not that I know of. And there were just names tossed around, put in a hat. And I’m not gonna name names. Of course there were other people suggested; of course there were other people brought up. But Zakk, he’s the obvious choice. Him and Dime were like brothers; they were so close. And as one guy — I believe it was Mark Tremonti, who is an outstanding, one of my favorite guitar players — said that his name was tossed about. But that the reason he declined was because there is a certain personality, I think, it takes to fill that position or try to convey those things onstage. And he didn’t feel that he was the guy. And well, again, coming back to that obvious choice, he and Dime had very much alike personalities. So they really vibed together in that respect. And so, yeah, very obvious choice, perfect choice.”