Zakk Wylde Recounts Learning Pantera Songs: “The Playing Is Rooted in Precision”


Standing in for late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell is a big task but Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde just treats it like a gig. In a new interview with Guitar World, Wylde talked about his memories of Darrell and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul, and the things that made Pantera stand out from other bands.

“If you’re talking about the sound of Pantera, a lot of that comes because of Dime’s love for Eddie [Van Halen] and Randy [Rhoads]. The playing is rooted in precision. It’s not sloppy. When you listen to punk, it’s all about aggression. You’re not worried about it being super-tight or musically complicated. You just want the aggression, and the slop that’s there is part of the flavor. But with Pantera, between Vinnie’s drumming and Rex’s tight basslines, along with Dime’s incredible playing, which is also so tight, the band is just a fine-tuned precision instrument.”

Wylde also told the interviewer that the highlight of the tour was simply being able to spread the gospel of Pantera.

“Just keeping them alive and paying tribute to Dime and Vinnie and Pantera. I just look at it this way. I [imagine] Dime and Vinnie are with us and we’re at the House of Blues, and we say, ‘Wait ’til you see this early birthday present we got you guys.’ And they’re figuring it’s gonna be the ultimate Kiss tribute band because they love Kiss. 

“The curtain opens up, and it’s me and Charlie playing their stuff with Rex and Phil! They’d be going, ‘I can’t believe what I’m seeing right now!’ They’d be on the floor crying, laughing, high-fiving each other, going, ‘This is hilarious. The guys actually took the time to learn our stuff.’ I know they’d be having the best time. And I can just hear Dime saying, ‘Holy shit, Zakk bought a Whammy pedal for this!’”

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