5 Guitarists & Drummers Who Make Sense for the Pantera Reunion

photos by Dominik Matus & Morten Jensen via Wikipedia & Wikimedia
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If you’re like us, you’re likely still reeling from yesterday’s absolutely wild news that Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown have plans for a Pantera reunion tour in 2023.

Now, the obvious question that’s on everyone’s minds is of course who the hell is going to attempt to fill the impossibly tall shoes of Dimebag and Vinnie? We spent some time thinking about it this morning, too. And sure, there are a ton of incredible shredders out there in the market. *Cough* Nita Strauss, is recently a free agent and is a monster on the axe.

But, if this tour is truly to be a tribute tour to Pantera’s legacy, it would make the most sense to find a drummer and guitarist who have real history with Pantera, via past tours and friendship. Chops and style alone (while obviously incredibly important here), shouldn’t be the only deciding factors.

So, without further ado, here’s a quick list of metal musicians who have the chops, the history, and have a friendship with Pantera, and who could be killer members of the reunion tour.

Who might play drums and guitar on the Pantera reunion tour?

John Tempesta (White Zombie, Testament, Exodus, etc.)

While currently playing with the not heavy (but still killer) band The Cult, John is of course most famous for being the drummer of White Zombie. Pantera and White Zombie’s friendship is well-documented, having toured together numerous times in 1992, 1994 and 1996. 

Johnny Kelly (Type O Negative, Quiet Riot, Danzig, etc.)

While currently pounding the skins for the legendary Quiet Riot, Johnny was the backbone of Type O Negative for their entire career. While his work in the often slower and brooding Type O might not make him an obvious choice, Kenny does have chops. He was buds with Pantera (and having toured together in the mid-90’s), could make a lot of sense.

Dave Lombardo (Slayer + every killer band ever)

Dave is frankly an obvious choice here. Chops for days and a life-long friend of the band. Not much else to say here other than Dave would absolutely smash this gig.

I mean, have you ever watched an “Angel of Death” drum cam? Say no more.

Charlie Benante (Anthrax, S.O.D.)

Anthrax and Pantera’s friendship was also well-documented throughout the years. The bands toured together in ’97 and ’98. Charlie’s love for the band as a fan is also quite obvious.

When Vinnie Paul first passed, this is what Charlie had to say about his close friend:

“It’s nights like these that make you think of all your friends and loved ones but especially the ones you don’t see anymore. Vinnie was the Glue In Pantera ( to me) , those motherfuckers retaught Me about Metal and most of you too! The numerous shots, the hugs, the finger snapping, the damn hotdog machine in his kitchen, All VINNIE! God dammit I’m fucking upset. I love you bro”

Dave McClain (Machine Head, Sacred Reich)

While Robb Flynn and Phil Anselmo are very publicly not friends these days, back in the late 90’s, Pantera and Machine Head were close buds and tour mates. Then-Machine Head drummer, Dave McClain, has some real chops behind the kit and could likely bring some fire on this Pantera tour.

Guitarists who could play on the Pantera Reunion tour

Dave Mustaine (Megadeth)

Would this every actually happen? Unlikely. But we can dream, right? Dave doesn’t seem like the kind of guy that could share the spotlight. That said, he clearly is a ripper and has a ton of history with Dime and Vinnie over the years. Besides Megadeth touring with Pantera in ’92, he actually once tried to recruit Dime to play for Megadeth, but Dime turned him down because he couldn’t take his brother Vinnie Paul with him.

Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains)

Is Jerry Cantrell considered a shredder? Not exactly. But the guy can clearly play, and he was one of Dimebag’s closest friends throughout the years. Their mutual admiration and respect for each other was often on display, and they often collaborated live, too:

Kerry King (Slayer)

Another obvious choice that would be incredible. Kerry doesn’t seem (at least publicly) tied down to a new band since Slayer’s demise. The friendship and history goes back literally decades, too. We recently shared the below footage of pre-Cowboys from Hell Pantera playing with Kerry live in ’89, so clearly Rex and Phil are very comfortable on stage with the metal guitar legend:

Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society, Ozzy, etc.)

Probably the most obvious artist on this list due to his long-standing friendship with Dimebag and the long-swirling rumors that if Pantera ever reunited, Zakk would be the only choice for guitar. While Rex Brown himself claimed last year that Zakk would not be a part of any reunion, rumors this morning now seem to suggest otherwise?

Scott Ian (Anthrax)

As mentioned above, Anthrax clearly have a long history of friendship with Pantera. Like many others on the list, Scott has also jammed live with the Cowboys from Hell before, too: