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CHARLIE BENANTE Has Never Felt More Judged Than He Does Drumming With PANTERA

"I don't think I've ever been so judged in my life by people. And I don't understand. People can be really rotten."

Benante Walk

With Pantera playing shows again means constant criticism of its non-classic members. As everyone knows by now, the late and great guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul are being filled in for by Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde and Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante. There's been plenty of criticism about Wylde not being Dimebag (and who is, really?), and of course the same goes for Benante.

In an interview with Knotfest, Benante said he's never felt more judged in his life for his drumming than he does with Pantera. Benante rightfully points out that the criticism would be warranted if he wasn't doing a good job, but states "I did my homework" on how to best emulate Paul.

"There's one thing I noticed and it still makes me scratch my head. I don't think I've ever been so judged in my life by people. And I don't understand. People can be really rotten. I don't think they have the ears or the eyes that most people do, and they're so judgmental about it. It's like, man, let it go. You know what I mean? Don't personally attack me or Zakk for something that you have inside of you. You have a problem with something. And it's like you gotta find some way that is somewhat…"

"I've been doing this for over 40 years. Don't fucking judge me. If I didn't do my homework, then fucking judge me. But I did my homework. And if something is off somewhere, is that the thing that you pick on? You don't pick on the 95 percent of the other stuff where pretty much I tried to stay as accurate as possible?"

Benante also compared his new position with Pantera to Exodus guitarist Gary Holt filling in with Slayer after the passing of Jeff Hannemann.

"I felt Gary adapted so well. And more importantly, fans accepted him. Because he was Gary Holt. And it's fun to replace a member in a band that's been so established and people grew to love. And there's a certain style that goes with it. It's tough on the person coming in, of course, because you have to ask, 'Am I going to be accepted? Am I hitting these things right? How much of myself do I throw into this?' So it's a little bit of a struggle.

"You either have to go full-on, or you don't. I think Gary played a lot of Jeff's stuff like Jeff, but he also had Gary in there too. And for me doing the Vinnie thing, I'm trying to do it as close to Vinnie as possible, because that is so much of that Pantera sound. The aggressiveness of those drums, the way they're tuned: they cut through the rest of the instruments in the band."

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