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Producer STERLING WINFIELD On PANTERA Fans Complaining About ZAKK WYLDE: "It Blows My Mind That People Are That Picky"

"Of course it doesn't sound like Dime. It's Zakk."

Sterling Winfield

Pantera shocked the metal world in July 2022 when they announced vocalist Phil Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown would get together with then-two-unknown musicians for a handful of reunion shows. Pantera has since announced shows around the world extending into 2024, including a massive tour with Metallica.

So how long has the band been keeping their reunion a secret? According to longtime Pantera producer Sterling Winfield in an interview with the Is Breakfast Included? podcast, it's been a while. "We've been talking about [doing this] probably for the last two years — something like that," said Winfield. "It really started to take shape about two years ago on my end." Which means if it started taking shape on Winfield's end two years ago, talks had very likely begun even before that.

Winfield also said he has his doubts upon hearing about the shows, but was "blown away" when he saw the band rehearse with Black Label Society guitarist Zakk Wylde and Anthrax 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."

As for people complaining about Zakk Wylde not playing exactly like Dimebag Darrell (and really, who can?), Winfield responded "People keep bitching about, 'It doesn't sound like Dime.' Of course it doesn't sound like Dime. It's Zakk. It blows my mind that people are that picky. But whatever… Instead of picking it apart, listen to the song, man. Don't just listen to Zakk, okay?"

Winfield worked on the mix for Pantera's 1994 album Far Beyond Driven, was part of the recording for 1996's The Great Southern Trendkill, and co-produced and engineered 2000's Reinventing the Steel. Winfield also worked on the post-Pantera projects Hellyeah and Damageplan.

When asked if he's be down for Pantera to record new music with their new lineup in a previous interview, Winfield said "It's not unheard of, it's not blasphemous. I will say that it is entirely plausible, it is entirely possible, but at this point in time, I don't know that anybody's looking that far down the road. They've got a world tour to tackle, man, for the next two years, and they are gonna be busy doing that. Now, could it happen? Yes."

"It depends, man. Again, it has to be done right, like this whole thing; the whole tour that's happening has to be done properly," he added later. "And I don't really feel comfortable — if it were to happen, I would not feel comfortable calling it Pantera. I don't think that would be classy. I'll put it that way. And I'll just leave it at that for now. [But] this lineup could make some very badass music. And the music is all that matters."

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