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Producer STERLING WINFIELD Says PANTERA Considered Other Guitarists, Has Mixed Feelings About Potential New Material

"I would not feel comfortable calling it Pantera. I don't think that would be classy."

Sterling Winfield

It turns out Zakk Wylde wasn't the only person in the running to be Pantera's guitarist despite seeming like the only logical choice. We recently learned that Pantera bassist Rex Brown asked Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti to consider trying out a few years ago, and now longtime Pantera producer Sterling Winfield is pulling back the proverbial curtain a little more.

In an interview with KNON Radio, Winfield said Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante was a no-brainer to stand in for Vinnie Paul, but that there were other names beside Wylde out there. Winfield said he felt nobody else would've been as good a fit as Wylde, and here we are.

"There was no doubt in my mind that [Charlie Benante] would be the one to take over for Vinnie. [It was a] no-brainer — absolute no-brainer. Now, there were some other guitar folks that were brought up. I'll just say this — that it would not have been a good fit, and quite honestly, they would not have been able to pull it off.

"But it always kept circling back around to Zakk. And after a couple of times, it was, like, again another no-brainer. Because he knew Dime better than most any other guitar player on the planet knew him. Is it gonna be Dimebag Darrell's exact notes and riffs and everything? No. It's Zakk Wylde, you idiots. It's Zakk."

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'd be down for Pantera to record new music with their new lineup, he 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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