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Who Taught MADONNA How To Play Those PANTERA Riffs?

Back in 2008 during Madonna's Sticky and Sweet tour (you were totally there, don't lie), footage began surfacing of the female pop star rocking some serious Pantera riffs during her live show. of course this led to a few things:

  1. Angry Internet denizens.
  2. The idea that Madonna may be a Pantera fan.
  3. Someone Madonna knows and trusts may be a Pantera fan.

Both two and three were, and still are, of interest. Except now we know via an interview with Decibel Magazine that it's all Prong guitarist Monte Pittman's fault. Apparently when Pittman was doing his stint in Prong he met Dimebag Darrell who gave him the advice to "stay on top of that string" when it came to right-hand technique. Pittman eventually passed the advice down to Madonna who got pretty damn good at chugging away on the heavies. Then the idea of Drop-D tuning (tuning your lowest string, E, down to a D) came up:

"…at the same time, she had gotten a new musical director. He wanted to do her song 'Hung Up' with her playing guitar. But it’s in D minor. That would be a great segue to me showing her drop D tuning on the guitar. So I was showing her the song, and I was like, 'You know what, I gotta teach you some Pantera.' So I showed her the riff to 'A New Level' because I thought it would be easy to remember how the notes just move up chromatically, one at a time. She loved that. She kept playing that all the time.

When we were in band rehearsals doing 'Hung Up,' once we ended the song, she would start going into that Pantera riff. The rest of Madonna’s band, they’re not really familiar with that music, so they just started playing what she was playing. Every day in rehearsal when we would end that song, we would just start playing that riff. I thought, 'Oh that’s cool, that’s fun.'

But then all of a sudden, you would start to see, like, some runners bring water in to stock the refrigerator. And the tour manager just happens to walk in, doing something. All of these people just started showing up at rehearsals who are there working, but just kinda popping their head in the door, like, 'Hey I wanna see Madonna play that Pantera part again.'

And it stayed [and became part of the live show]. I was surprised that it stayed. Of course, I’m not gonna say no. When else am I gonna get to play Pantera on a stage in a stadium? But it stayed, and that’s where that story came from."

Check out the footage of the show filmed during a performance in Buenos Aires. The Pantera riffs kick in around 4:24.

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"I can probably pull it off. I got probably 80 percent of the set down already."