Over the past few months, numerous musicians – among countless other people – have weighed in on various aspects of Pantera’s reunion. Among the most prestigious is Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner, who recently defended Zakk Wylde as “the only guy” who could’ve stood in for late guitarist Dimebag Darrell.

Speaking to T Stone of the Sonic Boom radio show (on Real Rock 100.3 The Fox) this past October, Faulkner had no qualms about championing the Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society guitarist for the then-upcoming gigs. As transcribed by Blabbermouth:

I think there's only one guy that could have done that gig. He's the right guy for it. He's the only guy for it. The relationship he had with Dime over everything else. I mean, there's tons of guys that can play that stuff note for note for note, but I think the integrity that Zakk brings to that whole thing because of his relationship with Dime, I don't think there's anyone else on the planet that can do the gig like Zakk can do it.

Regarding Wylde’s ability to perfectly emulate Darrell’s parts, Faulkner added: “I don't think you need to play that stuff note for note. I think it's all about what comes from the heart.” He continued:

People are sure to disagree with me there, but that's just my opinion on it. Dime played from the heart. It was all about emotion and passion. And I think as long as you put emotion and passion into that music, that's what it's about. Anyone can learn notes off a page, but if you don't have the passion and the emotion, what have you got with that music? So, Zakk's the guy. It was always gonna be Zakk. It always should have been Zakk.

Interestingly, another person who was considered for the spot “a number of years ago” was Alter Bridge’s Mark Tremonti. In particular, he recently confessed that Pantera bassist Rex Brown encouraged him to consider auditioning should a reunion ever happen. However, Tremonti wasn’t into the idea because, as he put it, “You have to be a certain type of personality to take on that role.”

He also backed Wylde taking over for Darrell, remarking: “It’s not just about the playing, it’s very much the personality, and Dime had a huge presence. Put it this way, nobody’s gonna flip off Zakk Wylde onstage, they very well might do that to me, but there’s just no way I would put myself in that situation.”

To both Faulkner and Tremonti’s credit, Wylde undoubtedly proved himself during Pantera’s numerous performances earlier this month. For instance, the new line-up’s first show (which took place at Mexico’s Hell & Heaven Metal Fest on Dec. 2), received mostly positive reactions from fans regarding not only Wylde’s performance but the band’s entire chemistry and authenticity.

On that note, Pantera will resume touring in May of 2023. You can see the full list of upcoming dates – and purchase tickets – here. Likewise, Judas Priest’s rescheduled tour with Ozzy Osbourne will kick off next May, and you can grab your tickets here.

Pantera's First Show With Zakk Wylde + Charlie Benante (Dec. 2, 2022)

See photos of the first Pantera show since 2001, now featuring guitarist Zakk Wylde and drummer Charlie Benante alongside singer Philip Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown.

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