Why Richie Faulkner Thinks Zakk Wylde Is ‘The Only Guy’ To Fill Dimebag Darrell’s Shoes In Pantera

Over the past few months, several musicians – among countless other people – have weighed in on various aspects of Panther‘s reunion. Among the most prestigious are Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulknerwho recently defended Zak Wylde as “the only guy” who could have stood for the late guitarist Dimebag Darrell.

Talking to T Stone of the Sonic Boom radio program (to Real Rock 100.3 The Fox) last October, Faulkner had no qualms about fighting for Ozzy Osbourne/Black Label Society guitarist for the upcoming concerts. As transcribed by Blabbermouth:

I think there’s only one guy who 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 above all else. I mean, there’s tons of guys who can play that thing note for note for note, but I think the integrity that Zakk brings to it all because of his relationship with Dime, I don’t think there’s anyone else on the planet who can do the gig like Zakk can do it.

Regarding Wylde’s ability to perfectly imitate Darrell’s parts, Faulkner added, “I don’t think you have to play that thing note for note. I think it’s 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 all about. Anyone can learn sheet music from a page, but if you don’t have the passion and emotion, what do you have with that music? So Zakk is the guy. It would always be Zakk. It should always have been Zakk.

Interestingly, another person who was considered for the position was “a number of years ago”. Alter Bridge‘s Mark Tremonti. In particular, he recently confessed that Pantera bassist Rex Brown encouraged him to consider auditioning if there ever was a reunion. However, Tremonti was not on board with the idea because as he put it“You have to be a certain type of personality to take on that role.”

He also supported Wylde taking over from Darrell, noting: “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 going to turn Zakk Wylde off on stage, They may well 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 several performances earlier this month. For example, the new line-up’s first show (which took place at Mexico’s Hell & Heaven Metal Fest on December 2) received mostly positive reactions from fans about not just Wylde’s performance, but the whole band’s chemistry and authenticity.

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

Pantera’s first show with Zakk Wylde + Charlie Benante (December 2, 2022)

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

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