Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante thinks the Pantera tribute band could head to the studio next. Still, he accepts that a lineup that also includes Zakk Wylde, Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown has to get through a few dates on their upcoming tour before thinking too far ahead.

Their first show, announced as part of a celebration of late guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott and drummer Vinnie Paul, takes place Friday in Mexico. Pantera has also been confirmed as part of Metallica’s 2023-24 tour dates.

“I’m a nervous wreck, dude,” Benante tells BraveWords. “I may – not ‘I may,’ I will have a few shots before I go up there, just to fucking loosen up and take that edge off. I know those two are going to be watching me. So, I want this to go so great. I just want to be in the moment.”

He reported that rehearsals using a drumkit setup similar to Paul’s had been challenging but successful. “There’s some old Pantera crew members that are coming out with us,” Benante said. “To hear them say things to me like, ‘Dude, I close my eyes, and it sounds like Vince is up there’ – that was my goal. When someone said that to me … that’s what I wanted to hear. That made me feel really good.”

Benante adds that he was thrilled by the Metallica tour announcement, and he’s very eager to get going. “I wish it was happening tomorrow,” he admitted. “I wish it was not so far in advance – but, of course, I understand why. This was like a birthday gift!”

Asked about “a new Pantera song, EP, or maybe even an album” featuring the tribute lineup, Benante said: “Oh man … who knows? Creatively, if we are just flowing and getting going, and things are starting to be really good, musically speaking, you never know what could happen. I’ve got tons of riffs, but we’re putting the cart before the horse.

“I like the positivity there, but I don’t know how people would react to that either at this point,” he added. “I think first, let’s get out there and establish that we can play. I’m always open to the future.”

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