Down guitarist Pepper Keenan knows that he will have to focus on other projects for the duration of the long-awaited Pantera celebration tour, but he's happy that so many good friends are getting closure after years in limbo.
The Corrosion of Conformity frontman knows Pantera's Phil Anselmo and Rex Brown well from his time with them in Down. (Anselmo is a cofounder and continuing member of Down, while Brown was a member from 1999 - 2011.)
Keenan noted in a new interview with Brewtally Speaking that beyond support from the estates of late-Pantera guitarist 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott and late-drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, many of Pantera's longtime crew are also involved in the revival.
"I know the Pantera crew; I know everybody like the back of my hand. And Phil sings in Down," Keenan said. "On a selfish note, yeah, is it gonna put Down on the backburner for a year or two? Sure. Do they need to get this off their chest and get it out there? Yes. Do the kids need to hear this? Yes."
He continued, noting that among the longtime Pantera crew taking part in the new round of shows is Darrell's longtime guitar tech Grady Champion and the band's lighting tech Sonny Satterfield.
"It's gonna be a very cathartic thing," he said of the shows. "They've been really working hard at it. And those guys all deserve it."
While the Pantera celebration has been largely met with enthusiasm from fans, it has its share of critics, as well. They argue that Vinnie Paul had numerous chances to reunite with Anselmo and Brown before his death in 2018, but he refused each time over unresolved issues with his former bandmates.
Keenan says he believes Anselmo and Brown are doing what's best for the band, the crew, the fans and the families of Darrell and Vinnie Paul.
"I know internally they need to close the book," he said. "And they're gonna do it. And it's gonna be great. People need to hear that s--t, dude. I think they've got a good lineup and the way it's gonna work."
The band launched the first shows of the tour in Latin America last month. The collective gets back on the road in the spring, with plans to perform in Asia and Europe, before launching a North American tour in mid-July.