Charlie Benante has special keepsakes with him every time he plays a Pantera concert.

The drummer – who made his name in the band Anthrax – joined Pantera for their return to touring, replacing Vinnie Paul who died in 2018. Like Zakk Wylde – who is filling the shoes of deceased guitarist Dimebag Darrell – Benante was close with the departed rockers and takes his role very seriously.

At Benante’s first concert with Pantera, producer Sterling Winfield, who worked with the band on several albums, presented the drummer with a pair of items.

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“Sterling came to the show and he brought me two things: He brought me a pair of Vinnie’s gloves," Benante recalled during an appearance on the Vinyl Guide podcast. "Used gloves. It even had blood on it from Vinnie, from his blisters and beat-up hands. And he brought me Darrell’s headband.”

Touched by the gifts, Benante made sure to take both items with him onstage.

“I put Vinnie’s glove in my pocket and I put Darrell’s headband around my leg,” the drummer explained. It’s a ritual he’s kept up ever since.

“Every night I play with those,” Benenate continued. “It’s like baseball players wearing the same thing. Maybe it’s a bit of a superstition. But for me, it’s something I do for every show, just to have them there.”

‘We Don’t Call It a Reunion’

Elsewhere in the interview, Benante recalled how he was recruited for the Pantera gig.

Philip [Anselmo] called me to discuss it – what he was thinking, what my vibe on it was,” the drummer noted. “I immediately said yes. Yes, I want to do this. The time was right.”

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“I think it’s one of those opportunities to A) Honor your friends B) Play some songs that you love, and C) Give the audience a chance to hear these songs in this environment again, some who have never seen Pantera before," Benante explained.

“And yes, I know this isn’t the original Pantera. I’d have to be a fucking idiot to not know that.” To that end, the drummer noted the best way to describe the band: “We don’t call it a reunion. We call it a celebration."

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Gallery Credit: Eduardo Rivadavia