Pantera shows cancelled in wake of frontman’s 2016 Nazi salute

Phil Anselmo in 2019 (Getty Images)
Phil Anselmo in 2019 (Getty Images)

Three of Texas metal band Pantera’s forthcoming reunion shows have been cancelled this week, apparently due to controversy surrounding a 2016 incident where frontman Phil Anselmo made a Nazi salute.

The decision by promoters to cancel the shows was reportedly made due to “intensive conversations with artists, our partners [and] festival fans”, Consequencereports. Pantera have been dropped from the lineups of Germany’s Rock am Ring and Rock im Park festivals, while their scheduled performance at Vienna’s Gasometer venue has also been cancelled.

The Independent has contacted Pantera’s representatives for comment.

While no specific reason was given for the cancellations, Blabbermouthreports that the backlash appears to have stemmed in part from the German Green Party. At a recent city council meeting in Nurnberg, a spokeswoman called out Anselmo’s “repeated” use of Nazi slogans, and said it was irresponsible to book them for Rock am Ring and Rock im Park, twin festivals similar to Reading and Leeds in the UK.

In 2016, while performing at the annual Dimebash tribute to late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell, Anselmo ended the show by giving what appeared to be a Nazi salute and saying “white power.”

After criticism of the incident, Anselmo, who had been questioned over racist elements in his lyrics in the past, initially claimed he had been making a joke about the white wine served at the event, and told critics that “some of y’all need to thicken up your skin”.

He later issued an apology, saying: “I’m here to basically respond to all the heat I’ve been getting that I deserve completely.

“I was at the Dimebash, and it was extremely late at night. There was heavy-duty talk between myself and those who love Dime. And heavy emotions were flowing, jokes were made backstage that transpired upon the stage, and it was ugly. It was uncalled for.

“And anyone who knows me and my true nature knows that I don’t believe in any of that; I don’t want to be part of any group. I’m an individual, and I am a thousand percent apologetic to anyone that took offense to what I said because you should have taken offense to what I said.

“And I am so sorry, and I hope you just … man, give me another chance to … just give me another chance. I love all of you. And anyone who’s met me, anyone who knows me knows that I love all of you. Bless you.”