Cover Story - April 2019 - Penntera
Penntera – Pennsylvania’s Pantera Experience
Article & Photos by: Rachel Rocks
Cover Photo by: Meredith Kaminek Through Meredith's Eyes
Penntera is a Pantera tribute band hailing from South Central PA. They are doing everything in their power to keep the music of Pantera alive! You unfortunately can no longer see Pantera play live, but for the last 10 years Penntera has been doing their best to not only bring you all of your favorite Pantera music, they also make sure that every show is a true Pantera experience!
2019 marks ten years of entertainment for Penntera. They’ve undergone some member changes throughout the years, but their line-up now has by far the most energy with some of the most dynamic stage presence I’ve seen from any band in the area. Eric Dengler (Space) is still the main ring leader of the band behind the drum kit. 10 years ago, he saw the video for “Cemetery Gates” on VH1 Classic, and he knew that the world needed more Pantera, and from that moment Penntera was born.
At one point in 2015 Penntera lost their guitar player, and Space thought for sure that was the end, you can’t have Penntera without a “Dimebag.” He was talking to Pat Bowser about it, and Pat’s comment was, “Dude! We can’t let that happen..” There was a big show coming up in a month at Reverb that Space thought he was going to have to cancel, but Pat was determined to not let Penntera give up, so he locked himself in his bedroom and in one month he learned 9 Pantera songs, which is what they needed for the Reverb show, since then he just keeps adding and perfecting more songs and making “Dimebag” proud.
In 2017 Space was playing at Gettysburg Rocks and he saw the band Wrath of Typhon play. He was instantly hooked into Jason Robison’s voice. Then a few weeks later he saw him play at The Depot in York and he was literally swinging from the rafters! When the lead vocalist position came open, he knew exactly who he wanted to fill that spot. Space barely had to ask the question, and Jason was saying, “YES!” I strongly feel they should put up warning signs all around the stage for Jason’s “Jump Zone”. He will literally leap into the crowd during their shows, so make sure you are always paying attention!
Last but not least to join the line-up is Zack Arthur on bass. Zack and Pat have played together for 10 years in an original project called Xstrophy. When Zack heard that Penntera needed a new bass player he jumped at the opportunity. I’ve only seen this newest line-up a few times, but I am always amazed at the new energy and emotion pouring off the stage. All of the guys are having a blast and loving what they are doing and it shows. Penntera’s energy is so contagious that if you are in the room watching them, chances are you’ll be a sweaty mess by the end of their show, just like the band. You can’t help but head-bang, mosh, or just dance and sing along.
At first it wasn’t easy for Penntera to find venues that were willing to give them a chance, but they’ve developed quite a reputation, and now they play all over the place in New York, Virginia, and beyond. They often put on shows with other Tribute Bands and they have shared the stage with multiple times, such as Schism (Tool Tribute), Vatallica (Mataillica), Show No Mercy (Slayer) and Back In Black (AC/DC) just to name a few. On 4/20 they have a big Headbanger’s Ball show at Breakaway II in Hagerstown, Maryland, with Show No Mercy and Vatallica. I’m sure that show will be a headbangers dream come true! You can check out all of their upcoming shows in their ad in this issue.
Some people they definitely wanted to thank are all of the people who have bad things to say about Tribute Bands. Being in a tribute band is not easy, if anything it is even harder because you have a reputation to withhold. Every song they play they get a great response from the crowd so I think they are doing a pretty darn good job! When they were up in New York the sound guy came up to them and said, you guys are the only ones I’ve heard cover “Primal Concrete Sledge” and you killed it! Even though they love all of the songs they cover there are a few that are their top favorites; Jason loves that they are finally playing, “No Good, Attack the Radical” Zack and Pat both agreed that “Domination,” with the insane bass drop that almost instantaneously starts a mosh pit is pretty awesome too. Altogether they have about 25 Pantera songs that they mix around in their set-list, but there are still plenty more to learn, so their show is still growing and changing.
Another cool thing about the guys in Penntera is they all still currently play in original bands. Pat and Zack still play with their band Xstrophy, who is also going on their 10th year, Jason’s original band is Wrath of Typhon, and Space is always trying to get Scapegoat back on the stage. They would like to get a show together where all of the bands play together on the same bill. Everyone in this band has been playing music for years, and it shows. They work hard to make sure they are putting on a fantastic show every time.
As usual Penntera is very thankful for all of the support from their fans, friends, and family. Being in a band, especially for 10 years takes a lot of dedication and support! They all wanted to thank their beautiful wives, Angela, Kristen, and Rachel, and just their families overall. Space wanted to throw out a special thanks to Dale at Dale’s Drum Shop for always supporting him and especially this last time when his throne was in desperate need of repair. Pat wanted to thank Greg at BCR Music & Sound for all of his set-ups, helping his guitar sound as good as it possibly can. They all want to thank 101.5 Bob Rocks for always supporting them and giving them air time to help promote their shows. They of course also want to thank Pantera for making amazing music!
If you want to see where Penntera will be rocking next, check out their ad in this magazine every month, or you can also “Like” them and follow them at facebook.com/penntera. If you would like to get them booked at your venue or special event, give them a call at 717-701-0992.