” Maybe it’s not on top of the charts, but we’re still standing strong. So we’ll be here forever. United and hard we stand. “
On this day, five years ago, Pantera/Damageplan guitarist and metal legend Dimebag Darryl was tragically shot down in the middle of a concert. Dimebag was one of the greatest metal guitarists of all time – with a sound and style completly his own. But more than that, he was a humble, fun-loving metalhead. He was one of us, and he is sorely missed.
Born August 20, 1966, Darryl Lance Abbot picked up the guitar at age 12. He went on to win a series of local music competitions. One of the prizes was a Dean ML guitar. This guitar and his Randall amplifier (another contest prize) became part of his signature sound.
Darryl and his brother Vinnie Paul formed Pantera in 1981. Back then, Pantera was a glam metal band (can you believe it?) but the thrash metal influence of Metallica, Slayer and Megadeth had rubbed off and by the late 80s Pantera had created their own signature sound – known affectionately as “groove” metal. They gained commercial success and critical acclaim for their 1990 album Cowboys from Hell, followed in 1992 by Vulgar Display of Power.
Pantera broke up in 2003, mainly due to tensions arising from Phil Anselmo’s drug habit. Not keen to give up metal, Vinnie and Dimebag formed Damageplan, with former Halford guitarist Pat Lachman on vocals, and Bob Zilla on bass. Damageplan released their debut album, New Found Power, in Feb 2004.
“When I tried to play something and screwed up, I’d hear some other note that would come into play. Then I started trying different things to find the beauty in it. “
Dimebag was shot onstage during a Damageplan concert at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. The shooter – Nathan Gale – also killed the band’s head of security, Jeff “Mayhem” Thompson, employee Erin Halk and audience member Nathan Bray, who was shot while trying to give Dimebag CPR.
Nathan Gale suffered from paranoid schitzophrenia and his personal writings reveal he believe the band could read him mind and steal his thoughts. Incidentally, December 8 also happens to be the day Mark David Chapman shot John Lennon.
Those who knew him remember a friendly and truly kind-hearted man, with a fierce love for metal, guitars, alcohol and friends . He had a tremendous respect for his fans, always taking time to hang out with them after shows.
Dimebag is buried alongside his mother at the Moore Memorial Garden Cemetery, in Arlington, Texas. He was buried in a Kiss Kasket, with Eddie Van Halen’s Charvel Hybrid VH2, also known as “bumblebee”. A Hammer truly fit for a metal god.
You can honour Dime’s memory by:
- Wearing a Pantera shirt to work
- Attending one of the many tribute shows, and banging your head off
- Making a Black Tooth Grin, the cocktail invented by Dimebag. One shot “Crown Royal Whisky”, a shot of Seagrams 7 whiskey (optional), and just enough Coke to darken the whiskey’s colour.
- Or create a , like Grill owner Bob Moseley.
“I start with a half pound of black angus chuck and grill it in whiskey, soaked in whiskey!” Moseley writes in an e-mail. “Then I grill sweet red onions in Coca-Cola to caramelize them. Topped with a thick slice of cheddar cheese, served with old fashioned crinkle cut fries with my own special seasoning.”
- Watching all your favorite Pantera videos. The Devil Music has a great selection, as does .
- Buying Pantera CDs for all your non-metal family and friends for Christmas. Grandma will love Vulgar Display of Power, trust me.
- Blasting Cemetery Gates at your local cemetery.
- Read about Sebastian Bach’s memeories of Dimebag. Especially the last paragraphs. If this doesn’t make you teary-eyed, you’re not human.
- Teach a child some guitar riffs. Dimebag felt this was important.
- Dedicate a song to Dimebag at your next concert.
- And, of course, listening to Pantera, Damageplan and Rebel Meets Rebel.
RIP, metal brother. Your legend lives on.
Horns up \m/