Members of BLACK SABBATH, DISTURBED, ALICE IN CHAINS, RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE, SUICIDAL TENDENCIES and MACHINE HEAD gathered this past Wednesday night (December 14) at the Key Club in Hollywood, California to help celebrate the life and music of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott (PANTERA, DAMAGEPLAN) as part of this year's Dimebash.
Two musicians that were conspicuously absent from this year's event were former PANTERA members Philip Anselmo and Vinnie Paul Abbott.
Anselmo was originally supposed to appear at last year's Dimebash but pulled out at the last minute after coming down with pneumonia.
When asked about Anselmo's non-appearance at this year's concert, Dimebag's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney — who organized the event — told Artisan News (see video below), "I think if we would have kept it on our original date, on [December 8], he would have been able to make it. Because Pepper [Keenan, Anselmo's DOWN bandmate] had obligations — they're doing a new DOWN record — and [Pepper] had obligations with [his participation in] the METALLICA [week-long 30th-anniversary celebrations in San Francisco]. So they were scheduled off through that time. But then when we had to move things, it's like, [Philip's] schedule, and doing… you know him — five projects at once… He sent the most apologetic letter; it was really, really cool, because it's the Philip I know. But he goes, 'Please don't count me out next year.' And like I said… I go, 'Hey, well, it could be three things. It could go either way. It could be, 'Third time's a charm,' or it could be 'Strike three, you're out.' So we'll see."
Haney recently called on Vinnie Paul Abbott and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, who was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.
Vinnie, who is Dimebag's brother, and Anselmo have not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag's death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer.
Haney spoke out about the long-running feud earlier in the year, saying, "Everybody still has resentment towards each other about things in the past. It's easy to direct your anger at the wrong people. Philip didn't murder Darrell and [he] would never have wanted that."
Haney added, "Yeah, I resent Philip for becoming a jackass and a drug addict, and I'm a little sketchy about trusting him all the way yet. But some of the things he's emailed and some of the thing he's said — that's the Philip I know, the 'stronger than all.' There's always room in my heart for him — I love him."
Haney admitted that Vinnie was not happy that she had been in touch with Anselmo, saying, "I just hope some day he sees the light that I know Darrell is about, which is forgiving. I know it'll come in time — you've got to let go to continue on."
When asked by Artisan News about Vinnie's apparent decision to sit out this year's Dimebash, Rita said, "I sent him [a message]… On December 8 [the seven-year anniversary of Dimebag's death], I wanted him to know I was thinking about him, that I love him no matter what, [whatever] issues that he has. But I haven't spoken to him in almost a year now. He doesn't… But you know what?! I don't give up. I still love him. I have no animosity. And I just hope that he comes and celebrates with us [at some point in the future]."
It was seven years ago today (December 8, 2004) that heavy metal lost one of its most influential and beloved figures to a crazed gunman.
"Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, a larger-than-life guitarist who first wielded his axe for Pantera, and later as a member of Damageplan, was murdered onstage on December 8, 2004, by a distraught fan, 25-year-old Nathan Gale.
Before a police officer brought the rampage to an end with a single shotgun blast to Gale's head, four people had been killed and three others wounded. Investigators speculated it was the disbanding of Pantera two years earlier that fueled Gale's shooting spree, but the world will never know for sure.
Dimebag's sudden death at age 38 — perhaps the most significant loss for the metal genre since Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads died in a 1982 plane crash — shook the tight-knit heavy-music community to its very core, and left everyone wondering how something so unthinkable could've happened.
MTV News spoke with members of some 30 hard rock and metal bands about the Dimebag they remember. They told us how much he'd meant to them, they shared fond memories and spoke of the impact he made on their lives and their music.
Many of those we spoke with knew the man behind the guitar hero — the genuine, amusing human being who was rarely spotted without his favorite drink, the "black tooth grin" — a splash of Coca-Cola and two shots of whiskey. They knew Dime offstage, away from the devil-horn salute that greeted him every time he strapped on a shredder. These were his friends — people who reveled in Dime's presence and relished his uplifting and roaring spirit. They remember him as the epitome of a good time — a man who lived the rock-and-roll lifestyle to the hilt. But much more than that, they said, he was a man who always wanted to be around his comrades and douse them with gifts.
David Draiman - frontman, Disturbed: "During our second Ozzfest, we were holed up in Dallas for about two or three days ... hanging out at Dime's place — it was an eclectic house. There's all kinds of Pantera memorabilia and Dimebag memorabilia all over the place. But you could never make the mistake of falling asleep at Dime's. He'd wake you up the way he always did: with firecrackers. He'd always set off an entire chain of firecrackers not two inches from my head. One time ... Dime took us to a strip club where we all judged a bikini contest. There was never a wrong time in the day for Dime to hit a strip club. ... Dime was just this character who was very easy to love. He didn't have a bad bone in his body, and was ready to give you the shirt off his back at all times. It was his mission in life to make sure every single moment you spent with him was the best moment of your life. He was selfless."
Zakk Wylde - frontman, Zakk Wylde's Black Label Society: "Whenever you were around Dime, there was never a boring moment. He was the coolest guy on the planet. He was an even better person than he was a guitar player, if that's even possible. Whenever me and him would hook up, forget about it, bro. We'd always have to have a spare kidney, liver and pancreas on ice."
Chad Kroeger - frontman, Nickelback: "The last time I saw Dime, we were on tour in Dallas. He jumped up on our bus and he'd brought me this little tiny miniature guitar. It almost looked like a ukulele. He goes, 'I brought you something.' And I hate when someone gives me a present and I don't have something to give them back. So, that night, we were both getting pretty sloppy, and I go in the back and I grab my favorite leather jacket. I come out and give it to him and he throws it on. I'm like, 'There you go. What do you think?' We were both ecstatic, and I gave him a big old hug. We jumped back into his Escalade, and we're sitting there, talking for a bit. We were passing this bottle of Jack Daniel's back and forth. ... I tell him I love him and to be careful, and he tells me he loves me and to be careful. I gave him a big old hug and went back to my bus. ... That was the last time I saw him, and that's what I'll always remember when I think of Dime. I miss him a lot."
Richard Patrick - frontman, Army of Anyone (formerly of Filter): "My fondest memory of Dimebag was his hospitality. He was the sweetest guy in the world. A fun-loving dude who was so complimentary to other musicians. ... It was always great to be around that."
Brian Fair - frontman, Shadows Fall: "Dime seemed to have a real problem with the clock on our tour bus. It all started with his tour manager trying to tell him it was time to leave. ... We were having a good old time and Dime didn't want to go to bed. So, as soon as he was told it was time to leave, he grabbed the clock off of the wall and screams at the top of his lungs, 'There is no time!' and he smashed his hand right through it. The clock was made of glass and metal, and shrapnel flew everywhere. He went through three clocks on our bus like that. Anytime anyone tried to tell him it was time to go, he'd destroy the clock. He didn't want to end the party — he wanted it to keep going. We kept replacing the clock because we wanted to see what happened next."
Dave Chavarri - drummer, Ill Niño: "His aura, his vibe — it was amazing. He had this cool, serene party attitude where he wanted to have a good time with his friends, and he was just a very loving guy. His whole attitude about just hanging out with new people, he was always polite and accepting of fans. Always signed sh-- for fans, no problem. He was a cool dude."
Robert Flynn - frontman, Machine Head: "We toured with Pantera and we'd played in Kalamazoo. It's the night before Detroit, which is the biggest show on the tour — sold-out gig in a 12,000-seater — and Dime decides that he's going to get wasted. He's running around backstage, and he's carrying two gallons of Seagram's 7. I didn't want to get all f---ed up for this show, so I hid on our bus. I wake up at 5:30 in the morning to go to the bathroom and I glance out the window: Dime's still awake. He's stripped down to his boxers and his shoes and he's got Rayna [Foss] of Coal Chamber with him. He's standing on this car, doing back-flips onto the car's roof. He keeps doing this over and over and over, and I just watched him for like 10 minutes. The next day, I wake up and ... find out he never went to bed. So I figured Pantera's set was going to be a catastrophe that night. We all went up to watch Coal Chamber's set and Darrell's on the side of the stage. I see him grab my guitar, and he starts air-guitaring with Coal Chamber during one of their songs. They're nervously laughing and don't know what to do. I thought it was all pretty cool until he smashed my guitar down on the stage; he shattered the neck. So after our set, we watched Pantera, and we're thinking the whole time it's going to be a train wreck. I mean, Dime couldn't even talk backstage. But he went out there, in front of 12,000 people, and played a flawless set. He just wasn't human, man. The next morning, I walked up to him, and I'm like, 'You remember what you did to my guitar last night?' 'Refresh my memory, dude.' 'You broke my neck in half.' He's like, 'I'll take care of you, man.' His tour manager comes out, gives me two times what it will cost me to repair the neck. A week later, we're onstage in Chicago and he'd just gotten his endorsement with Washburn. He comes out onstage and brings both Logan [Mader] and I brand-new, top-of-the-line Dimebag 333 Dimebolt signature series guitars, worth $2,500 each. He whispers into my ear, 'Sorry 'bout the neck.' I was blown away."
What Could Have Been
While Dimebag's fans will never again hear a fresh batch of punishing thrash riffs or brutal headbanging licks from the billy-goat-bearded guitar titan, a dozen tracks from Rebel Meets Rebel — a countrified metal-rock hybrid consisting of Dime; his brother and lifelong musical compatriot, drummer Vinnie Paul; Pantera bassist Rex Brown; and country singer David Allan Coe — will hit stores in 2006 through Paul's Big Vin Records. Two months ago, a 24-second guitar lead (assembled from outtakes left over from the Vulgar Display of Power and Far Beyond Driven sessions) showed up on Nickelback's All the Right Reasons as the intro to the Dime-inspired track "Side of a Bullet." But beyond that, just how much posthumous material is out there, and whether any of it will ever see the light of day, remains something of a mystery.
Reginald "Fieldy" Arvizu - bassist, Korn: "I went to their house and it was right before he passed away, actually. And we threw a jam with him and Vinnie in their little jam room in Vinnie's house, and we threw a big redneck barbecue. We jammed for like five hours. It was a bunch of cool riffs, but I don't know if they recorded it. They had boards there, so they must have."
Kerry King - frontman, Slayer: "One thing we were going to do — me and Dime and I think Vince was going to play drums — we were going to do this tune together. They were going in to record the Damageplan record, and I said, 'Dime, there's a song we need to do. I've always dug this song, and it always makes me think of you. I think we need to do it.' It was 'Snortin' Whiskey, Drinkin' Cocaine' by Pat Travers. We were all geared up to do it. He's like, 'Well, you know, they're busting my balls for press for the new record.' And I said, 'Well, what are we rushing for, dude? We've got all the time in the world.' And then something like that happens, and the harsh reality is, we could have done it then. It probably wouldn't have been as good as it could have been, but at least it would have been done, 'cause now it'll never get done. Maybe me and Zakk will do it and dedicate it to Dime."
Mark Hunter - frontman, Chimaira: "When we were recording 2003's The Impossibility of Reason, our producer was Damageplan's manager, and Dime told him to tell us to send him some tracks because he wanted to do lead over them. Unfortunately, we declined, and now we're kicking ourselves in the ass. We didn't want any guests and we wanted to establish ourselves as a young band and make our mark."
The Metal Mentor
Those who knew him best say Dimebag's character was a stark contrast to the bone-crushing brutality of his guitar prowess: His was a warm, inviting soul. The guitarist wasn't pretentious in the slightest, despite his success, intimidating presence and metal renown. He took everyone on equal terms, and welcomed those he met into his world without reservation, as if they'd always been part of it. There was much to be learned from Dimebag, who'd traversed the globe and performed for millions but never let it go to his head. To Dime, everyone was a friend, and he was always offering advice and encouragement to the still-developing metallers his thrashing was so instrumental in motivating.
Doc Coyle - guitarist, God Forbid: "We were fortunate enough to meet him right when we did our Gone Forever album, which we were recording during the summer of 2003, and we were doing the mastering sessions in New York. Damageplan just happened to be recording there at the same time. We were taking a lunch break and eating pizza and Dimebag just shows up and goes, 'Hey, man. What's up, guys? I heard there was some heavy metal kicking in down here. Thought I'd come by.' We were stunned. He came in and he listens to a song, and at the end it had a total Pantera rip-off. And he caught it. He was like, 'Hell yeah, man — "Domination," man.' We're like, 'Yeah, we're stealing your riffs.' And he said, 'No, man — not stealing riffs, we're sharing riffs.' ... The whole metal scene owes a big debt to Dime and Pantera. There hasn't been a band like them since. In metal, you had Metallica and you had Pantera."
Ken Susi - guitarist, Unearth: "On the Headbangers Ball 2 Tour, I wandered into the Damageplan dressing room ... [and] Darrell grabbed me and sat me down. He handed me a bottle of Crown Royal and said, 'Gityerpull, son,' and we sat there and talked about life. I asked him a ton of questions about Pantera and everything else going on at the time. I never met a more positive dude with a great outlook on life. That talk made me a better musician and a better person."
Dez Fafara - frontman, DevilDriver (formerly of Coal Chamber): "The first time [Coal Chamber] ever toured with them, we got on our tour bus and it was covered in Pantera posters. And in each one of our bunks was all their merchandise, for all of us, and a big greeting card from Dime that said, 'Welcome to the tour. Can't wait to hang out.' That was the ultimate for me. That was a real gesture, and I've never experienced a gesture like that in 10 years from another band."
Brian Fair - frontman, Shadows Fall: "He told me once that 'as soon as you ain't smiling and you ain't got a drink in your hand, it ain't a rock and roll show.' The only reason he ever picked up a guitar was to have a good time. A lot of people forget that after a while, because it's easy to get caught up in the bullsh--. But when we toured with Damageplan, at that point in his life, he didn't need to be on the road to make money. He just couldn't stay at home. He wanted to be out with his brother and his boys, rocking onstage every night for the kids that came to support him. That's all that mattered to him. They were probably losing money on that tour, but he didn't care. It inspired me to see someone who had been there and back, still loving every minute of it and doing it for the sheer joy of it. If that doesn't inspire you to go out and kick as much ass as possible, I don't know what will."
Joe Altier - frontman, Brand New Sin: "In July of 2002, we were playing Dallas with Fu Manchu, and I noticed while we were playing — there were maybe 100 people there — Dime, Vinnie and [Damageplan bodyguard Jeff 'Mayhem' Thompson, who was also one of Gale's victims]. ... It was kind of freaking me out that these guys were there, watching the show. We went in the back room afterward and we were just chilling out and all of a sudden Dime walks in and goes, 'Hey, man, Brand New Sin — what's going on? That was a great set.' And then he goes, 'My name's Darrell.' I'm looking at him, and I go, 'Like I don't know who you are, man!' And he goes, 'Well, I'm a Texas man. I like to introduce myself.' He was so down-to-earth. Then he took us to a bar and after about 30 black tooth grins, it got real fuzzy. That's always going to be my best memory of Dime."
Mark Hunter - frontman, Chimaira: "We were on Ozzfest in 2003, and Dime and Vinnie came by the show in Alpine Valley, Wisconsin. ... I heard this rumor that they were going to do 'Walk' with Disturbed, so I hung around to check that out. It was pretty badass to just watch that, and then Dime signals over to me and some of the other guys standing along the side of the stage to get out there and start singing. I remember going out and seeing a good 30,000 people and playing 'Walk,' standing right next to Dime, singing along with him. It was the stuff dreams are made of. That was the kind of dude he was. 'Get up here, I don't care. We're not doing anything special.' Right after that, we were hanging out with him, and I remember telling him that one of my friends back in Ohio was his biggest fan. He was like, 'Call him up.' I called my buddy and Dime just grabs the phone from me and starts talking to my friend who he doesn't know, has never met. He was just excited to talk to a fan, and that was inspiring to me.
Dime's Lasting Legacy
Abbott's guitar-punishing riffs influenced scores of rockers, and many argue that his crunchy, bluesy riffs were more instrumental in molding today's metal sound than the work of his contemporaries in Slayer and Metallica. It was Dime's fast and precise shreds, his in-your-face approach and whammy bar abuse that roused metal's newest class. And while Dime may be gone physically, his impact and his legacy endure. As Zakk Wylde put it, "Dime will never die as long as there are kids who keep picking up guitars."
Howard Jones - frontman, Killswitch Engage: "He was just a good guy, and he created some songs and some albums that were instrumental in inspiring me and the rest of this band. Vulgar Display was an album that changed me, in a lot of ways. He was a huge part of my life, whether he knew it or not."
Wes Borland - guitarist, Limp Bizkit and Black Light Burns: "He was a big influence for me. He showed up at a Limp Bizkit show once. ... I was like, 'Oh my God,' because he was a hero to me, like he was for a lot of other people who've played any form of heavy guitar. ... He stood in front of me for like three or four songs and looked at me only, and it was really kind of flattering and bizarre and I didn't even get to see him after the show. It was crazy. It was totally intimidating, but I kind of fed off it too. I had been to so many Pantera shows, I was like, 'Let me give something back and put on a show for this guy.' "
Matt Heafy - frontman, Trivium: "When I was a freshman in high school I'd just joined Trivium and I was riding in the back of our drummer Travis [Smith's] Dodge Dynasty. ... He pops on Official Live: 101 Proof and he's like, 'You've never heard Pantera before, have you?' And I was like, 'No, but I've heard of the name.' So he blasts it, super-f---ing loud. I just remember hearing the most insane guitar riffs ever. I'd never heard anyone play the guitar like this — really screaming, insane, technical shreds, but at the same time having a lot of feel to it. The heaviest, chugging riffs — just really violent and heavy sounding. From then on, I learned so many different guitar exercises from his Guitar World columns. I first learned how to do artificial harmonics — squeal harmonics — from his column. I learned a lot about guitar from Dime."
Jordan Mancino - drummer, As I Lay Dying: "Two or three weeks before his death, we were on tour with Shadows Fall and I saw him play. I've been a Pantera fan forever, but I had never gotten the chance to see him, so this was the first time I was going to get to see him play live. Growing up, listening to them, it was quite an experience for me. Just watching him play, and the fire in his eyes that he still had for his music and his fans, how passionate he was when he was playing — you could tell he loved what he was doing. Obviously, Damageplan wasn't nearly as big as Pantera, but it didn't matter to him. He just wanted to play metal and tour. You could see it in his performance and the way he was onstage. To me, that was a very inspiring thing."
Joel Stroetzel - guitarist, Killswitch Engage: "We were at the Metal Hammer Awards in London, where Dime won the award for best guitarist and threw it into the audience. I was walking by and I see Dimebag and [Mötley Crüe's] Nikki Sixx sitting on a couch together. Dime yells over to our other guitar player, Adam [Dutkiewicz], and says, 'Hey, you. Get over here.' So we walk over and he tells Adam, 'I haven't seen someone who's as big an a--hole as you since Gene Simmons.' Then he hands Adam his bottle of Jack Daniel's. Onstage, Adam's just a nutcase — always jumping around and dancing, wearing short shorts and capes. He's a lunatic and Dime called him on it. It was pretty funny. ... I learned to play guitar from old Metallica, Megadeth, Testament and Pantera riffs. I wouldn't be playing this style of music if it weren't for him."
Dave Chavarri - drummer, Ill Niño: "That dude's guitar tone was amazing. All the bands I have played with, they're always trying to attain that guitar tone. People were always like, 'I hear he uses a Randall, and he also uses an Ibanez Tube Screamer.' It was amazing to see a guy hit the scene and his guitar tone was so incredibly brutal. Everyone tried to attain his tone, and even called engineers Pantera worked with to try and learn his secrets. It was a formula for brutality. It was like trying to learn a magician's tricks. He had his own tone and his own f---ing attitude that was just Dimebag 150 percent."
James "Munky" Shaffer - guitarist, Korn: "Dimebag's influential guitar work on Vulgar Display of Power helped bridge thrash metal to nü-metal. I will never forget the impact. ... It inspired me as a guitar player."
Former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott will stop by ESPN tomorrow (Tuesday, November 29) at 3:00 p.m. ET to take your questions about Alice In Chains & Friends Fantasy Football Charity League, which features some of rock music's biggest stars, his music career and just about anything else you may want to ask.
Each member of the charity league has put up a valuable piece of memorabilia to be auctioned off with the money going toward the league champion's charity of choice. Paul is playing for Little Kids Rock, a non-profit organization dedicated to restoring music education in disadvantaged public schools.
Submit your questions for Vinnie Paul now at this location.
As previously reported, HELLYEAH has tapped Jeremy Parker (GODSMACK, EVANESCENCE) to mix the band's third album for an early 2012 release. The CD was recorded at Abbott's home in Arlington, Texas, where he has a studio set up.