Today marked the 7 year anniversary of the death of one of metals greatest guitarists, Dimebag Darrell Abbott. During a concert at the Al Rosa Villa in Colombus, OH with then band Damageplan, a crazed “fan” jumped on stage and starting shooting, aiming for the ex-Pantera members Dimebag Darrell and his brother and drummer Vinnie Paul. This would be the last time the two would be able to share the stage as bandmates and brothers.
I was in college in December of 2004, and I woke for one my early classes. As I was ready to go, I grabbed my phone and noticed text. It was from my best friends brother, Bret, who told me Dimebag Darrell had been shot and killed on stage. Doubt was my first reaction, and the worry. I jumped online, found it to be true, and told roommate Adam, Bret’s brother. We went to campus, but I couldn’t go to class. I skipped out, and went home and just put on Pantera records. I will never forget the day I found out.
I just want to give some personal insight on what Pantera and Dimebag meant to me throughout out my life in an attempt to honor the legacy that Dime is survived by.
My first Pantera interaction was on my middle school bus, in a town in which I was brand new. Being new, I wasn’t the most popular, especially entering a new town in 8th grade when cliques had already been formed. The only group that accepted me were the metalheads, the punks, the goths, the openminded. These were the people who would see me for who I was and being in a similar situation themselves, I was welcomed to be part of their crew. Bill Clark, one of my dearest and best friends to this day, was the very first to introduce me to Pantera. On one bus ride home, he handed me his headphones and portable CD player and said,”Here, check this out. The song’s Cemetery Gates, the band is Pantera”. I was into rock and roll at the time, and was just getting into guitar, so I was obviously drawn to what I was taking in. I had never heard anything like what was coming through the headphones, and I had NEVER heard anyone play guitar like that! I was blown away, and my adoration for Dimebag Darrell was born.
As I grew up, my interest in music became more and more prevalent in my everyday life. Pantera was something I fully got into later in life, but I remember playing the opening riff to Walk in band practices, and I remember just blasting Vulgar Display of Power, The Great Southern Trendkill, and Cowboys From Hell in high school and college.
Pantera was something that I grew into, and my true respect was realized when Dime was gone because it was then I knew that no one would EVER play like him, and no one would ever be as influential. We have so many bands out there now, and there isn’t a guitar player who really stands out like he did. I know, you can name some “famous” players that are in popular bands, and so can I. But what you can’t do is pick out today’s guitarists from a musical lineup and instantly know who it is.
Dime was so unique and innovative, and I don’t think we will truly say that type of visionary for a long time, if ever again. Now, I am so sick of hearing about Sabbath, and Zeppelin, and Hendrix, and blah blah blah. YES, they are seminal bands with supremely influential songs, albums, and musicians. But, ask todays musicians who there influences were, and you won’t hear them drop any of these bands. If they do, they’re probably hipster fakes just trying to sound cool. In heavy music, you’ll hear Pantera. You’ll hear “Dime was such an influence to me”, you’ll hear “without Dime, our band wouldn’t exist”. They were THAT important to the heavy music we enjoy today.
I’m sure I digress, as I often tend to do. My point, is that Dimebag Darrell is the one of the greatest guitarists to ever grace this world, and we lost him way to soon. He seemed like the coolest dude you would ever want to meet, and if you were ever fortunate enough to have an encounter on a personal level, I’m sure he would have treated you like you had known him for years. Genuine people are hard to come by, and you know Dime was just that. Not only an amazing player who changed the world of heavy metal guitar, but someone who truly embraced what he was fortunate enough to have been given in life. We miss you, but we’ll never forget and your legend will live on through the music you left us. Thanks for everything and we’ll see you on the other side. Gethca’ Pull!
Now, don’t sit back in silence, crank up ANY of the songs from Pantera’s career as loud as you can and just enjoy what they created for us. Below is a video for arguably the best song in the history heavy metal, The Great Southern Trendkill.