Fifteen years – Sigh. It was five years ago today that I first reflected on an anniversary of the death of the now legendary guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott who was murdered while onstage by a crazed fan during a Damageplan performance. Back when he was killed in 2004, there was no PiercingMetal.com yet and I was still new to the game and only submitted reviews to a site over in Barcelona, Spain. That said, I remember how when I first typed those words down that it left me ill at ease and I can honestly say that it still manages to do so. Speaking frankly, I don’t like to reflect on each and every year after someone has died because I find that it gets in the way of the healing and coming to terms with the loss but in a case like Dime’s is there really any easy way to come to these places? Not really.
So a lot of my reflection here recalls my frame of mind and how the news came to me when it initially happened back in 2004. I remembered how the news came to me very early the following morning after it had happened and I was waking up to go to work and as the radio played my constantly set 1010 WINS, I heard the words “gunman”, “Metal concert” and “Dimebag Darrell”; As I said I was just only waking up but it was like a bolt that I was out of the bed and hoping for the newscaster to repeat the story to get more properly informed. I booted up my computer and launched into my email account as I was the NYC Scene Journalist for The Metal Circus site in Spain at the time. The time was only a little after 6AM and I was not seeing the story on any of the popular Metal Newsfeed sites of the day yet but as my email queue synced I began to notice messages filled with questions from my Spanish amigos to get more information on this horrible story they were starting to hear about over on their side of the Atlantic. Then the news was repeated and the reporter came back on and said the news. Guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott of Damageplan was shot during the bands concert and had died. Hearing the words left me numb because it just didn’t make sense to me at all. Why would this happen? How could this happen? Such a thing seemed impossible to happen at a Metal show. Rap maybe but Metal? Never. I typed up the words from the reporters segment and sent them to the editor of that online magazine citing how it was officially verified so they could compose something about it. I admit that it was very hard to go to work that day but since I was “the Metal guy” on the team, it became a quick topic of discussion and it was clearly sending shock waves across the world’s Metal fan base as all tried to come to grips with it and make some kind of sense out of the news. Yet there was no sense to be made from this. Dimebag was taken from us by a very ill and delusional man and there was nothing else to be said about the matter. Dime and a few others were dead and numerous people were injured. It sucked and Metal would never quite be the same again.
Musically speaking, I am a drummer so Dime didn’t influence my playing overall but I sure did love his style on the first few albums by Pantera that I truly enjoyed. I’ve also often said how I admired his sense of humor, zeal for life and the way he was always trying to keep pushing his own Metal efforts to the maximum level. I never managed to see Pantera in the live sense but had been listening to them since I first heard “Cowboys From Hell” blasting out of my speakers thanks to WSOU Pirate Radio in NJ. Metal of this kind was not generally played on terrestrial radio of the day unless it was a special focus hour late at night. Both Satellite Radio and streaming services didn’t even exist yet and neither did Facebook. I know you must be wondering how we barbarians ever found entertainment. Those way back listens on that station sent me to the brick and mortar shops to purchase those now no longer easy to find CD’s. I still feel that Metal music has come a long way since we lost Dime and part of me likes to think that all of the hard work and industrious nature of those who excel at the craft are making him smile in the great whatever waits for us after this. Since Dime’s passing the world has also lost his brother Vinnie Paul who left us in 2018. We honored him HERE. Together again some had said. Sigh.
I’ll share these photos from a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe in Atlantic City once again because I am glad that I have them to use for these reflections. When I first used them, I think that I admitted how I was originally looking for KISS historical items at the time. When I saw that they had one of Dimebag’s guitars I paused for a moment of respect to the man, his music and his influence and then snapped the shots. I was unsure where or if I was ever going to use them but luckily they would be on hand for such reflections like this one.
As I close up this sad anniversary posting I am wondering if you readers recall how you first heard of Dime’s death and I realize that this is depending on your various ages. The comments are open for you to share your own thoughts and reflections about Dimebag or to let the readership know what he meant to you as a figure for Metal after he passed. Let’s discuss and before I forget let me finalize by saying “We Still Miss You Dime, There Was No One Quite Like Ya”. Let’s also remember the memories of Jeffrey “Mayhem” Thompson, Nathan Bray and Erin Halk who were also victims of the gunman. Since that event and considering the world we live in, a lot of security has been ramped up and while it might seem inconvenient I don’t mind it at all. As a scribe/photographer, I go to a LOT of shows and I’d never want to find this happening again to my friends or myself. That’s all I have, so as I close up please be sure to crank up some classics with Dime’s playing on them. Maybe even have a black-toothed grin drink if you are of proper age and can handle your liquor.
Official Artist Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimebag_Darrell