Mon, 17 April 2017
Few guitarists can hold a joint to Dimebag Darrell, Pantera's insanely talented axe man from Pantego, Texas. He was a singularly talented human being, and if you've heard of Pantera, you've no doubt considered giving up a normal life's pursuits in order to be more like one Darrell Abbott.
I spent my teenage years emulating Dimebag Darrell, but I never got beyond chugging along to the riffs from 'Far Beyond Driven.' I was a bit of a metal-head, and along with Metallica's James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett, Dimebag was my hero. If you're not astounded by this dude's guitar playing, you and I can never be blood brothers.
When Dimebag Darrell was murdered on December 8, 2004, I literally punched a tree down in my backyard. It was inconceivable that someone so full of life and joy be struck down at such a young age. (He was 38.) Despite the band's dark themes and messages, Pantera was a band that focused on joy. Pure, raucous, hellacious joy. Dimebag Darrell represented youthful love of metal, and his death was an augur of a different age for me.
It's one of the strangest and most bizarre true crime scenarios to play out in a public setting, especially where a heavy metal band is concernded.
A crazed fan named Nathan Gale ended Dimebag Darrell's life at a Damageplan show in Columbus, Ohio in 2004. He was angry over the band breaking up and possibly by Pantera lead singer Philip Anselmo's fiery words in an interview mere weeks before. Due to that and some degeneration in his mental capacity, he jumped the fence at the Alrosa Villa Club and rushed the stage, pulling a 9mm Beretta in the process.
He shot Dimebag Darrell in the head at point-blank range. He fired into the crowd and tried desperately to find Dimebag's brother, Vinnie Paul, in order to end his life as well. It was a local cop who ended the horror by shooting Nathan Gale with a police-issue shotgun.
Despite the horrific circumstances of his death, 'Dimebag' Darrell Abbott's legacy lives on in the wonderful music he created with his friends Rex Brown and Phillip Anselmo, and his brother, Vinnie Paul. You can find Pantera's albums anywhere you steal music. Check out the Pantera Behind the Music for more information.