Why is it that legends always go before their time? They say the best ones are called first, but it’s not fair for those left behind. Especially in the case of Darrell “Dimebag Darrell” Abbott. The co-founder of two major bands in the groove metal scene – Pantera and Damageplan, his riffs and style on his Dean guitar is what made him Rolling Stone’s 92nd Greatest Guitarist of all Time.
Did you know that Dimebag was supposed to join Megadeth and was personally invited by Dave Mustaine to become a part of the Big Four. He agreed, but not without his best friend and brother, Vinnie Paul. The rest, as they say, is history. Though Pantera played with a number of big names including Ozzy Osbourne, Metallica, Judas Priest, etc. their claim to fame happened when Phil Anselmo joined and the hit album Cowboys From Hell was released in 1992. That is how groove metal was born.
Though the thing with Pantera was going hard and going strong, they couldn’t keep up with Anselmo, because well, it’s Anselmo and we all know how that works out. So the two brothers – Dime and Vinnie formed their spanking new band, Damageplan in 2003. It looked like everything was working out just fine, and that Damageplan were on their way to cult status fame like their previous Pantera, when out of nowhere, immense tragedy struck.
So it was on December 8, 2004 at a Damageplan show in Columbus, Ohio that the band was live on stage, when 25-year-old Nathan Gale, walked up and point-black shot Darrell fatally three times in the head, along with an audience member who was desperately performing CPR on the slain rocker. Concertgoers thought it was an act at first, but then Dime went down and all was black and chaos.No one knows the real reason for the shooting, because the perp was killed on sight, but what is more frightening is the fact that he had been to a Damageplan concert in the past and had caused damages over $5000. And yet, this menace was allowed back in Ohio where he could commit this crime.
Though the death of Dimebag Darrell is nothing short of a uncalled-for tragedy, what he left behind were riffs and music that has inspired numerous wannabe musicians to pick up their five-string and make some noise. Bands from all over the world owe their initial interest in the genre because of Dime. Today, his remains rest in power in Arlington, Texas where fans get to pay respect to the cowboy from hell.