Six Years Later, A Look Back At Dimebag


I started working at MTV News a few months after “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott — former guitarist for Pantera who died as the guitarist for Damageplan — was murdered onstage by a distraught, psychologically-fucked fan, 25-year-old Nathan Gale. Dime — one of metal’s most influential and beloved figures — was murdered six years ago today. During all of 2005, I interviewed a number of metal musicians and we chatted about Dime. I ended up writing a feature for MTV News (which you can read here) that ran on the one-year anniversary of Dime’s death.

Before a police officer brought Gale’s murderous rampage to an end with a single shotgun blast to the killer’s head, four people had been killed and three others, wounded. Dime was 38 years old when he died and his death was perhaps the most significant loss for the metal genre since Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads died in a 1982 plane crash. Here’s a sampling of Dime quotes from that article, on this, the grim anniversary of his death. Rest in peace, dude.

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.”

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.”

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.”

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.”

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 asshole 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.”

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