This is gonna be a tough one...
Today (Sunday, December 8th, 2019) marks 15 years since legendary Pantera and Damageplan guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, one of metal music's most beloved and respected musicians was senselessly shot and killed on stage during a Damageplan show at the Alrosa Villa club in Columbus, OH.
Just a few moments into the band's opening song "Breathing New Life," a 25-year-old, mentally disturbed ex-Marine named Nathan Gale rushed the stage with a Beretta 9mm handgun, killing four, Dime included and injuring three others. Gale was killed himself by a well-placed shot from a Remington shotgun by police officer James D. Niggemeyer, who arrived on scene minutes after the rampage began.
After that terrible night, speculations arose that Gale deliberately target Dimebag, leading to the belief that he held a grudge against Dime and his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul, for the disbanding of Pantera, Gale's supposed favorite band, in 2002. These rumors further widened the already immense divide between Pantera vocalist Philip Anselmo and Paul, a rift that stayed between the former bandmates until Paul's untimely passing in 2018. Columbus police concluded their investigation back in 2005 without establishing a true motive for the shootings.
All of this aside, the world of heavy metal music lost a truly charismatic, generous and insanely talented musician on the night of December 8th, 2004. Dimebag was known in the community, by fellow musicians and fans alike, for his hospitality and uplifting demeanor. For me personally, Dime played an integral part in developing my love for heavier metal music, acting as bridge of sorts from bands like Metallica and Iron Maiden to acts like Behemoth and Cannibal Corpse.
I have so many middle and high school memories that center around Dimebag and Pantera's music, from sitting around with friends, watching Dimevision for the millionth time, to crudely covering some Pantera tracks in a garage. All these years later, I still get teary eyed when thinking of Dime, his powerful and innovative playing style, and the impact he had on me and thousands of other metalheads throughout his musical career and personal life. Dimebag Darrell, the human embodiment, may be gone, but his legacy will live on in the hearts of many.
"His music will live forever, and that's the wonderful thing about what we do as recorded musicians — our music will be around a lot longer than we will," Judas Priest frontman said of Dimebag's legacy. "So we have his music to cherish, and he still will be an inspiration to guitar players, as he was with Pantera and with Damageplan. So, you know, we'll miss him dearly."
Vinnie Paul passed away in June of last year at the age of 54 at his home in Las Vegas, due to a dilated cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart. He was buried next to his brother and their mother, Carolyn, at Moore Memorial Gardens cemetery in Arlington, Texas. Both Dime and Vinnie were laid to rest in a custom KISS caskets provided by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley. The brothers were both massive fans of the band.
Fellow metalheads, I ask that you join me today in blasting some Pantera, watching some old Dime videos and throwing back a few Black Tooth Grins (if you're of age, of course), not in mourning but in celebration of the life and legacy of one of heavy metal's most talented, kind and influential individuals. Getcha pull!