It’s been a long time since I did a blog post but I’ve just realized it’s been even longer since Dimebag was tragically murdered. On December 8th, 2004 to be exact. I was just going to post what I had said on the 5th anniversary of his passing but when I read it, it was too brief and conveyed nothing really but a lazy tribute. So without further ado here are my thoughts about Dimebag done properly 10 years after his passing.
In 2004 I hadn’t given much thought about Pantera to be honest. I still spun Vulgar and Far Beyond from time to time but I was kind of in this vortex of not paying too much attention to metal and occasionally going back and playing some retro tunes. I knew they had split up and Dime and Vinnie were in a new band but to this day I can’t say I had listened to any Damageplan. You can have respect for an artist but not really understand the impact they had until tragedy strikes. I remember working at the Indian casino I was employed with at the time and seeing the news blurb that a musician was shot and killed while on stage and the first thought was “wow what the hell?”. When I opened the article up and saw it was Dimebag it was like getting punched in the stomach. And as the narrative unfolded over the course of the next few days it became apparent that this was going to be one of those losses that sticks for generations. I found myself going back and listening to his work with increased attention and even gave Trendkill another chance and found I liked it better then when I had first purchased it. By really listening to the music with heightened awareness you can be really struck with the magnitude of what has been lost forever in terms of metal.
Dime was unique, there is no other way to say it. No rock star guitar god pretensions from what everybody who knew him says. His guitar playing was unique in it’s tone and structure. And the manner in which he was taken was so brutal and chaotic it’s still hard to comprehend to this day. Many a rock legend have passed over the years but it is usually from drugs or disease, not by murder while playing live for fans.To this day, 10 years later, the interactions with fans and performers has had to change because of this event. Many artists don’t want people up there with them and in fact many venues ban the practice of stage diving to protect the band because of this. And that is probably one of the biggest tragedies is that Dime wanted to party with the fans and would have welcomed anybody on stage to have a shot of jack and thrash. I imagine he’d be heartbroken that his death caused that kind of party to end for the sake of safety.
10 years later and we have a new generation of metal heads that have listened to Pantera and have an appreciation for what Dime did and that’s great. But with that is also the cries for a reunion that needs to cease. Phil and Vinnie still have not spoken since the split in Pantera and asking for someone like Zakk Wylde to fill in is not going to be the same. Maybe as a one off show but not as a full fledged band thing no matter how much love and respect Zakk had for Dime. Asking Vinnie about it is opening new wounds. Imagine yourself as the drummer of a band with your brother who you love dearly on guitar and someone murders him and almost kills you while onstage. Now imagine being asked about it week after week for 10 years and pressured to do it everytime you turn around. It needs to stop.
Dime is gone but his music and legacy remain for all time. Hold on to it, cherish it and get your pull while doing so. That is what Dimebag Darrell Abbott would want you to do. Now here are some of my favorite tracks from Pantera. Enjoy and crank some Pantera this week in honor of a great man.
And finally a powerful tribute song dedicated posthumously for Dime from Zakk Wylde. R.I.P. brother.