Former PANTERA drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott says that he has "found peace" 10 years after witnessing the murder of his brother while they were both playing at a club in Ohio.
Dimebag was shot dead on December 8, 2004 while performing with his band DAMAGEPLAN at Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. The shooting that night claimed three other lives and seven more were injured as the mad gunman opened fire on the crowd at the small club north of downtown Columbus.
One of heavy metal's most influential and beloved figures, Dimebag was a larger-than-life guitarist and a genuine, amusing human being who was rarely spotted without his favorite drink, the "black tooth grin" — a splash of Coca-Cola and two shots of whisky.
During a recent chat with WWE wrestling superstar and FOZZY singer Chris Jericho for the "Talk Is Jericho" podcast, Vinnie spoke about how he feels that Dimebag's spirit and energy is always with him and inspires him to be the best that he can be.
"The funniest thing that's ever happened to me… I turned 50 this year, and it was the best birthday party I ever had in my entire life. It was absolutely incredible," Vinnie said.
"I still feel like a 19-year-old kid, man. Everything I do, I approach the same way. I'm not married. I don't have any kids. I've been married to music my entire life. I've been dedicated to it. I know what it takes to do it. And ever since my brother has been taken from me, I feel like I have to live for both of us. And I bring it everywhere I go, everything I do, and I think he's here with us, watching us and enjoying everything that's going on, man."
Vinnie also talked about how his brother cherished being a rock star, was always "on," and lived to have a raucous good time. And he always made sure everyone around him was as pumped up, comfortable and/or inebriated as he was.
"The thing that turned him on the most in this world was putting a smile on other people's faces," Vinnie said. "It didn't matter where it was, when it was, how it was, whether it was playing his guitar, whether it was shaking a hand, signing an autograph, giving him a pick, just saying hi. That was the most important thing in his life — making other people smile."
He continued: "I remember the last show we ever played together with DAMAGEPLAN, we played in Buffalo, New York, and I wanted to… Actually, we wanted to go to the casino in Niagara Falls and he was really smoked. We had two more shows left. We were gonna do Mancow's show in Chicago the next day. And I said, 'Dime, man, let's go to the casino, man.' And he was, like, 'Man, Vinnie, I'm really, really tired. I wanna kill these last two shows. I'm gonna go home and make the next DAMAGEPLAN record. I wanna kill this.' He goes, 'You go have a good time, man. I'll see you in a little bit.' So me and Mayhem, our security guy that got killed that night [in Columbus], went with me, and we went to the casino and we had a great time. And the bus pulled up about 3 o'clock in the morning to get us, and I came on the bus, and there was a full party going on in the front lounge. And I'm, like, 'What is going on in here?' It was Dime and there was, like, 12 people I'd never seen in my life. And I said, 'Dime, I thought you were [tired].' And he goes, 'Dude, I couldn't let these people down, man. They wanted to party tonight, man.' And that's how my brother was. He just would not let people down."
Asked if he always shared his brother's fun-loving approach to life, Vinnie replied: "I always had that attitude, he always had that attitude. That American Express commercial, 'You can't take it with you,' was always special, but it never was real until that happened."
He continued; "Me and [Dimebag] used to joke with each other all the time. We'd be on a plane and [we'd say], 'Hey, man, if we're going down, we're going down in a plane crash together.' It was always, 'We're gonna do this together.' 'Cause we did everything together. And we didn't get to do that together [that night in Columbus]. And… when I say 'we didn't get to,' I don't mean to say that.
"It was a really hardcore, tragic event, and the guy [Nathan Gale] wanted to kill me too. And somehow or another, I was lucky enough to escape that, and I'm still here, and I will do everything and anything I can to carry on the legacy and the tradition that my brother always had."
Even though it's been a decade since his brother's murder, Vinnie still gets flashbacks of the day's events "every night." He says: "I don't wanna remember it, I don't wanna think about it, I don't want anybody saying, 'Hey, man…' You know…
"It's hard. It's hard. But I've found peace.
"I'm really happy with what I do with [my current band HELLYEAH], and I'm glad that we're moving forward and things are really good, man. Really good."
An inside look at the new limited-edition Dean Dimebag Darrell Signature Roots ML guitar at this year's NAMM (National Association Of Music Merchants) show, which is taking place January 23-26 at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, can be seen below (courtesy of Guitar Center).
Dean Guitars, in collaboration with the estate of late PANTERA/DAMAGEPLAN guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, has introduced the Dean Dimebag Darrell Signature Roots ML. This very special guitar, limited to only 200 individually numbered pieces, features an oak razor blade inlayed directly into the body of the guitar. The 200 razor blades were cut from a branch of an old oak tree, located right outside the studio window in Dimebag's backyard where PANTERA recorded most of their now-legendary albums.
There is no doubt that Dimebag Darrell's own Dean MLs and monstrous guitar sound shook the branches of this very oak tree.
This is a historical, guitar-industry first.
The wood used in the making of this guitar was taken directly from the artist's backyard with the blessing and endorsement of his loved ones!
The 200 guitarists lucky enough to get their hands on this instant collector's piece will forever have a piece of heavy metal and guitar building history, literally in the palm of their hands.
This wood belonged to Dimebag Darrell and now it can belong to you — the Dean Dimebag Darrell Signature Roots ML.
Dimebag was co-founder and lead guitarist for PANTERA. When PANTERA broke up in 2003, Dimebag and drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott formed DAMAGEPLAN. On December 8, 2004, while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Dimebag was shot and killed onstage by Nathan Gale. He was 38 years old.
During a brand new interview with Artisan News, Zakk Wylde (BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, OZZY OSBOURNE) was asked about the possibility of a hypothetical PANTERA reunion with him filling in for the late "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott on guitar. "It'd be up to [former PANTERA members] Vinnie [Paul Abbott, drums], Phil [Anselmo, vocals] and Rex [Brown, bass] — they're the guys that make everything happen," he said (see video below). "So if they were all gonna do it and honor Dimebag and [if they said to me], 'Zakk, would you wanna honor Dime and do Dime's parts?' Of course, I was a pallbearer for him — I laid him to rest — so, of course, I'd say, it would be a beautiful way to honor him and stuff like that. And to celebrate all things PANTERA and what they achieved. 'Cause they changed the game, as far as extreme metal goes. I mean, they're the kings of it. But it's up to the fellows. Then it would just be me woodsheddin' 25-8, learning all of Dime's parts, you know what I mean?! Yeah, but like I said, as far as I'm concerned, it would just be honoring Dime. Like with the Yankees, you honor… everybody's wearing Thurman Munson's '15' for that day, just because we're honoring Thurman's greatness. So it's the same thing, man."
Dimebag's longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag, who was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.
Vinnie, who is Dimebag's brother, and Anselmo have not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag's death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer.
Speaking to Fuse News, Anselmo said about the possibility of a PANTERA reunion with Wylde filling in for Dimebag: "For me, really, I think it would mean a lot for [ex-PANTERA bassist] Rex [Brown] and [ex-PANTERA drummer] Vince [Paul Abbott] and myself to sit down and, I guess, bury the hatchet where we can be on more friendly terms. And, you know, I think it would mean a lot to the fans."
Cindy Scull of the Dallas radio station 97.1 The Eagle recently conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummerVinnie Paul Abbott. You can now listen to the chat below.
On the differences between European and American heavy metal audiences:
Vinnie Paul: "I would just say the main difference is that the people there still live and breathe the music; they really believe in the lifestyle of the music, and they wanna know everything about the bands. That's why some of these bands that have been around forever are still huge there, because [the fans] never forget, they're really into, whereas the U.S. is more 'here today, gone this afternoon' kind of thing. It's really hard to keep staying current here, because people just move on to the next thing so fast."
On how MEGADETH's Dave Mustaine has been to tour with on this summer's Gigantour:
France's L'Enôrme TV conducted an interview with former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott at this year's Hellfest, which was held June 21-23 in Clisson, France. You can now watch the chat below.
On late SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman:
Vinnie: "We all miss Jeff. Jeff was a great friend and we had some very good times with him. I just wish the SLAYER boys the best. And hopefullyJeff is in a better place."
On whether any other previously unreleased recordings from his brother, late PANTERA and DAMAGEPLAN guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, will ever see the light of day:
Ex-PANTERA and current DOWN frontman Philip Anselmo spoke toArtisan News about his desire to reconnect with his former PANTERA bandmate Vinnie Paul Abbott more than eight years since ex-PANTERAguitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club.
Vinnie, who is Dimebag's brother, and Anselmo have not spoken sincePANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag's death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag's killer.
Asked if he thinks Vinnie Paul will ever be open to repairing the rift,Anselmo said (see video below): "You know, that would be a question forVinnie Paul; I don't know. But once again I'll say that I love him. I feel his pain every single day. Dime was very much my brother, Rex's [Brown;PANTERA bassist] brother as well."
Set for release this month via Plexus Publishing is the book "Cemetary Gates: Saints & Survivors Of The Heavy-Metal Scene" by Mick O'Shea.
A description of the illustrated paperback reads as follows: "Between genius and madness, this world and the next, there's nothing but the faintest flicker of a pulse and the cemetery gates.
"Packed with as many egos as one book can hold, 'Cemetery Gates' is the read that takes you inside the minds of the most twisted icons of heavy metal."
* Ronnie James Dio (DIO, BLACK SABBATH, HEAVEN & HELL, RAINBOW)
* Bon Scott (AC/DC)
According to The Metal Den, the Rock Legend Wax Museum in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada has honored "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott byunveiling a life-sized wax figure of the late PANTERA and DAMAGEPLAN guitarist.
The figure was conceived by Mandy De Vere of Mangry Inc. and sculpted by local Niagara Falls artist Pasquale Ramunno exclusively for the museum.
The "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott wax figure is on display from today (Saturday, May 25) at the Rock Legend Wax Museum.