Glenn Hughes

New Found Power
Elektra Records

“Dimebag” Darrell shot at Columbus, OH club”

"I'm absolutely beside myself with grief...It's just terribly, terribly sad." OZZY OSBOURNE

This was the news that greeted shocked fans Thursday morning Dec 9th, 2004. CNN reported “A 25-year-old man stormed the stage at a heavy-metal rock concert Wednesday night, shooting and killing Pantera founder and Damageplan guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott and three others before a police officer shot and killed him.” For many in the Heavy Metal community the news couldn’t have been more tragic.

Darrell Abbott was the son of country-western songwriter Jerry Abbott. Born in Dallas, Texas, Dime grew up with a lot of country influences in his life. He was always exposed to music and musical instruments, and he began playing the guitar at a very young age. He took lessons from country legends, and picked it up easily. He was considered a virtuoso at an early age, and by the time he was sixteen years old, he had already won ALL of the local talent competitions and band contests, and was no longer allowed to enter.

Dime along with brother Vinnie Paul formed Pantera in the early ‘80s. The band released three records independently but didn’t see major success until they recruited singer Phil Anselmo and signed with East West records. The record that followed, Cowboys From Hell (1990) was a revelation and was responsible for putting Pantera on the map. This was a different Pantera combining elements of thrash, speed and hardcore with a unique sound unlike anything anyone had heard before. Considered by many to be the bands “official” debut Cowboy demolished what was left of the late-80’s hair metal scene and put real meat on the plate.

Two years later, Pantera confirmed their new-found status with the hostile Vulgar Display of Power (1992). One of the most influential metal records of the decade this alone would make Dimebag a legend. The band continued to attract an ever-broadening audience first touring with Metallica then with a string of Ozzfests. No band affected the metal world more so than Pantera during the early to mid-'90s. By 1994 Pantera led the metal pack and was hailed as reforming the genre. They would eventually earn four Grammy nominations.

The next eight years would test the band as success brought drugs, egos and eventually the demise of the Texas foursome. Anselmo left to form Superjoint Ritual while Dime and Vinnie took their time developing what would become Damageplan with Halford guitarist turned singer Pat Lachman. The awkward public split of Pantera had fans chomping at the bit for the new “Dime” project and sales indicated that fans were as loyal as ever. New Found Power carried parts of Pantera over into melodic post-grunge avenues. But it moved in new directions too, exploring heavily-crafted sounds with nu-metal's electronic throb. Guests on the record included guitarist Zakk Wylde and Slipknot vocalist Corey Taylor.

Damageplan where touring behind New Found Power when they rolled into Columbus, Ohio to play the Alrosa Villa nightclub on the cities north side. Ten minutes into the set a hooded gunman stormed onto the stage, screamed accusations about Pantera breaking up and fired five shoots into Darrell Abbott at point-blank range. The band's head of security, Jeffrey 'Mayhem' Thompson, and Erin Halk one of the club’s security staff were also killed by the gunman as they attempted to apprehend him. A member of the audience, Nathan Bray, was also shot and killed as he climbed on stage to attend to the guitarist. Two other crew members were wounded before the shooter was eventually shot and killed by a city police officer stopping further mayhem.

To measure the loss of a true genius won’t be known for years. However in Darrell Abbott many have and many will recognize the legacy left by one of the pioneering guitarists of our time. States his brother Vinnie, "With all his greatness and accomplishments on the guitar, Dime will be missed more for his giving personality, charisma, caring for others, love and most of all his HEART!! Twice as big as the state of TEXAS! REST IN PEACE BROTHER DIME!!!!!!”

Dimebag Darrell, an enormous Kiss fan was laid to rest Tuesday Dec. 14th in a Kiss Kasket donated by Gene Simmons. Guest at his memorial service at the Convention Center in Arlington, Texas included members of Slipknot, Eddie Van Halen, Zakk Wylde and Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains).

“It’s unbelievable to sit here and talk about Darrell in the past tense. It seems so wrong, so unfair, so unjust. Darrell and his brother were the cornerstone of musical adventures that were always groundbreaking, pushing boundaries, and challenging to themselves. They were respected by their fans, respected by their peers and always true musicians' musicians.” Lars Ulrich – Metallica