Next Thursday (Dec. 8) will mark a year since the on-stage murder of Pantera/Damageplan guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, who was shot to death by an enraged fan during a Damageplan show in Columbus, Ohio. While rumors swirl of impending archival sets from both of Abbott’s former bands, an Atlantic spokesperson could not confirm any details about future releases.
But in the meantime, a pair of non-musical Dimebag-related items are on the horizon: a collectable sculpture figure from KnuckleBonz, Inc. and an official clothing line, Dimebag Hardware. Additionally, Dean Guitars is issuing a limited edition run of its Dimebag Darrell USA Guitar.
Memories of Dimebag continue to burn brightly for several of the guitarist’s peers. “There was never a dull moment. There was always something that was happening — just constant laughter,” Anthrax drummer Charlie Benante tells Billboard.com. “Even when people would meet him for the first time, he would make them feel like they knew him forever. He would make sure that the experience was a memorable one.”
Benante recounts visiting Darrell at his home in Texas, circa 1995: “I was doing promotional stuff for the ‘Stomp’ record. I got to Dallas, Dime picked me up, we went to his house and I stayed there. I actually told this story at his funeral. We pulled up to his house, and the first thing I saw was this goat running by, with a purple goatee hanging off him. I’m like, ‘What the f***?!’ He’s like, ‘Oh yeah, someone dropped a goat at my house the other day. Do you believe that? So I dyed his goatee just like mine!'”
Jason Newsted remembers being coerced onstage with Pantera while he was still in Metallica. “I come up and I’m in my casual clothes, and we played ‘Whiplash’ and ‘Four Horsemen’ or something — two songs off Metallica’s ‘Kill Em All.’ [Frontman] Phil [Anselmo] played guitar on one, and Darrell sang — they swapped. I just remember getting in front of his amps and having my hair peeled back. F*** man, I’ve played with Metallica on stage for 15 years and it’s loud. But in front of Darrell’s amps, Darrell was loud as f***! That was a very special moment.”
Dimebag’s welcoming personality sticks with Vision Of Disorder guitarist Matt Baumbach, whose band played with Pantera on the 1997 Ozzfest tour. “He was on stage playing and in between songs he came back to his amp and offered everyone on his side a beer from the cooler that was right next to his setup!,” Baumbach recalls. “Being that this guy was my guitar hero from childhood made it a huge event. I then preceded to drink the rest of the beers in the cooler.”
King’s X singer/bassist Doug Pinnick says he and Dimebag had plans to collaborate on a project that will sadly never materialize. “It just bums me out that we never got that chance,” he says. “We were going to do a blues record — we did this one song, ‘Born Under a Bad Sign,’ at his Christmas Eve party, about eight or nine years ago. It was a lot of fun. It’s a little bootleg going around [with] Dime playing guitar. That’s the only thing I have of him.”