“I’m here for one guy, one reason, Dime,” Zakk Wylde told Billboard when asked what brought him out to Hollywood’s Lucky Strike Bowling to take part in Friday’s “Dimebash,” a tribute to late Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott.
“Everybody here knew Dime in one capacity or another and everybody that’s upstairs he touched.”
Abbott was murdered on stage at an Ohio concert on Dec. 8, 2004. The guitarist’s legacy brought out a wide range of metal and rock heroes, led by Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, Philip Anselmo (Abbott’s bandmate in Pantera), Metallica bassist Robert Trullijo, Slayer’s Dave Lombardo, Machine Head and more for an all-star jam.
A standout of the evening was Grohl, Anselmo, Trujillo and Lombardo paying tribute to another fallen metal icon, Motorhead‘s Lemmy Kilmister, with “Ace of Spades.” Watch the performance below.
The evening also included combinations like Anselmo and Pantera’s Rex Brown reuniting on the rock band’s “Walk,” with Grohl filling in for Alice in Chains’ Jerry Cantrell, who was scheduled to attend but was in the emergency room for reasons unknown. Machine Head’s Robb Flynn filled in on vocals.
Friday night played like a greatest hits of metal karaoke, with UFO’s “Lights Out” and songs from Iron Maiden, and many more being rocked on stage by combinations of rock acts. But the big-name star power didn’t really come out until almost 1 a.m. as the show ran almost an hour behind schedule.
Still, no one complained as the concert was also for a great cause. In addition to paying tribute to Abbott, the event benefited the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up And Shout Cancer Fund. Given the intriguing combinations of vocalist and guitarists on display we wondered, What one song would the musicians in the building have liked to have seen Dio and Abbott combine forces on?
“’Mob Rules,’” was Grohl’s choice. “I swear to this day, I don’t want to say it’s my favorite Sabbath song, but it’s up there. I’ve probably listened to ‘Mob Rules’ more than you would imagine. Ronnie singing and Dime on guitar would work for me.”
Proving great minds do indeed think alike, Trujillo randomly selected the same song. “I really loved ‘Mob Rules,’” he said. “I love the line, ‘Play with fire, burn your fingers.’ That was our line in high school. And it just takes me back to being in high school and how exciting it was to be around there and be able to experience that music.”
Being in the building revisiting Pantera songs brought back memories for both Wylde and especially Trujillo.
“Dime’s legacy is as strong as Tony Iomni in how Tony Iomni created a whole genre of music,” Wylde said, comparing Abbott to the Black Sabbath guitarist. “Pantera, extreme metal is its own genre of music, so that’s the legacy right now, aside from the technique and the blazing solos. I think it’s his writing of what Pantera is, just the brutality, but the precision.
“If it was a car it’d be a Bentley or a Mercedes, it’s just a high-end really well-made car all the other car dealers aspire to. That’s the mold that you try to create in outstanding design. So without a doubt, for me, when I look at Dime’s legacy, it’s the creativity of Tony Iomni as far as the music writing.”
For Trujillo, the recollections were much more personal as he recalled his first meeting with Dio and being on the road with Abbott in Pantera’s early days.
“The first time I met [Ronnie], I don’t remember when it was, he had a glass of wine and said, ‘Hey, Robert, how you doing?’” Trujillo recalled. “He was such a friendly, cordial human being and he was just a gentleman and such an amazing talent, very versatile. Ozzy used to play me some of the doo-wop stuff he did back when he was a lot younger and it blew my mind. Bon Scott was the same thing, he came from a lot of old classic R&B doo-wop. These guys were very well rounded and diverse and amazing human beings.”
And Trujillo knew Abbott very well. “Dimebag was always really fun, he was just a joy to be around and I was fortunate with Suicidal Tendencies. We took Pantera on their first U.S. tour and I used to tell the guys in my band, in Suicidal, ‘You gotta hear these guys. The guitar player is insane,’” he said.
“He was just this super talent and he was pretty shy. That was a great tour, every night was an adventure, it was like the wild west back then. And they really brought the life to the tour. We were crazy in our own way, they were a little bit younger and they just brought this youthful spirit that was already there, but they enhanced it and they were awesome. They were this injection of adrenaline, it was great times. It’s unfortunate sometimes we lose these gifted amazing human beings and Dimebag was definitely one of those guys.”