On this day 55 years ago, August 20th 1966, Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell, Darrell Lance Abbott, was born in Ennis, Texas. During his eccentric life, Dimebag quickly distinguished himself as one of the greatest guitarists of all time. In the words of Philip H. Anselmo: “… soul, heart, and goddamn muscle, and passion! Motherfucker had it all.” Dimebag’s musicianship touched the hearts of listeners in a manner that was all his own. Dimebag and Pantera “reinvented the steel” and the entire metal genre. You would be hard-pressed to find a metal band that has not been influenced by Pantera. Hell, Pantera even showed their idols how true gods lay it down. Anselmo ended up teaching his idol, Rob Halford how to warm-up his voice. Dimebag also inspired his heroes, many of whom would outlive him.
Rock fans know the tragic story of how a paranoid schizophrenic, Nathan Gale, shot 38-year-old Dimebag at a concert. Years earlier, Gale watched Dime sport a pair of seven-foot, paper-mache wings onstage. Dime and his brother Vinnie Paul, two years Dime’s senior, were playing at the small venue Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio with their band Damageplan, formed as New Found Power. Gale murdered three other heroes — Jeffrey “Mayhem” Thompson, the band’s bodyguard; Erin Halk, Alrosa’s security guard; and Nathan Bray, a fan. Policeman James Niggemeyer entered alone through the back door. Discovering that Gale was holding Damageplan’s drum tech hostage, Niggemeyer was forced to shoot Gale in the face. Since these events Niggemeyer has suffered from PTSD, which has led to his discharge. Niggemeyer advocates to help cops who have sustained mental and emotional injuries.
Through Pantera’s reign, the band epitomized authenticity. They were ahead of their time in breaking away from the glam mold they once obeyed. Their unadulterated aggression survived the Black Death known as grunge. Phil, a trained boxer, wielded the power to back up his words. Oddly enough, many millennials received their first introduction to Dimebag’s music, when Pantera’s “Pre-Hibernation/Death Rattle” instrumentals were featured on an episode of SpongeBob SquarePants. Nickelodeon dismayed teachers by producing classrooms of headbangers overnight.
Dimebag always wore his iconic razor blade necklace in homage to Judas Priest’s British Steel (1980). Dime pulled the name of his signature cocktail, “Black Tooth Grin,” from Megadeth’s “Sweating Bullets.” To make a Black Tooth Grin, use Crown Royal and/or Seagram's Seven Crown whiskey and splash in a little bit of Coke. Today, we drag out our blade jewelry and raise our Black Tooth Grins in memory of Dimebag Darrell. Kick back with your glass to enjoy these 15 facts about Dimebag Darrell that you might not know:
1. “Don't sell your trophies.” The guitarist who recommended Philip H. Anselmo for the vacant position of Pantera’s new vocalist and the childhood friend, who gave Dimebag’s “Dean from Hell” guitar its iconic look, both went by “Blaze.”
When Dimebag Darrell needed money to purchase a yellow Pontiac Firebird, he tried to sell the maroon guitar he had won in a competition to his friend Buddy Blaze. Dimebag already had a cherry-burst guitar that his father had slaved away for. Dimebag wouldn’t be winning any more guitars though, since he was banned from competitions for being too talented. Buddy refused to buy Dime’s guitar out of principle. When Blaze discovered that the lead singer of his band had bought Dime’s guitar for $500, he acquired it through a swap. Over time, Blaze revamped the instrument. Partially inspired by a guitar belonging to Twisted Sister’s Eddie Ojeda, Blaze painted the trademark lightning storm atop the blue paint he has already added. (Blaze would later work with Ojeda, and sue Dean for marketing his “Dean from Hell” design.)
Before Blaze moved out to California to work for Kramer Guitars, he gave Darrell the instrument. Darrell became so attached to the guitar that he called Blaze and offered to buy it. The gift was gratis. “It was yours all along.” Buddy Blaze had also arranged Dimebag’s first major interview with Guitar World. Blaze’s brother Ken worked for Pantera setting off gunpowder explosions and fireballs. The fire would curl around a heedless Darrell at shows. It had taken Buddy a long time to check out the group his brother was “Kengineering.” This was because the Abbott boys' mother, Carolyn, was the one to invite Buddy. Ultimately, Lillian Axe’s guitarist Steve Blaze, one of Phil’s mentors, hooked the Abbotts up with an 18-year-old Phil, whom Rex picked up from the airport in a red ’77 Corvette. Steve and Buddy prepared the way for the band to reach “a new level of confidence.” Sadly, Blaze passed away 17 August 2021.
2. Dimebag’s future partner Rita Haney, the cousin of Pantera’s drum tech, gave the band a boost when she worked with friends to connect Pantera with Metallica.
Dimebag Darrell and Rita Haney met when they were just eight years old. Rita would watch Dime perform in junior high. Haney and Darrell attended Kiss together in 1979. After losing touch, their overlapping social circles brought them together again. Neil Daniels’ Reinventing Metal: The True Story of Pantera and the Tragically Short Life of Dimebag Darrell (2013) asserts that Rita learned of Pantera through her cousin Gary Hetrick, who doubled as Darrell’s friend and Vinnie’s drum tech. Rita and Dime began dating at eighteen years old in 1984.
It is said that Haney received Lars Ulrich’s number from Walter Trachsler, Dimebag’s guitar tech. Haney and her friend Lenise Lopez met Metallica while they toured in Texas. Haney brought Rick E. Warden to Arizona on Lars’ invitation. Walter had introduced Darrell to Metallica’s music and had been telling Metallica about Pantera. By one account, Metallica called after the Ride the Lightning Tour, which ended 31 December 1985: “Hey, where’s that Darrell Abbott guy?” Lars Ulrich and James Hetfield flew out to Texas on complimentary tickets that Rita had received. By another account, the rock stars and the burgeoning titans met in 1985 during the Ride the Lightning Tour. Sources indicate that Haney, Lopez, and Warden arranged for Pantera and Metallica to play together at Savvy’s in Fort Fort, Texas. About thirty people witnessed this impromptu concert. Tickets were priced between $3-4. The bands played as many as four of these shows in a row. After one concert, James and Lars went home with Darrell to play in his garage. Rex, Haney, possibly Lopez, and Dimebag (by Lopez’s story, but not Rex’s) then followed the band out to California.
While Rex Brown stated that Dimebag came up with the “Cowboys from Hell” riff “out of the blue,” Warden insists that Hetfield first played it for Darrell on the latter’s guitar. Whatever the case may be, Cowboys from Hell is an incredibly unique album and features some riffs that Darrell had composed before Pantera was even signed. It is clear that Pantera and Metallica formed a collaborative relationship.
Similar meetings would occur between Pantera and their idols. Slayer’s Kerry King and Tom Araya took the stage with Pantera in 1989 at Joe’s Garage, also in Fort Worth, after they heard that Pantera planned to cover Slayer’s “Raining Blood.” “I don’t know how we ended up [at Joe’s],” King stated. Although King initially enjoyed crashing with Phil, he ultimately formed a closer bond with Darrell. Pantera was again star-struck when they supported their hero Kiss on their 1997 Alive/World Tour. Looking back, fans appreciate Rita Haney for all she does to keep Dimebag’s legacy alive. Her activities include annually organizing Dimebash, which features rock’n’roll’s biggest stars paying tribute to Dimebag.
Watch Dimebag sing Metallica’s “Whiplash,” while Phil plays “The Dean from Hell” and Jason Newsted joins in:
3. When Walter Trachsler, friend and roadie, first called “Diamond” Darrell Lance by the moniker “Dimebag,” the strait-laced guitarist was so enraged that he chased his buddy down the street.
Darrell Abbott first elected the stage name Diamond Darrell Lance. Likewise, the name Pantera, originally Pantera’s Metal Magic, was chosen, because the Abbotts thought it had a cool ring. The Abbott brothers have been described as polite, anti-drug boys. Once Pantera had finally accepted Rex Brown after some badgering, Vinnie wanted to boot Rex for smoking cigarettes. Darrell felt the same way about Rex’s pot use. Others believe that Darrell was merely worried about his image. In the beginning, Darrell preferred to keep substance use private. In any case, Rex admits that he turned Darrell onto beer. The Abbott brothers' father, Jerry, took an executive role in early Pantera. Jerry made the bad decision to have Darrell and Rex share hotel rooms while on the road. Carolyn Abbott, divorced from Jerry, also kept an open house. She let Rex and many others sleep on her couch.
Trachsler revealed: “Everybody called him Diamond Darrell. Everybody, at school, anywhere he went… I said, ‘I ain’t fucking calling you that.’ I called him Dime and I changed it to Dimey. This was to fuck with him—to take the hot air out of him… I’ve never kissed Darrell’s ass in my entire fucking life. One day we’re in Darrell’s room and some friends were over and Darrell was just talking shit about Rex — Rex this, Rex that… Rex was so bad smoking weed and all this shit. And out of the blue, I said, ‘All right, Dimebag.’” After chasing Trachsler down the block, Dimebag warned: “When people are here, you call me Diamond… don't fucking call me anything else.” Rita Haney instead says that it was Philip, who gave Dime his nickname. In Rex’s autobiography Official Truth, 101 Proof: The Inside Story of Pantera (2013), which was co-authored with Mark Eglinton, it is no surprise that Rex calls his friend “Dime” or simply Darrell. Nevertheless, it is a surprise that the name “Dimebag” doesn’t appear once.
At first, Darrell practiced moderation with marijuana. He would only accept a dimebag at a time. Vulgar Display of Power (1992) became the first album to feature Rex Rocker and Diamond Darrell listed as Dimebag Darrell and Rex Brown as well as the first to hit number one on the charts. Did you know that the band wanted the cover of their next album, Far Beyond Driven (1994), to portray an anus, as opposed to a skull, being drilled? By then, Dimebag had already been busted for marijuana possession. Over time, Dime’s marijuana use would taper off. Dime came to prefer chipping away at acid to sustain him through drinking binges. Dimebag detailed his travel list: “Beer, Taco Bell, joints, whiskey, a Walkman, and a little acid for long bus trips.”
How much did Pantera and friends love their weed in 1993? Find out:
4. Dimebag’s eagerness to extend both his generosity and creative boundaries sometimes annoyed his colleagues.
Dimebag enjoyed writing lyrics. That apparently agitated Anselmo. Upon joining the band, Phil took a while to adjust to the bizarre slang, “Dimebolix,”that Darrell seems to have invented. Dime liked to become involved with posters, t-shirts, and other merchandising concerns. Although Dimebag was extremely affable, a shift occurred early on. As a young Texas kid, Dime asked his friend to guard his door, so that he wouldn’t be disturbed. Dime needed downtime as well as his creative space. Dimebag was always enterprising. He was either working, or he was inventing elaborate pranks. Dime was a troll before meme culture. Fans remember Pantera’s home videos. A fan favorite moment occurs when Dime offers an agitated Yngwie Malmsteen a bag of Dunkin’ Donuts. “I don't eat donuts,” the cursing Swede retorts with comically dental “D” consonants. Now that’s “Fucking hostile.” Pantera's antics weren’t always that cutesy. The band interfered with Sebastian Bach's performance when they slathered Tabasco sauce on his microphone.
Not everyone believed in Dimebag’s directorial abilities. Dimebag’s tendency to get handsy with the camera perturbed a lot of people, including Pantera’s manager Walter O'Brien. Walter broke it to Dime: "Look, I know that you think this is funny and these incidents really do happen but Warner Brothers are no in the business of selling hardcore pornography.” In truth, porn involving Heineken bottles sounds rather artistic. Luckily, Sebastian Bach was a good sport when Dime edited a baseball match between Skid Row and Pantera to make Pantera the winners. Dime clearly didn’t always listen to his peers. Dime may also have claimed he didn’t care about how he appeared in Pantera’s videos. However, Dime certainly cared about and listened to his fans. Dime often sought the crowd’s reactions to his riffs before trying them out on his albums. Darrell had a heart of gold. He loved to surprise fans with random acts of kindness, such as blessing a little boy with the guitar while having the discretion not to make a scene of it. When fans drove by his house, Dimebag made a habit of calling them over. Rex, on the other hand, didn’t always understand what he deemed Vinnie and Dime’s tendency to surround themselves with “trashy-ass people.”
Sometimes Phil, who preferred to work-out before his shows, was put-off by Dime’s pranks. Who really wants to see someone bribe a bodyguard to risk a heart attack by gorging on an entire $300 double-chocolate cake?! And yet, Phil is no stranger to monkey business. Phil’s sense of humor is beautifully exemplified by the time when Phil curled his head around Troy Sanders’ waist to assess his naked “Mastadong.”
5. Dimebag taught private guitar lessons, although he had other training than the help that came to him from his father and acquaintances.
Darrell’s only jobs may have been working at a Fotomat and teaching private guitar lessons. Darrell had a major boost from his father Jerry Abbott. Jerry worked at a recording studio, Pantego Sound. He let Darrell hang out there, where Darrell would approach musicians. When the time came, Jerry generously allowed Pantera to record at Pantego. Jerry Bob was Pantera’s first manager and produced their first four albums. Jerry let his sons ruin many of his cars while touring. The Abbott boys, however, were mama’s boys as well. Carolyn Abbott nurtured her boys with unconditional love. Early on, Carolyn attended all her boys' local shows. Jerry survives Carolyn and both of his sons.
6. After Judas Priest’sRob Halford saw Dimebag wearing a British Steel shirt on television in 1990, he called Pantera to say that he would be jamming with them onstage that night at the Diamond Club in Toronto.
“I knew right away that this man was a guitar god!” While watching television in his hotel room, Rob Halford saw a Dimebag interview, which was followed by a Pantera video. This initiated a long friendship. Halford would bring Pantera on tour with him at a time when they still sometimes received boos from fans. He was a huge supporter. Phil spent so much time in Halford’s dressing room that it sparked rumors of an affair between the two men. Who was the giver and who took it? Rob and Phil’s relationship was confined to the symbiosis of teaching and Platonism. “It was a thrill to watch and hear Dime invent and advance with his playing.” As strange as it seems, Pantera and Halford collaborated on the song “Light Comes Out of Black” for Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
7. Dimebag’s house, complete with a berserk, purple-bearded goat, was as crazy as he was.
Dimebag bought a modest house in Arlington, Texas with his girlfriend Rita Haney. By one estimate, their crib was worth $450,000 at the time of Dimebag’s death. According to Zac Crain’s Black Tooth Grin: The High Life, Good Times, and Tragic End of "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott (2009) the house could be estimated at $361,500. Dimebag poured much love into that house, which has been preserved since Dimebag’s death. Rex Brown states that Pantera spent nearly $800,000 to construct a recording studio with sound-proof walls on premises. The studio was built in the band’s barn. This decision was partially rooted in Dime’s desire to copy Van Halen. So much of what Dime did was inspired by his heroes. The home remains filled with guitars, eccentric memorabilia, a stop sign Dime and Zakk Wylde had vandalized, Dime’s prized Kiss pinball machine… There is even a “Slaytanic” bathroom. This home was the site of Dimebag’s infamous Halloween parties.
On the topic of the aforementioned goat, Neil Daniels’ Reinventing Metal (2013) quotes Dale Brock: “Something was wrong with the goat, if you can imagine that. And the goat had his beard dyed purple just like Dime. He loved that goat. And this goat was mean and obnoxious. The goat would jump up on people’s cars and kick in their hoods and kick in their windows. You’d be trying to leave and the goat would jump on your hood. It was just nuts.”
The goat must have observed Dime. Want to see Dimebag destroy a car?
8. Sleep with one eye open around Dimebag: He woke his guests up with fireworks and golden showers.
Darrell’s oddball sense of humor ripened at a young age. One day, Pantera’s lighting engineer, Dusty Osbourne, was awoken by the warm onslaught of 15-year-old Darrell’s piss. Darrell would piss on anything, even ice machines. Yugoslavia, 1991: There’s going to be a war?! Not before Darrell urinates on the opening bands’ food tray. While on acid, Dimebag and Skid Row’s “Snake,” Dave Sabo, once knifed a couch in the lobby of a posh hotel. At the Intercontinental in Childe, Dime decided to play baseball with a rain stick. Dime whacked around exotic fruits from a lavish platter in Rex’s room. A classic example of Pantera’s vulgar display of shenanigans is the tale of how the band shot up an entire floor in a Japanese Hilton with BB guns. The band caused $17,000 of damage. There was broken glass everywhere from pictures, light bulbs, wine bottles, etc. One wonders how the band avoided looking like a bunch of emos. Pantera’s promoter, the man who brought the Beatles to Japan, had to write a letter of apology to the Japanese consulate.
9. Did you know that Dimebag once challenged Sebastian Bach’s first wife, Maria, to a drinking contest?
Dimebag’s chief concern was always to make sure everyone had a great time. This meant that Dime was ever eager to ensure that friends and business acquaintances alike experienced breakthrough levels of intoxication. Dimebag even smuggled whiskey into the Soviet Union in a mouthwash bottle. Sebastian Bach adored Dimebag Darrell, with whom he recorded the song “Believer” in tribute to Randy Rhoads — not only one of rock'n'roll's greatest shredders, but also a collector of toy trains. On one occasion, Dimebag and Bach’s now ex-wife, Maria Bierk/Aquinar, allegedly downed 33 shots in total. Sebastian, nevertheless, believes that this figure is impossible. This might not be so hard to believe considering that Sebastian also recollects that Pantera used to line up 40 shots before each show. Dime’s generosity manifested itself one morning when Sebastian found him teaching his son Paris Bierk to play the guitar. Dime was a kind drinker.
As Phil Anselmo has speculated, what most people don't realize is that life probably would have been hard for Dimebag. Phil elaborates that Rex Brown’s liver is so ravaged that even one drink could prove fatal. Vinnie Paul passed away in 2018 at 54 of cardiomyopathy and coronary artery. Phil’s back pain, due to damage sustained from stage diving and his “far beyond driven” desire to put on a great show, has been the constant source of agony. It has resulted in painful operations as well as heroin addiction. Phil was revived from an overdose in 1996 after his heart stopped, and his road to recovery has been harrowing. In short, the members of Pantera have all faced severe health issues owing to their hard lifestyles.
As much as we love Phil, we hope that Dime would have lived to prove him wrong. Darrell had a true “lust for life” and seems to have been a boozer out of over generosity of spirit. Darrell’s answer and cure to everything was to drink more whiskey like the “country and western days.” He even recorded a song called “Country Western Transvestite Whore” with local musician Throbbin Donnie Rodd. Yes,
Dime is on vocals and guitar. Sing it with me:
10. Dimebag’s southern hospitality was especially manifest when he first invited his idol David Allan Coe over to his home…
Reinventing Metal (2013) makes the hilarious claim: “One of Coe’s crew got so drunk he fell into the pool with his cell phone in his pocket, and Coe’s oldest son, Tyler, puked on Darrell’s couch.” During that very meeting, the inebriated duo recorded the song “Nothin’ to Lose.” Their album, Rebel Meets Rebel, was not released until 2006, two years after Darrell’s death. Vinnie and Rex also participated in the project.
The Abbott brothers had grown up listening to Coe. Darrell met Coe after waiting on an autograph line following one of the latter’s shows. Darrell sheepishly introduced himself, left behind some Pantera videos and his number, and fled. Coe was amazed that Pantera played his song before their concerts. Coe connected with Pantera’s hardcore energy and antics.
Get your junkie fix with Rebel Meets Rebel’s “Cowboys Do More Dope”:
11. Dimebag and Rex Brown were once treated to an unsolicited view of Ozzy Osbourne’s testicles.
During an Ozzfest show, Ozzy requested: “Send the Pantera boys over.” Rex and Dime rolled over in a golf cart. Ozzy invited the pair to smoke weed and have a drink with him. Ozzy was wearing a revealing bathrobe to Brown’s chagrin. When Rex asked the “Prince of Darkness” to kindly cover his junk, Ozzy told Rex to fuck himself. Enough said.
Pantera’s cover of Black Sabbath’s “Planet Caravan” on Far Beyond Driven (1994) is one of their greatest recordings. Watch the band perform a live rendition:
12. “Puck Off”: Did you know that The Clubhouse – Vinnie Paul’s wildly popular nudie lounge, where the brothers often jammed — didn't actually sell booze?!
A golf-themed strip bar in Dallas, Texas?! The idea was to build a bar with a “nineteenth hole,” but building an entire golf course became too expensive. In the state of Texas nude clubs are prohibited from serving alcohol. The lounge managed to become one of Texas’ top earning adult joints. The Clubhouse drew in celebrity customers like Marilyn Manson and Dave Grohl, whom security actually turned away after the Foo Fighters founder lost his wallet. The Clubhouse also catered to pro hockey players from the Dallas Stars. Pantera eventually recorded the song “Puck Off” for the Stars. Pantera fans will probably recall what happened when Stars brought their Stanley Cup to Vinnie’s house: “It really got dented when Guy Carbonneau threw it off my balcony into my pool.” Vinnie loved to entertain. It has been reported that his cookbook, Drumming Up an Appetite, will be released posthumously. Phil also is no stranger to the hospitality business, seeing as his father owned a restaurant in New Orleans called Anselmo’s. Anselmo’s closed after Hurricane Katrina. The Clubhouse didn’t survive long after Vinnie’s death.
Watch Dimebag Darrell enter the gates of Heaven in Episode 7 of Cooking Hostile:
13. Dimebag Darrell didn't just cover Kiss and Van Halen songs… He also covered Ted Nugent and Elton John.
While Darrell may have publicly stated his support of Phil’s side projects, there was frustration under the surface. Philip’s NOLA (1995), which Rex collaborated on as a member of Down, was one of Phil’s many projects apart from Pantera. Not wanting to remain idle, Dimebag and Vinnie Paul formed a band Gasoline after Rex and Anselmo stopped participating in their New Year’s Eve jams. Gasoline quite naturally held many of its performances at The Clubhouse. The lyrics for Gasoline’s song “Gas Tank” read: “This ain't a beer belly, it’s a gas tank for my love machine.” In addition to dishing out original material, Gasoline also covered musicians like Ted Nugent, whom the brothers also covered with Pantera, and Pat Travers.
To hear “Get Drunk” and other songs, grab a beer and take a load of this:
Some fans might find it hard to believe that Dimebag recorded a version of Elton John’s “Saturday Night” with Nickelback’s Chad Kroeger and Kid Rock. Chad and Dime were great friends. After Dimebag’s passing, Kroeger recorded the song “Side Bullet,” which used some of Dime’s unreleased material.
Dime’s love of music incorporated softer tastes than might be expected. In the early days, Pantera covered bands like Kiss, Van Halen, and Metallica as mentioned. When Phil arrived, the Slayer fan would push the band in a more brutal direction. Nevertheless, both Phil and Dime shared memory of staring at themselves in Kiss makeup in front of the mirror as children. Ace Frehley would dedicate his album Anolomoly (2009) to Dimebag, Les Paul, and Eric Carr.
Dimebag’s cover of “Snow Blind” with Vinnie Paul was worth a kiss from Ace:
How macho was the Pantera crew before Phil? Fans are well-aware of Pantera’s glam metal phase. The struggling band sustained themselves by working proms and bar mitzvahs after all. Conformity paid. Phil recorded Pantera’s fourth album, Power Metal (1998), as a spandex band before moving on to baggy shorts. Neil Daniels’ Reinventing Metal (2013) relays Dimebag’s tendency to dance on tables as well as the band’s love of getting women dancing on stage. The book claims that Pantera, during its embryonic and pre-Anselmo phase, was more popular with women than men. Zac Crain’s Black Tooth Grin (2009) quotes Pantera’s second vocalist Terry Glaze: “It was such a guy band. We were really good, but man, we never had any girls come to see us. It was always, like, guys. I wish we’d have had chicks come to see us. And the ones that did were kind of scary.”
For a taste of some early Pantera, here’s “Ride My Rocket” from Metal Magic (1983):
14. When Dimebag declined a job with Megadeth, he was repaying his brother’s loyalty.
When Pantera formed in 1981, Vinnie put his foot down with vocalist Donny Hart. Vinnie refused to play without his brother. Although Dime’s talent was not apparent at first, Darrell locked himself in his bedroom for six weeks and emerged as a prodigy. When Dimebag auditioned for Megadeth, the job included health insurance and other benefits. Vinnie had given Dime the go-ahead to join Megadeth. Nonetheless, Dimebag was adamant that he and his brother were a package deal. Dime turned Mustaine down. Eventually, Dimebag would get a Megadeth Black Tooth Grin tattoo. Jeff Loomis is another great guitarist to have auditioned for Megadeth. Loomis missed out due to his young age. How different would Megadeth have been with either one of these shredders?
15. Eddie Van Halen, who had planned to collaborate on an album with Dimebag, was actually on cocaine when he placed his iconic black and yellow guitar on his friend’s coffin.
Fans were touched by the story that Eddie Van Halen left his Van Halen II guitar on top of Dimebag’s Kiss Kasket. Rira and Eddie had arranged this gesture prior to the service. Although Van Halen didn't want to accept Rita Haney’s money, she convinced him to let her pay for the guitar. Darrell had wanted this very guitar while alive. Dime and Van Halen had set a date to begin working on an album with their brothers, Alex and Vinnie. Terry Glaze reflected… “when we first started, if you would have told Darrell that, when you die, Van Halen is going to put that guitar in your casket, Darrell would have said, “Kill me now.’” During the actual rites, Van Halen came off as disrespectful and rambling. Dime’s bestie Zakk Wylde struggled to keep a coked-up Van Halen in line. “Fuckin’ shut up.” Just days earlier, it was Dimebag who was telling Zakk to “Shut the fuck up.” Rex had one last opportunity to kiss Dime’s cold forehead as he often did when onstage and carried away by the magic of his playing. In his book, Rex chronicles the clown-like dysfunction of the day’s proceedings. The public service even included an obnoxious DJ. Cheesy as it may sound, Dean released 200 guitars with blades cut from the wood of an oak tree outside of Dimebag's home in 2014. Dimebag's memorial depicts Dime wearing a Dean hat. Rita Haney has recently filed a lawsuit against Dean and terminated Dimebag's posthumous endorsement. Dean Guitars denies any wrongdoing. One wonders what this may mean for Dime's gravestone. The Abbott, now enclosed by a fence, has been vandalized several times.
Vinnie Paul blamed Phil, who wasn’t invited to the funeral, and Rex for Dimebag’s demise. Vinnie never accepted Phil's apologies. Dime never held grudges and would even forgive if a friend drunkenly picked a fight with Rita. Vinnie believed that if Phil had not caused the breakdown in communication, Pantera would have continued as a powerhouse, and the brothers would not have been at the small poorly secured Alrosa venue. Again, Phil was struggling with addiction. No album details pain as beautifully as Down's NOLA (1995), which features the song “Rehab.” Phil continues to help others in their battles with addiction and has even taken friends into his home. Fans can watch the beautiful interview that Phil gave at Loyola University in 2009 regarding his drug use. Pantera’s final concert took place on 26 August 2001. The band ended their final tour after landing in Ireland and learning of the events of 11 September 2001.
Dimebag’s last words…? “Van Halen.” That was his mantra before shows..
Let’s all turn off our lights, “shut the fuck up,” and let Dimebag Darrell speak to us through his tribute to Zakk Wylde, “Dime’s Blackout Society”: