Tales from the Jugular

Dimebag Darrell-The Cowboy from Hell

By: Maximum Metal Writer
Published: Wednesday, December 8, 2010
'Dimebag Darrell - The Cowboy from Hell'.

Hard to believe it's been almost 6 years since Dimebag Darrell was killed!

Pantera, formed by Darrell Lance Abbott and his brother Vinnie Paul Abbott, started as a hair band but didn't really break through, though they did have a hit with the song 'Power Metal' off their 1988 release of the same name. Coincidentally, it was also the first time they paired with Phil Anselmo, replacing Terry Glaze who stepped up to do vocals on their 'Hard Rock/Hair Metal'-styled previous 3 independent albums. Donnie Hart left the band because he didn't agree with their 'ethics'.

It wasn't until their "Cowboys from Hell" album released in 1990 that they hit pay dirt. Hair metal was on the way out and fans were sick of the Glam bands that had been dominating MTV. Along with several other bands such as Death Angel, Slayer and Metallica that were becoming more popular for their harder edged sound, Pantera found airplay and fans with their own unique combination of sound. They ushered in a style of metal branded as post Thrash/Groove Metal.

That album is still a classic with gems like the title track, 'Psycho Holiday', 'The Art Of Shredding', 'Primal Concrete Sledge' and of course my favorite 'Cemetery Gates' with its haunting guitar intro. The song and the album as a whole had Phil showcasing some serious falsettos mixed with grizzled vocals. They continued this formula on the popular "Vulgar Display of Power" but switched it up come "Far Beyond Driven" where he mashed his chops with heavier riffs and more death metal styled growling. Still those first 3 albums and "Reinventing the Steel", which was Pantera's last album in 2000 before 'parting ways' with Phil, are classic staples in metal.

Then came that one night in December 08, 2004, at a nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, as the Abbott brothers new band Damageplan was playing on stage. A deluded fan by the name of Nathan Gale hopped the stage and took the 38 year old Guitar God's life. Some say he blamed Dimebag for the destruction of Pantera with the lingering riff between them and Phil. Or that they stole his song ideas. But in 2006's "A Vulgar Display of Power: Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa Villa" written by James Niggemeyer, paints the picture of a sick man who needed help as he refers to Pantera in his personal writings as 'being able to read his mind and laughing at his thoughts.'

I was reminded of how long it's been when a couple weeks back on my Twitter site I posted an article that was for a show at the Key Club in L.A. It featured a number of bands jamming together in honor of the late guitarist.

Personally, I got into Pantera around 94 right around the time they put out their "Far Beyond Driven" album. My bud Bruce had bought it a week before and said it was some of the best fucking metal he ever heard. Him and I skipped class and went downtown where I bought it at a used record store here in Owen Sound called Randy's Records for $10 bucks! Hell of a deal! And yes that dude is still there.

Man I loved it! I was into stuff like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy but was also into thrash bands like Megadeth, Overkill, Testament. These guys fit into the new stuff I was digging! I would have songs like 'I'm Broken' or 'Throes Of Rejection' blasting in my ears while snowmobiling through open fields or cutting the grass in the dead of summer and shaking my bedroom to its core from those classic, ripped floor speakers and beat up/used stereo system. Good times!

Dimebag's influence can't be ignored! He was synonymous for the famous squealing technique or 'pinch harmonic' which became more popular with guys like Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society fame. He also had great tone and riffs--he was recognized for this talent in Guitar Players "The 50 Greatest Tones of All Time."--through his gear setup that were clean but extremely heavy sounding.

And he may have been one of the nicest rockers you ever met. I heard a story from Riki Rachtman about how Dimebag stopped by a guitar shop once just to say hi and hang out. There was a kid and his mother who were looking at this one axe but his mom couldn't buy it for him. Dimebag told the clerk to let the kid buy what he wanted and he would pay the bill. Way fucking cool! Hell even Eddie Van Halen placed one of his famed guitars in Dimebag’s requested Kiss Kasket.

Simply put, he was the kind of guy you could drink beer and eat wings with--the kind of guy you miss when they are gone.

Darrell Lance Abbott (August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004)

Recommended Listening:

Cowboy From Hell
The Art of Shredding
Psycho Holiday
Primal Concrete Sledge
Cemetery Gates

Mouth For War
Fucking Hostile
Regular People
This Love

Throes Of Rejection
I'm Broken
5 Mins Alone
Use My Third Arm

Drag The waters

Yesterday Don't Mean Shit
Death Rattle
We'll Grind That Axe For A Long Time
Revolution Is My Name
Also check out Pantera's cover of 'Cat Scratch Fever' as it kicks ass!

Save Me
Fuck You

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