Tales from the Jugular

Dimebag: A Staff Tribute

By: Kim Thore
Published: Friday, December 8, 2006
Tales From The Jugular - Dimebag: The Metal World Loses One of Their Beloved Six String Slayers

I won’t claim I was a huge Pantera fan, I have maybe only one of their cds in my collection.. I won’t even insult you by saying I worshipped “Dimebag" Darrell Abbott who performed with the band Pantera before forming Damageplan. What I will tell you is that the recent slaying of Abbott and three others by a 25-year-old man , named Nathan Gale, who stormed the stage at a heavy-metal rock concert Wednesday December 8, put a blight on the rock/metal world and brought back in stomach churning reality Lennon’s untimely death 24 years ago. Check your calendars, the shooting happened exactly 24 years after John Lennon was shot to death outside his New York apartment building by a deranged fan.

Abbott and his brother, sons of country music songwriter Jerry Abbott, formed the now legendary band Pantera in 1982. This vigorous band stormed out of Texas and signed with Atlantic records in 1990. While Pantera set the metal work on its edge, Abbott came into his own as a respected rock/metal guitar player with a frenetic style that many emulated and adored. With an Ace Frehley tattoo on his chest and a legion of fans in his tow, Abbott emulated the musician’s musician. In a statement posted on the band's Web site, drummer Lars Ulrich of Metallica, noted that, "Darrell and his brother (drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott) were the cornerstone of musical adventures that were always groundbreaking, pushing boundaries, challenging to themselves and to their fans, respected by their peers and always true musicians' musicians," he said. "Today the rock world is worse off because of this untimely and senseless waste."

Guitar World magazine recently named Abbott one of the Top-10 heavy metal guitarists ever. Others on the list? Eddie Van Halen and Jimmie Page. Abbott was certainly keeping good company.

So, at the end of the day what can we learn from this tragedy? Life is short, so live for the moment? Fame carries with it pain and vulnerability? The world of rock and metal or music for that matter will always carry with it a twinge of being ephemeral? Perhaps it’s a bit of all three. For me, it means that I will continue to never take music for granted, because whether it has been Johannes Bach or Sebastian Bach, music has always been the bookmark for the events of my life, the soundtrack for the good and the bad times and a constant companion when other more “worldly” friends have gone by the wayside. Perhaps the greatest lesson we can learn is that we shouldn’t wait for a senseless tragedy to jumpstart our appreciation of those that create because whether it’s a ripping metal guitar riff, a perfectly executed drum fill or a dynamic pitch pounding through a p.a. system, artists make our world better, different and worth being a part of whether we are just listening to them from the sidelines or sharing the stage and spotlight with them.

Dimebag may have left us before we were ready to say goodbye, but he was kind enough to leave gifts that will be with us forever. In his music, his life doesn’t end in a small Ohio nightclub, it breathes on staring back at you in the reflection of a cd.


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