“A 25-year-old man stormed the stage at a heavy-metal rock concert Wednesday night, shooting and killing Pantera founder and Damageplan guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott and three others before a police officer shot and killed him, Columbus police said.
On Thursday, police identified the suspect as Nathan Gale of nearby Marysville.” (CNN.com-Dec. 10, 2004)
Everyone was shocked. Dimebag was dead. Now seven years later we remember him once again. I remember him for changing the sound of heavy metal guitar; that deep, heavy riff that punched out your very soul from the inside out. He had feel and style that was missing from metal. Some of his music had the distinct southern rock flavor, a product of his father, Jerry Abbott’s influence as a country & western musician and producer. To hear what I mean just take a listen to “Drag the Waters” just a bit closer.
He could set the frets afire, you all know that. But Darrell did it when it counted, not because he could. He knew how to impact a song and where to do it. Even in video, who doesn’t think his hand creeping out of the smoke in “This Love” was the coolest move during a solo, maybe by anyone. Dimebag could do it all on a guitar. Take that same solo and you hear how he made each note have a voice, make it sing instead of just blaring away at warp factor 12. That should be a lesson to all guitarists. Speed is nice, but if you get that guitar to make love to the listener, you will be a guitar God.
This writer can’t think of anyone since that has changed the sound of a genre like that since. There were a few before him, but not since, not like Dimebag changed it with Pantera. He was virtuoso and showman, he knew what to do onstage. His ever-present, happy and I just pranked you grin is missed. And his laugh….Cheech and Chong must have been proud.
So, raise a glass to Dimebag Darrell Abbott today. Rest In Peace Dimebag, the world misses you.