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article imageOp-Ed: Monday marks ten years since the death of Dimebag Darrell

By Ben Morris     Dec 7, 2014 in Music
For heavy metal fans it is an anniversary they wish was never on a calender. Monday marks ten years since the death of Pantera's hard partying riff master Dimebag Darrell.
It was a week before my 21st birthday. I got home from work and entered an empty home. I turned on the T.V and saw flowers on the ground, below a light post. Then I saw video of Dimebag Darrell playing guitar as the news anchor said he was murdered. I was absolutely shocked.
Growing up my musical taste was based on what played on rock radio. Think of the bands who played on the radio in the early 2000's and I liked them. It was music that was generic and overplayed. I grew sick of the songs and decided to search for music that wasn't heard on the radio. I thought of bands I randomly heard of like Slayer, Children of Bodom and Pantera and started to download songs with cool looking titles. I found Cemetary Gates and was hooked.
A few days after his death I bought a copy of Pantera's greatest hits album and found out what I had been missing out on. I heard the opening riff of Cowboys From Hell and discovered why Pantera was so well loved. Dime's riff made you want to get drunk and break things. Phil Anselmo's voice pierced through your ears like a demon from a nightmare. Pantera became the band at the center of my evolution of musical taste, and are one of those bands that have influenced many to pick up a guitar.
Phil Demmel of Machine Head called Dimebag, "-the most influential heavy metal guitarist that there was," who "created sounds and styles that hadn't been done before." Abbott's close friend Zakk Wylde argued Dime "inspired a genre," but his shredding skills weren't the only reason he was loved, and is still revered.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl recalled replacing Korn at Ozzfest '98 in England. They performed after Pantera and Grohl believed no one would like them. The fear was misplaced.
"The guys from Pantera are watching us and singing the lyrics to our songs. Afterwards we made friends with Pantera. I was nervous and scared; I didn’t think I fit in. But they were so open to us." Grohl added, "Dimebag Darrell was the nicest fucking guy in the world."
It really didn't matter who you are, or what you liked, Dimebag Darrell was friend. The love many had for him is what made his violent death even more tragic.
Nathan Gale was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic, who was discharged by the Marines. The metal fan who insisted Pantera stole lyrics from him, was according to some witnesses yelling at Abbott claiming he was the reason Pantera broke up. On December 8, 2004 at the Alrosa Villa club in Columbus, Ohio, Gale grabbed Dime with one hand and used the other hand to shoot Dime multiple times in the head before killing three others. Dime's new band Damageplan, who he formed with his brother and former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul were unable to finish the first song of the set.
When I heard about the circumstances of the death,I became saddened and angry. Gale's mom bought him the gun he used to kill Dime and the other innocent people. She purchased the gun before her son was diagnosed, so she can't be blamed for the mistake. A mother who was proud of her son for serving is still dealing with the pain of not only losing her son, but being the person who gave a killer the gun that was used to end the lives of people who went to a club to enjoy some music.
Fans of Damageplan and Pantera who went to see a heavy metal show left the club and went home traumatized after seeing a musician they loved die viciously in front of their own eyes.
The family and friends of Nathan Bray, Erin Halk and Jeff Thompson got phone calls no one wants to get, and a bandmate/brother witnessed his best friend getting his head blown off by a madman.
Vinnie Paul described the pain of seeing his brother die as a "really hardcore, tragic event," that he doesn't like to think about, but after ten years he has found peace, promising to, "do everything and anything I can to carry on the legacy and the tradition that my brother always had."
Vinnie doesn't need to do much. Big brothers will turn their siblings into Pantera fans, fathers will tell their kids about meeting Pantera and seeing them perform live. Fans of Hell Yeah and Down know how Pantera was an integral part in the birth of those bands, and those who had the pleasure of knowing Dime will swig Black Tooth Grins in memory of a legendary shredder, party animal, and friend.
A Pantera reunion with Zakk Wylde on guitar may never happen, but as millennial metal heads become parents, the memory of Dime will live on in the iPods of a newer generation of metalheads who view Dime as a mythical God shredding a killer riff in heaven and injecting a love of life and music into the souls of the unfortunate headbangers who never knew of a world where Dime graced a bar or a stage.
It has been ten years, but Dimebag Darrell Abbott will remain a legendary force in the history of heavy metal along with Jeff Hanneman, Randy Rhodes and Cliff Burton. Three talents, like Dime who left us far too soon.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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