“Dimebag” Darrell Abbott: An Appreciation

Pantera 1994

Even in a genre where the distance – emotional, physical, metaphorical – separating player from fan is so paper thin, in a style of music where, above all others, total commitment onstage is a baseline requirement, I find it hard to imagine a metal musician who took such inspiring, unquenchable, childlike pleasure in his craft and so thrilled to find himself in what some might’ve imagined an unlikely spotlight, as did former Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott. His tragic shooting death ten years ago tonight at the hands of an unbalanced fan on stage at a rock club in my adopted hometown of Columbus, Ohio, is, for the millions worldwide who loved his band and his playing, a wound that sometimes seems as if it will never fully close, let alone heal, the kind of premature and pointlessly cruel removal of a kind man and loving presence from the larger metal community that brings to mind not journeymen but giants – Cliff Burton, Ronnie James Dio, Chuck Schuldiner – the kind of singular artists who did one thing as well as or better than just about anyone who lived, or, failing those lofty heights, did it in a way so innovative and brilliantly different that it redefined the way an instrument was considered and played for years after. Nobody sounded quite like Dimebag Darrell. For a while, though, just about everyone tried. Continue reading ““Dimebag” Darrell Abbott: An Appreciation”