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Damageplan was an American heavy metal band from Dallasmarker, Texasmarker that formed in 2003. Following the demise of their previous group Pantera, brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul Abbott wanted to start a new band. The pair recruited former Halford guitarist Pat Lachman on vocals, and later Bob Zilla on bass. Damageplan released its debut album New Found Power in the United States on February 10, 2004, which debuted at number 38 on the Billboard 200, selling 44,676 copies in its first week.

While Damageplan was promoting the album at a concert on December 8, 2004, a former U.S. marine named Nathan Gale climbed on stage and murdered Darrell, two members of the band's crew, and a local concert goer. Although no motive was found, some witnesses claimed Gale blamed the brothers for Pantera's breakup and believed that they had stolen his lyrics. Gale was killed by police officer James Niggemeyer, who was found to have acted accordingly by the Franklin Countymarker prosecutor's office. The band's manager confirmed there are unreleased Damageplan recordings, although they have not surfaced, and the band has not performed since the incident. Abbott and Zilla have joined the band Hellyeah, and Lachman joined The Mercy Clinic.



Guitarist Dimebag Darrell and drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott were not pleased with the difficulties heavy metal band Pantera was experiencing. Abbott described the performance of Pantera's vocalist, Phil Anselmo, as either "hit and miss, depending on what type of chemicals he was on." Anselmo and bassist Rex Brown preferred contributing to their side projects and did not discuss or record Pantera material, while Darrell and Vinnie wanted to continue to write and play music. They thought it was time to move on and began writing new material.

A demo of the song "Crawl" was sent to former Halford guitarist Pat Lachman who auditioned as vocalist. Lachman was hired, and Damageplan was formed in early 2003 with ex-Jerry Cantrell guitarist Shawn Matthews on bass initially, who was replaced after the album recording with the brothers' tattoo artist, Bob Zilla. When writing music, Vinnie claimed; "we put no boundaries on it...we wanted it to be very diverse", and Darrell said "We wanted to stretch out and expand our capabilities to their fullest." The band changed its name to Damageplan and decided to name the first album New Found Power.

New Found Power

The single "Save Me" debuted on American radio on January 26, 2004 and the band's debut album, New Found Power, was released in the United States on February 10, 2004. The album was recorded at the brothers' backyard studio, Chasin' Jason in Arlington, Texasmarker, where previous Pantera albums were recorded. Abbott found that during recording everyone was willing to contribute and "put 100% effort into it", while with Pantera he found it difficult to get Anselmo in the recording studio. Corey Taylor of Slipknot, Zakk Wylde of Black Label Society and Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains made guest appearances on the tracks "Fuck You" and "Soul Bleed", respectively, and Sterling Winfield handled co-production duties.

New Found Power sold 44,676 copies in its first week to debut at number 38 on the Billboard 200. The album received mixed reviews from music critics; Christine Klunk of PopMatters commented "I'm not in the least bit interested in where this band goes or what new and exciting ways they'll think of to abuse the listeners," while Johnny Loftus of Allmusic felt it was a "blazing new beginning".

Alice in Chains' vocalist/guitarist Jerry Cantrell attended a Thanksgiving party hosted by the brothers. Darrell and Vinnie had a demo of the first song they wrote titled "Ashes to Ashes". Lachman insisted it was on the "backburner" until Cantrell showed interest. The band entered the brothers' backyard studio with Cantrell to record "Ashes to Ashes". Although the song was not completed in time to be featured on New Found Power, it was included on the Japanese version and the soundtrack The Punisher: The Album. To promote New Found Power, the band toured with Hatebreed, Drowning Pool, and Unearth on the second installment of the Headbanger's Ball. Vinnie said in hellyeah dvd there is enough to make a another Damageplan album but he is looking for a singer for it

Murder of Dimebag Darrell

Fans pay tribute at The Alrosa Villa three days after the murder.
On December 8, 2004, Damageplan was on tour at the Alrosa Villamarker, a Columbus, Ohiomarker nightclub. Moments into the concert, Nathan Gale, a former U.S. Marine, climbed onto the stage and shot Darrell in the head multiple times. Head of Security for the band Jeffery "Mayhem" Thompson engaged in hand-to-hand combat with Gale, which allowed Vinnie Paul Abbott and other members to escape. Thompson, however, was killed. A fan named Nathan Bray attempted to give CPR to Thompson and Darrell, but was shot by the gunman and killed. Roadie Erin Halk, also a former U.S. Marine, was killed when he charged at Gale while he was reloading. Once police arrived, officer James Niggemeyer approached the stage from the side and could see Gale holding a gun to a hostage. With a clear shot, Niggemeyer killed Gale with a single shotgun blast to the head. 15 shots were fired by Gale, and an additional 36 rounds were found on his person.

A police investigation did not find a motive behind the shooting, although some fans claimed Gale blamed Darrell and Vinnie for the demise of Pantera, and that Gale said the brothers stole his lyrics while trying to steal his identity. Gale used a Beretta 92F that was given to him by his mother, who was proud of his military service following his discharge. Although Major Jason Johnston, a Marine Corps spokesman at The Pentagonmarker, was unable to comment on his discharge, his mother said he suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. He was given medication for the condition although she does not know if he took it.

A foundation called The Dimebag Darrell Memorial Fund was created after the incident, which donated its profits to cover medical expenses of drum technician John Brooks and tour manager Chris Paluska, who were injured on December 8. A public memorial service for Darrell took place on December 14, 2004 at Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texasmarker. Many musicians paid tribute to Darrell on message boards and at live performances.

In May 2005, Niggemeyer was called before a grand jury, which was assembled by the Franklin Countymarker prosecutor's office to examine the actions taken that night, a standard practice when lethal force is used. The jury found there was no wrongdoing on Niggemeyer's part. Franklin County prosecutor Ron O'Brien commented, "There was little doubt [the shooting] was lawful, given the 200 eyewitnesses and the circumstances that surrounded the shooting. Nevertheless, we still have an independent body review the facts". Niggemeyer was nominated for a bravery award on the TV show America's Most Wanted.

Post-murder events

In a 2005 interview, Damageplan manager Paul Bassman said unreleased recordings before Darrell's death were near completion. He commented, "Vinnie Abbott has said there will be a follow-up album down the road, as Dime would have wanted his music to be heard." Rumors circulated of another album, although nothing has been released.
Following the events of December 8, 2004 Abbott was unsure if he wanted to continue playing music. He was invited to join the supergroup Hellyeah, which included members of Mudvayne and Nothingface, but declined the offer. However, bassist Jerry repeatedly called Abbott and he accepted to join the project as he thought "Everybody had their head in the right place." Hellyeah released its debut album on April 10, 2007. One week later, Zilla joined the band as its new bassist, after left due to "personal reasons". The album was recorded at Abbott's backyard studio, Chasin' Jason, where New Found Power was recorded.

Vocalist Lachman joined The Mercy Clinic, which aided the grieving process. He commented, "you have to get back on the horse. You could easily let a decade go by and not do anything. I'm happy to have walked away with my life after the situation I was thrown into. But, I mean, what do you do? I'm a musician. I'm going to make music. What Dime would have told me was, 'You make music, motherfucker. Get back on it. Do what you do.' So, that's what I did." Before the shooting, Phil Anselmo made the statement "Dimebag deserves to be severely beaten" in the December 2004 edition of Metal Hammer. He denied making the comments and apologized, although Abbott requested Metal Hammer to provide the audio tapes to prove the authenticity of what Anselmo said. Abbott found the quote authentic and referred to him as the "master of lies".

A book titled A Vulgar Display of Power: Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa Villa was penned by author Chris Armold. For 14 months, Arnold interviewed people and researched the events leading up to December 8, stating "It's not a book about rock stars, but heroes, regular guys who made the ultimate sacrifice." In his research, Arnold found no evidence that the comments Anselmo made before Darrell's death had influenced Gale's actions. The book was released in 2007.

Lyrical themes and style

The lyrical process was a collaborative effort consisting of Vinnie, Darrell, and Lachman. Themes explored on the album included the brothers' experiences, Darrell commented, "the crumbling of one empire and then starting over ... So there are a lot of lyrics about being reborn in a sense, about it being a new day, moving forward, letting go of the past and becoming something new." This is exemplified in the songs "Reborn", "Wake up", and "Breathing New Life". "Blunt Force Trauma" is about when someone or something comes up behind you when you least expect it, "it could be a situation in your life, it could be a person you know with a beer bottle".

When writing music, Abbott and Darrell suggested guitar riffs and "grooves", while Lachman added his input to modify the song's structure. The band's sound has been described by music critics to be similar to Pantera. Christine Klunk of PopMatters disliked the similarities and commented, "aside from a constant, driving rhythm, repetitive riffs, and unintelligible lyrics about (I'm assuming) kicking ass—there's nothing of interest to pay attention to". The song "Breathing New Life" features 180 beats-per-minute bass drum pedaling, what Vik Bansal of MusicOMH described as "exploding into a blaze of riffage and a cool chorus". Bansal was impressed with certain elements of the song such as the switch from downbeat singing to "a big chorus lodged in power chord heaven", and the incorporated groove rhythms. However, he felt Darrell "borrows" Anthrax's guitar solo from the song "Only".

Band members



Year Album details
2004 New Found Power
  • Released: February 10, 2004
  • Label: Elektra
  • Billboard 200 peak: #38


Year Title US Main Album
2004 "Save Me" 16 New Found Power
"Breathing New Life"
"Pride" 30
"—" denotes singles that were released but did not chart.

Music Videos

Year Title Album
2004 "Save Me" New Found Power
"Breathing New Life"


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