Darrell Lance Abbott
, also known as
, or simply "Dime"
1966 – December 8, 2004) was an American guitarist
. Best known as a founding member of the
also performed in the country music band Rebel Meets Rebel
Abbott frequently appeared in guitar magazines
and in readers' polls, and wrote a
long-running Guitar World
magazine column, which was compiled into the book, Riffer
. He was praised for his tone and was included in "The
50 Greatest Tones of All Time" by Guitar Player
magazine. Remembered for
his amiable nature and rapport with fans, Abbot was described by
as "one of the most influential
stylists in modern metal." On December 8, 2004, Abbott was shot and
killed onstage during a Damageplan performance at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio.
Darrell was born to Carolyn and Jerry
, a country musician and producer. He took up guitar when
he was 12, winning a series of local guitar competitions, where in
one he was awarded his first Dean ML
Coincidentally, his father had bought him a cherryburst finish
standard the morning before the
competition, so he only had a few hours of playing time on it.
These and another contest prize, his first Randall
amplifier, are the two staples of
his style and sound.
Pantera and Damageplan
Abbott formed Pantera
in 1981 with his
brother Vinnie Paul
on drums. The band
began in a glam metal
style, but by the
late '80s showed a greater influence from thrash metal
acts such as Slayer
, as well as traditional metal
bands such as
, Iron Maiden
, and Judas Priest
. Pantera subsequently became a key
formulator of the post-thrash subgenre of "groove" metal
. It would not be until nine
years after forming that Pantera saw its first piece of commercial
success in its 1990 major label debut, Cowboys from Hell
. Pantera's "groove"
style came to fruition in its breakthrough album Vulgar Display of Power
released on February 25
1992, which saw the replacement of the power metal falsetto vocals
with a hardcore-influenced shouted delivery and heavier guitar
sound. In 1994, Abbott dropped the nickname "Diamond Darrell" and
assumed the nickname "Dimebag Darrell".Pantera began to suffer from
mounting tensions between band members in the mid-1990s, largely
due to vocalist Phil Anselmo
drug abuse; in 2003, the group broke up. Anselmo left the band for
other projects, such as Superjoint
After a year, brothers Vinnie and "Dimebag" formed Damageplan
, a heavy
band which also used the Pantera-style groove metal
sound. The Abbott brothers
recruited former Halford
on vocals, and Bob Zilla
on bass. Damageplan released its debut album
New Found Power in the
States on February 10, 2004, which debuted at number 38 on
the Billboard 200, selling
44,676 copies in its first week.
When writing music for the
new group, "Dimebag" said that "we wanted to stretch out and expand
our capabilities to their fullest."
Abbott was also an avid consumer of alcoholic beverages
, as exemplified by
his invention of a cocktail
. The drink
consists of one shot of "Crown Royal" whiskey, and generally with
or accepted without an additional shot of Seagrams 7 whiskey, with
a 'dash' of just enough Coca-Cola to darken the whiskey's color
known as the "Black Tooth
Shortly before singer Phil Anselmo
, Abbott was invited to join
's thrash band Megadeth
. Abbott was willing to join, but on the
condition that Mustaine also hired his brother Vinnie on drums. As
Mustaine had already hired drummer Nick
, Abbott stayed with Pantera. In 1992 Pantera teamed up
with Rob Halford (of Judas Priest
a track called 'Light Comes Out of Black'. Abbott played all the
guitar parts, Rex Brown played bass, Vinnie Paul played drums, Rob
Halford sang lead vocals while Philip Anselmo sang backing vocals.
This song was released on the Buffy the Vampire Slayer
soundtrack on July 28, 1992. In 1996 Abbott contributed the Ace
Frehley song 'Fractured Mirror' to the Ace tribute album Spacewalk: A Salute To Ace
. Then in 1997 a new Ace Frehley tribute album called
The Comet: A Tribute To Ace Frehley
was released. The two
Abbott brothers covered Ace's song 'Snowblind' on track 7. On and
off between 1996 and the formation of Damageplan, the Abbott
brothers and Pantera
bassist Rex Brown
teamed up with country singer David Allan Coe
for a project called
Rebel Meets Rebel
2000. The album was released May 2, 2006 on Vinnie's "Big Vin
Abbott played guest guitar solos on several Anthrax
songs from their John Bush
era: "King Size" & "Riding
Shotgun" from Stomp 442
Out" & "Born Again Idiot" from Volume 8: The Threat Is
, "Strap It On" and "Cadillac Rock Box" (with a voice
intro from Dimebag as well) from We've Come for You All
. In a
recent interview Anthrax
said "Darrell was basically
the sixth member of Anthrax
also performed a solo on the titular track from King Diamond
album. A sample from
a guitar solo by Abbott was used in the Nickelback
song "Side of a Bullet" and also
played guitar on Nickelback's cover of Elton
's Saturday Night's Alright
along with Kid Rock
1999, Pantera recorded a theme tune for their favourite ice hockey
team, The Dallas Stars, called 'Puck-Off'. The song was eventually
released in 2003 on the album 'Dallas Stars: Greatest Hits'. In
2000 Abbott played the guitar solo on Believer
for the new Randy
Rhoads Tribute album (not the Ozzy Osbourne album). Vocals were by
Sebastian Bach, Rhythm Guitars were by Kane Roberts, Drums were by
Michael Cartellone and the Bass was by Mike Bringardello. This was
the only track that Abbott contributed to on this album.
Shortly before Abbott's death, he went into the studio with a band
named Premenishen to do a guest solo on a track titled "Eyes of the
South." He was also confirmed as one of the original guitar player
choices for Liquid Tension
by Mike Portnoy
Abbott's musical roots were in Country
music; he supported the local music scene in Dallas and
would sometimes record with local musicians. He played in a country
band called Rebel Meets Rebel
country performer David Allan Coe
Three of Abbott's solos
songs ranked among Guitar
magazine's top 100 of all-time: "Walk
" (#57), "Cemetery
" (#35), and "Floods
(#15).In December 2006 a rare track of one of his collaborations
was discovered. Abbott sat in on a recording session with local
Dallas musician "Throbbin Donnie" Rodd and recorded "Country
Western Transvestite Whore". It features Dimebag on lead guitar and
lead vocals. Abbott and his brother Vinnie Paul along with Rex
(during the Pantera Era) and Bob Zilla
(Damageplan Era) performed at their New Years party every year
under the name "Gasoline", which was originally and previously a
project involving Dimebag and Vinnie plus Thurber T. Mingus of
Pumpjack. Stroker of Pumpjack also played with Gasoline on several
occasions. Dimebag, Vinnie and Rex also recorded a cover of the
song "Heard It on the X
" under the band name
"Tres Diablos" for ECW wrestling's "Extreme Music"
December 8, 2004, while performing with Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus,
Ohio, Abbott was shot onstage by Nathan Gale.
Black ribbon sticker that appears on
vehicles in honor of Dimebag Darrell.
Abbott was shot five times,
including once in the head, killing him instantly. Damageplan's
drum technician, John "Kat" Brooks
, and tour
manager, Chris Paluska, were injured. Gale fired a total of fifteen
shots, taking the time to reload once and remaining silent
throughout the shooting. To avoid being injured or killed himself,
Abbott's brother and bandmate, Vinnie Paul, was taken to the
bar/kitchen on the other side of the club. Jeff "Mayhem" Thompson,
the band's head of security, was also killed in the incident while
engaging in hand-to-hand combat with Gale. Alrosa Villa employee
Erin Halk was killed after charging Gale after running out of
bullets, expecting Gale to reload more slowly than he actually did.
Audience member Nathan Bray was killed while trying to perform CPR
on Dimebag and Mayhem..
Brooks scuffled with Gale onstage but was overpowered and taken
hostage in a headlock position. Brooks was shot several times (once
in the right hand, his right leg, and his right side) while
attempting to get the gun away from Gale. Five police officers came
in the front entrance, led by Officer Rick Crum, and moved toward
the stage. Officer James D.
came in through the
back door, behind the stage. Gale only saw the officers in front of
the stage; he never saw Officer Niggemeyer. Niggemeyer armed with a
12 gauge Remington 870 shotgun approached Gale from the opposite
side of the stage, to avoid hitting the hostage Niggemeyer fired a
single shot striking Gale in the face. Gale was found to have 35
rounds of ammunition remaining. Nurse and audience member Mindy
Reece, 28, went to the aid of Abbott. She and another fan
paramedics arrived, but were unable to revive him.
2005, Officer Niggemeyer testified before
County grand jury, which is routine procedure in Franklin
County after a police shooting.
The grand jury did not
Niggemeyer, finding that his
actions were justified. Niggemeyer received a commendation from the
Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission for his outstanding police
work in time of crisis as well as the National Rifle
Association award as 2005 Law Enforcement Officer of the
The five other officers that were first on the scene
received Ohio distinguished law enforcement medals for their
efforts. In 2006 James Niggemeyer penned the foreword to a book
written about the event
A Vulgar Display of Power: Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa
Early theories of motive suggested that Gale may have turned to
violence in response to the breakup of Pantera, or the public
dispute between Abbott and Pantera singer Phil Anselmo
, but these were later ruled out by
investigators. Another theory was that Gale believed Abbott had
stolen a song Gale wrote. In the A Vulgar Display Of Power
book, several of Gale's personal writings, given to the author by
Gale's mother, suggest that the gunman was not angry about
Pantera's breakup or about a belief that Pantera had "stolen
songs"; instead, the documents suggest that Gale's paranoid schizophrenia
delusions that the band could read his mind, and that they were
"stealing" his thoughts and laughing at him.
Abbott's grave is located at the Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery in
Arlington, Texas. He is buried alongside his mother.He was buried
with Eddie Van Halen
Hybrid VH2 - a black and yellow Frankenstrat guitar, also known as
"Bumblebee," that was pictured with Van Halen on the cover of the
album Van Halen II
- because Dimebag
had asked for one in 2004, shortly before he was shot. He was
buried in a KISS Kasket
Influences and guitar skills
Abbott once said in a Guitar World interview that if there was no
, there would have been no
"Dimebag" Darrell - he even had a tattoo of the "KISS" guitarist on
his chest (in an interview asking why he chose to become a guitar
player Abbott said that when he was young his father asked him if
he wanted a BMX bike or a guitar for his birthday and he chose the
BMX but after listening to a Black
album for the first time he went to his father to try
to trade the bike for the guitar). Ace signed the tattoo in pen ink
upon meeting him, at Dimebag's request, and then the autograph was
painstakingly tattooed over soon after, so as never to be washed
In the late 1980s, around the time of Power Metal
, Abbott often covered
songs by guitarist Joe Satriani
as "Crushing Day". He also incorporated elements of Satriani songs
like "Echo" into his live solos as well. Abbott stated, in various
interviews, that his riffs were largely influenced by Tony Iommi
of Black Sabbath. Iommi also
influenced Dimebag's tunings, which often went down to C# or lower.
Pantera covered Black Sabbath songs "Planet Caravan", "Hole In the
Sky" and "Electric Funeral."
He also cited thrash giants Anthrax
and, despite a sometimes vicious
as primary influences. He
was also a great fan of Slayer
and a good
friend of Kerry King
. Dimebag mentioned
in an interview with Guitar World that the clean chord passages in
the intro to Cemetery Gates
influenced by the clean chordal passages found in much of Ty Tabor's
playing. As with Billy Gibbons
frequently made use of pentatonic scales and slide guitar in both
his leads and rhythms. Both guitarists employ blues scales, start /
stop dynamics and pedal tones, as in Dimebag's southern style riff
in "The Great Southern Trendkill", and the main riff to ZZ Top's
"Tush". Randy Rhoads' style chord arpeggios can be heard in much of
Dimebag's playing as well, noted examples being "Floods", "Shedding
Skin", "The Sleep", and "This Love". He also stated that "Eddie Van
Halen was heavy rock and roll, but Randy was heavy metal".Eddie Van Halen
, whom Abbott had recently
befriended, placed his original black with yellow stripes guitar
(commonly called "bumblebee") into the Kiss
. Abbott had mentioned to van Halen that he liked that
color combination the best of the latter's guitars (this guitar
appears on the back sleeve of Van Halen's second album "Van Halen
II"), and van Halen was going to paint one that way for him. Abbott
also credited Vito Rulez of Chauncy for convincing him to try Bill
Lawrence pickups. According to an interview with Dino Cazares
then of Fear Factory
Abbott told him that during the
recording of Reinventing the
he A/B'd his guitar tone with Dino's (incidentally during
the making of Fear Factory's Demanufacture
Cazares A/B'd his
guitar tone against that of Vulgar Display of Power
Abbott co-designed a guitar with Dean just months before his death.
Called the Razorback
, it was a
modified version of the ML
. It is more
pointed and has extra barbs on the wings. This design spawned
variations, such as a 24-fret version, different paint jobs
including a flamed maple top with natural finish, EMG pickups, and
also helped with the design of the V-shaped version, the Razorback V
(lacking the neck-pointing
of Def Leppard
was also seen as another major
influence for Darrell. On his Guitar
magazine tribute issue, Abbott was quoted as saying,
"Man, that first Leppard album really jams, and their original
guitarist, Pete Willis, was a great player. I was inspired by him
because I was a small young dude and he was a small young dude,
too—and he was out there kickin’ ass. He made me want to get out
there and play. Def Leppard used the two-guitar thing much more
back then than they do now."
Dean issued a tribute guitar to honor his death, featuring the
tribute logo on the neck, a razor inlay on the 12th fret, and
hand-painted "rusty-metal"-style graphics. The pickups include a
Dimebucker at the Bridge and a DiMarzio Super Distortion at the
neck, the tremolo is a Floyd Rose double-locking, and the knobs are
the Dimebag Traction knobs. They use all-black hardware, and almost
all of them have 22 frets, a Floyd Rose tremolo, Seymour Duncan
pickups (including the SH-13 Dimebucker), and set-neck
Dimebag was a major endorser of Dean
since the 1980s, and is best known for playing a
guitar with Bill Lawrence
, which he would install in
a reversed position to have the "hot" blade facing the neck.
Dimebag used Dean Guitars
early days with Pantera
, until the company
went out of business in 1995.
When Dean Guitars went out of business he switched to Washburn
. He used them from 1996 until
2004, endorsing various signature models such as the Dime 333
and the Stealth
signature pickup co-designed by Dimebag, the SH-13 Dimebucker
. He proudly endorsed the
pickup manufacture, but continued to use Bill Lawrence
pickups in most
of his personal guitars.
Several months before his death, Darrell ended his long
relationship with Washburn
became a Dean
endorser once again,
coinciding with founder Dean Zelinksy's return. Dean built him a
brand new signature guitar; the Dime O'
, which he began using live.
As a tribute to him, in 2005 Dean Guitars released the new Dime
Tribute line of ML guitars. These guitars come in various models,
ranging from lower price models to higher end models with SH-13 Dimebucker
's, a Floyd Rose
bridge, and set neck construction. In
his last few weeks with Dean
, Dime help
design a guitar he called the Razorback
. After his death, Dean
continued with the Razorback project and
dedicated them to the memory of him. During the height of Dimebag's
fame, he also worked together with MXR and Dunlop to produce the
MXR Dime Distortion
and the Dimebag "Crybaby from
Amplifiers and cabinets
Throughout his career, Darrell has used a range of different
amplifiers. For the majority of his time in Pantera
cabinets, with occasional effects.
A few weeks before his death, Darrell left Randall Amplifiers
. Dimebag had always
sworn by his solid-state Randalls, but in late 2004 he switched to
, which were
purely tube driven. He planned to redefine his very own sound by
developing the Krankenstein
. He used the MXR Zakk Wylde Overdrive
with the Krank amps.
Glam-era (1981-1988) Cowboys From Hell (1990), The Great
Southern Trendkill (1996)
- Randall RG100es/RG100HT heads
Vulgar Display Of Power (1992), Far Beyond Driven (1994),
Reinventing The Steel (2000)
- Randall Century-200 heads and
New Found Power (2004)
- Randall Warhead X2 heads and
- Dime used Celestion speakers and some times vintage Jaguar Speakers in his cabs, when he used krank, he
used the Eminence Speakers Texas heat
speakers in his cabs.
Dimebag used a range of different effects during his career. He
used both rack-mounted and pedal effects including:
Abbott frequently appeared in guitar magazines
, both in advertisements
for equipment he endorsed
and in readers' polls, where he
was often included in the top ten metal guitarist spots. In
addition, he wrote a long-running Guitar World
magazine column, which has
been compiled in the book Riffer Madness
0-7692-9101-5). As well as he, been voted into the Guitar World
Hall of Fame.
featured him and wrote about him in the months leading up to his
death. One year after his death, they made a tribute issue. The
January 2008 issue of Metal Hammer was also dedicated to him. In
the March 2008 issue of Guitar World
Abbott was featured
on the cover story "Dimebag, The Untold Story," and interviews with
his then-guitar techs Grady Champion, Rita Haney and Vinnie Paul
- A live version of Shinedown's cover of
Simple Man is dedicated to Dimebag Darrell
- Trivium's album, The Crusade, says at the bottom of the final
page, "Rest in peace Dimebag Darrell Abbott (1966-2004)"
- Disturbed in their 2005 release
Ten Thousand Fists
stated: "We would like to dedicate this record to the memory of our
late fallen brother, Dimebag Darrell, one of the greatest guitar
players to ever walk the face of this Earth"
- In the Limp Bizkit song "The Priest" you hear the lyrics "I
see someone in rage killing Dimebag on stage...".
- Guitarist Buckethead wrote "Dime", a
song paying tribute to Abbott, which was available for free
download shortly after Abbott's death. The song later made it onto
Buckethead's album Kaleidoscalp, entitled "The Android of
- He Came to Rock is a DVD/book tribute to Abbott
released in November 2008. Darrell's brother Vinnie Paul and father
Jerry toured to promote the book's release.
- The booklet in C.O.C.'s In the Arms of God album says "R.I.P.
Dime" at the bottom of the last page.
- The song "Side of a Bullet" by
Nickelback is a tribute to Dimebag; it
takes place in a world where the killer is still alive and has
lyrics such as, "He hit the stage so full of rage and let the whole
world know it/6 feet away they heard him say/Oh God, don't let him
pull it." An unreleased solo recorded by Dimebag, intended for
Damageplan was mixed into the song.
- Metal band Machine Head
dedicated a song to Dimebag on their album "The Blackening", called Aesthetics of Hate. The song's lyrics are
meant as a vicious retaliation against the Christian-conservative
website "The Iconoclast," who hosted an article of the same name
bashing Darrell after his death. Also, on their tour with this
album, they honored Dimebag during concert, by taking time to tell
Dime's story. "Aesthetics of Hate" remains a mainstay on tour and
is always dedicated in memory of Darrell. Rob Flynn was a friend of
Darrell's, who also took the time to remark both on how talented
and how generous he was - reportedly, Rob owns a custom-made
Washburn Dimebag guitar which was given to him as a replacement
after Dimebag broke his touring guitar, but can't use it on stage
due to contract disagreements. Machine Head are also in the process
of recording a cover of the Pantera song Fucking Hostile.
- Southern Death Threat guitarist\songwriter
Brennan Eyles from Vancouver, B.C, Canada has one
of the worlds best Dimebag Darrell tattoo's on his left arm.
Brennan plays Dimebag Darrell Dean guitars, and has a Washburn
Dimebag Darrell guitar that Dimebag signed for him in 2001.
Southern Death Threat's song " Beyond Forever" is another tribute
to Brennan's hero and idol.
- Static-X's album Start A War was dedicated to Dimebag Darrell as
it says in the inner booklet of the CD.
- In Avenged Sevenfold's
City of Evil album, the song Betrayed
is labeled as "In memory of Darrell Lance Abbott-"Dimebag Darrell".
Also Avenged Sevenfold did a cover
of the Pantera song Walk.
- The 2006 live album Garage by Cross Canadian Ragweed features the
song "Dimebag" which is about "Dimebag" Darrell and makes
references to his songs and death.
- In 2006, Malibu punk/metal band 2Cents released "Lost at Sea"
(Atlantic Records)which features a tribute song to Abbott titled "A
Song for Darrell Abbott".
- Finnish Metal band Kiuas´ song "Bleeding Strings" from their
2006 album "Reformation" is dedicated to Dimebag Darrell.
- Phil Anselmo's band Down now dedicates the song Lifer, from
NOLA, to Dimebag Darrell when performed live.
- Black Label Society now dedicates the song "In This River" to Dimebag.
- Brides Of Destruction paid
tribute to Dimebag Darrell on their 2005 release, Runaway Brides,
with the track "Dimes In Heaven".
- The lyrics of metal band Abnormality's 2007 song Visions are about Dimebag Darrel's
- Leave it Alone (with Jason Bittner, David Ellefson, Tristan
"1690" Grigsby, Nick Bowcott and Brian Cashmore) - A Tribute to
- While playing in Hammersmith in 2004, Melodic Death Metal band
In Flames played a cover of "Fucking
hostile" and dedicated it to the memory of Dimebag Darrell.
- The 2009 album 11:11 by Rodrigo y
Gabriela features a tribute track named "Atman" 'inspired by
Dimebag Darrell never to be forgotten lead guitarist in Pantera and
Damageplan, who was tragically murdered onstage in 2004'
- Bullet For My Valentine
did a cover of the Pantera song Domination.
- The popular video game Guitar
Hero II lists all of the guitarists of the bands featured
in the games, and at the very end it says "R.I.P. Dimebag".
- Ace Frehley's 2009 solo album Anomaly is dedicated to Dimebag.
- The artist Kat created an original painting "Razorback" in
memory of Dimebag Darrell and all musicians who lost their lives
- Slayer guitarist Kerry King drinks a shot at the end of live
performances as a tribute to Darrell and usually leaves one shot on
stage "For Dime".
- Type O Negative plays "Halloween
in Heaven" off of the Dead Again album as a tribute to
Dimebag when playing live.
- The video game character Axel Steel from Guitar hero III has an alternative outfit
that highly resembles Dimebag, featuring camouflage shorts,
sneakers and a goatee with a red tip.
- Brian Welch (former guitarist of the
band Korn) made an only-guitar song dedicated
to Dimebag called "Letter to Dimebag".
- A tribute album to Dimebag and Pantera is currently in the
works with Zakk Wylde from Black Label Society covering Suicide
Note, Part 1, Chimaira, Machine Head, Five Finger Death Punch, Unearth, Biohazard,
Sylosis, Malefice, Kiuas and Evile. The song by Evile turned out to
be bassist Mike Alexander very last and was recorded just before he
himself died, with a stunning cover of Cemetary Gates.
- The booklet in the Evanescence album
"The Open Door", in Terry Balsamo's section says
Discography and filmography
Abbott performed on Anthrax
including Stomp 442
Volume 8: The Threat Is
(1998); the Inside Out
EP (1998) and
We've Come for You
(2003). With Damageplan
Abbott played on the Devastation Sampler
(2003) and on the
album New Found Power
(2004). With Pantera
, Abbott recorded a
number of albums, EPs, singles, and videos, including Power Metal
(1988); Cowboys from Hell
Vulgar Display of
(1992); and Hostile
(1994). He also recorded albums under his own
name, including Country Western Transvestite Whore
(1996) and he recorded a country music
album entitled Rebel Meets
- allmusic ((( Dimebag Darrell > Biography
- MTVNews.com: Remembering Dimebag
- The band consists of two of Abbott's cousins (bassist Heather
Manly and guitarist April Adkisson). This song (track 2) can be
found on Premenishen's debut album, 'Symphony For The Freaks'.
- Mike Portnoy FAQ, Mike Portnoy.com.
Retrieved 29 January 2007.
- 100 Greatest Guitar Solos - Tablature for solos 11
- New York Times: "Darrell Abbott, 38, a Guitarist
Featured in Heavy-Metal Bands, Dies"
- Dimebag Darrell killing 'not motivated by Pantera
split', NME.com. Retrieved 31 March 2009.
- Nightclub Shooter Said Pantera Stole His Lyrics,
wftv.com. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
- Guitar World, vol. 5 No. 4, April 1994