10 Things You Didn’t Know About ‘Dimebag’ Darrell Abbott
Guitarist Darrell 'Dimebag' Abbott left a monstrous hole in the hearts of many when we lost him on Dec. 8, 2004. Gunned down while his band Damageplan performed at Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, he was taken from the world far too soon. We take a moment to remember his raw talent, his voracious love for music, and his unrelenting dedication to his family, friends and fans. In celebration of the legendary Pantera guitarist, we present you with a list of 10 Things You Didn't Know About "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott:
Dimebag’s dad was country & western songwriter/producer Jerry Abbott. Dimebag often spent time watching his father in the studio and soaking it all in, which served as inspiration for the musical path he would travel. Later on in his career, he and his brother Vinnie would collaborate with David Allen Coe on a country, bluesy, rock hybrid project called Rebel Meets Rebel.
Dimebag’s first instrument incredibly enough was not the guitar; he started out behind a drum kit. As his brother Vinnie started excelling on the skins, Dime made the switch to guitar and started busting out Boston and Deep Purple riffs. The rest, as they say, is history. In 1981, Dimebag and Vinnie would put together their first band, Pantera's Metal Magic; through years of evolution, the band would become the legendary heavy metal band Pantera.
Dime was the recipient of what would become two of his favorite guitars all on one fateful day. Shortly before a local competition, Dimebag’s Dad gave him a Dean Standard with a cherry-burst finish. Dime went on to win the competition. Shortly after, Dime was banned from playing in the competitions because of his advanced skills. Can you say "sore losers?" The prize for winning the competition was a Dean ML that Dime eventually sold to his friend Buddy Blaze. Blaze gave it a paint job and it's iconic lightning bolt and eventually returned it to Dime.
Along with a few bottles of his beloved Crown Royal, Dime was buried with one of Eddie Van Halen’s historic guitars. Eddie offered up the original 1979 black and yellow Bumblebee Charvel Hybrid VH2 guitar that was featured on the inside of the ‘Van Halen II’ album. According to EVH, “Dime was an original and only an original deserves the original!”
Despite his gruff exterior, friends, fans and fellow musicians continue to recount their personal stories on the kindhearted, genuine person that Dimebag was at his core. According to Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian, “Once you shared drinks with that guy, you became a part of his extended family.” He went on to say,“He really did put his family and friends first, and for him, everyone was his family.”
Even though Dime inspired and continues to inspire guitarists across the globe, he was also a passionate music fan at heart, so much so that he had one of his biggest influences tattooed on his chest. The tattoo featured a Kiss-era Ace Frehley and is autographed by the Spaceman himself. True to his spirit, Dime also contributed to two Ace Frehley tribute albums throughout the years. Dime was also buried in a Kiss Kasket, per his request.
Dime contributed to an ongoing column in Guitar World magazine, offering up his advice on everything from what songs to practice as a new guitarist to tips on harmonics. In 2003, the series was turned into a book titled ‘Guitar World Presents: Dimebag Darrell’s Riffer Madness,’ which compiled all the columns served up in true Dime style. The columns taught some of the techniques that Dime used to create his signature groundbreaking Pantera sound. ‘Riffer Madness’ is now available on DVD, as well.
In 1999, when the Dallas Stars won the Stanley Cup, Dime’s brother Vinnie held a party at his house to celebrate. The party was attended by many of the team members who Vinnie and Dime had become friends with. Rumor has it that at one point in the evening, a player took the Cup up to the balcony and threw it towards the pool, but missed. The illustrious Cup suffered a bit of a dent and a silversmith had to be called in immediately to repair it. Members of the Stars have denied this ever happening, but judging by the Abbott brothers' love for a good party, we’re believers.
Dime is credited with creating the official drink for Pantera, called the 'Black Tooth Grin.' His drink of choice contained a large shot of Seagrams 7, a large shot of Crown Royal (that’s two shots of whiskey if you’re keeping track) and just a splash of Coke. The name, of course, was borrowed from lyrics from the Megadeth song ‘Sweating Bullets.’
Dime and his soul mate Rita Haney had been together since the third grade. Their love ran deep. In 2010, she helped organized 'Dimebash' in his honor to bring Dime’s friends and fans together to celebrate his legacy. The night included performances and all-star jam sessions with the likes of Dave Grohl, Lemmy Kilmister, Rob Zombie, Slipknot, Shinedown, Slayer and more.