I remember in 1983 a friend of mine told me about a band he had seen called Pantera. He said the guitarist “Diamond Darrell” was “out of this world”. I remembered the name but never heard anything more about the band at the time.
1990- I turned on the radio one day and heard a song that blasted through and hit me like a ton of bricks. “Cowboys From Hell” totally crushed me! I found out the name of the band was Pantera. Hmmm??? Could this be the same band I heard about several years ago? It was, and I understood what my friend had meant. “Diamond Darrell” and Pantera became one of my new favorite bands. I bought “Cowboys From Hell and played it over and over. Cherishing each brutal song as they burned into me.
1992 – “Vulgar Display Of Power” continued the onslaught, I was telling everyone and anyone about Pantera! The songs remained true to the name of the record and “Diamond Darrell” was burning up the strings.
1994 – Pantera continued to evolve as did “Diamond Darrell”. I do not know the circumstances but he had morphed into “Dimebag Darrell” with the release of “Far Beyond Driven”. The aggression continued and the guitar work became even more amazing (yes it did!) I was sure that Pantera was going to change the face of Rock N’ Roll and I championed their cause.
1996 – “The Great Southern Trendkill” gave me my favorite Pantera song to date. “Floods” (in my opinon) was Dimebag’s best work EVER! If there are any doubts check it out here and get back to me and we can discuss it:
2000 – “Reinventing the Steel” gave me more ammunition to carry on the fight! This band was going straight into the halls of Metal Icons from my past. I knew that I would forever sing the praises of Dimebag’s playing. And then…..Pantera was no more. I was crushed.
2003- Damageplan! Well alright! Dime was back! My guitar hero was back! I eagerly listened to this album and was happy! “Reborn” (featuring Zakk Wylde!!!) was never a truer song!
2004- December 9th – I was at work, it was early in the morning. I had stepped outside to receive some materials when I received a text message from my then fourteen year old son. “Dad, did Dimebag get killed?” WHAT?!?!?! I had heard nothing at this point. I made some phone calls and it was true. I was horrified at the thought. Another of my favorite musicians had been taken from us. When I heard the details of his murder I was sickened. WHY?!?! I will ALWAYS wonder why?
2012- I still listen and try to turn people on the music Dime created and left for us. He remains now and forever one of my favorite guitarists. Thank you Dime for the music and for giving all you had.
Dime and his brother Vinnie did a cover of one of my favorite Ace Frehley songs “Fractured Mirror”. You can just feel the emotion in this fitting tribute to one of Dimebag’s heroes.
P.S. this post is dedicated to a young music lover who has parents who care enough to share the healing power of music with him – “Matt The Cat” this is for you!