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Dimebag Darrell Abbott

(August 20th 1966 - December 8th 2004)

Birth Name: Darrell Lance Abbott
Born: August 20, 1966 - Dallas, Texas
Died: December 8, 2004 - Columbus, Ohio
Cause Of Death: Murdered/Shot To Death While Performing Onstage

Albums:
1983 Pantera - Magic Metal
1984 Pantera - Projects In The Jungle
1985 Pantera - I Am The Night
1988 Pantera - Power Metal
1990 Pantera - Cowboys From Hell
1992 Pantera - Vulgar Display Of Power
1994 Pantera - Far Beyond Driven
1996 Pantera - The Great Southern Trendkill
1997 Pantera - Official Live: 101 Proof
2000 Pantera - Reinventing The Steel
2003 Pantera - Far Beyond The Great Southern Cowboy Vulgar
2004 Damageplan - New Found Power

He was born to Jerry Abbott, a country musician and producer. He took up guitar when he was in his early teens, winning a series of local guitar competitions, where in one he was awarded his first Dean (later known as the ML styled guitar.) Coincidentally, his father had bought him a cherryburst finish Dean (ML) 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. As a child, Abbott became a member of the KISS fan club (the KISS Army). He enlisted with his neighbor and later girlfriend Rita Haney, and the first rock concert they attended was a KISS performance. Abbott has stated that his main influences were Ace Frehley of Kiss and Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen.

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, Exodus, Exhorder and Metallica, as well as traditional metal bands such as Black Sabbath 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 1992, 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 Phil Anselmo's rampant drug abuse; in 2003, the group broke up. Anselmo left the band for other projects, such as Superjoint Ritual and Down.

After a year, brothers Vinnie and "Dimebag" formed Damageplan, a Heavy metal band which also used the Pantera-style groove metal sound. The Abbott brothers recruited former Halford guitarist Pat Lachman on vocals, and 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. When writing music for the new group, "Dimebag" said that "we wanted to stretch out and expand our capabilities to their fullest."

Shortly before singer Phil Anselmo joined Pantera, Abbott was invited to join Dave Mustaine'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 Menza, Abbott stayed with Pantera. In 1992 Pantera teamed up with Rob Halford (of Judas Priest) for 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 28th, 1992.In 1996 Abbott contributed the Ace Frehley song 'Fractured Mirror' to the Ace tribute album Spacewalk: A Salute To Ace Frehley. Then in 1997 a new Ace Frehley tribute album called Return Of 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 in 2000. The album was released May 2, 2006 on Vinnie's "Big Vin Records" label.

Abbott played guest guitar solos on several Anthrax songs from their John Bush era: "King Size" & "Riding Shotgun" from Stomp 442, "Inside Out" & "Born Again Idiot" from Volume 8: The Threat Is Real, "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 bassist Frank Bello said "Darrell was basically the sixth member of Anthrax". Abbott also performed a solo on the titular track from King Diamond's Voodoo album. A sample from a guitar solo by Abbott was used in the Nickelback song "Side of a Bullet". In 1999, Pantera recorded a theme tune for their favourite ice hockey team, The Dallas Stars, called 'Punk-Off'. The song was eventually released in 2003 on the album 'Dallas Stars: Greatest Hits'. In 2000 Abbott played the guitar solo on 'Believer [Ozzy Osbourne Cover]' 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 Experiment by Mike Portnoy. Abbott's musical roots were in Country Western 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 with country performer David Allan Coe. Three of Abbott's solos from Pantera songs ranked among Guitar World magazine's top 100 of all-time: "Walk" (#57), "Cemetery Gates" (#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 ZZ Top song "Heard It on the X" under the band name "Tres Diablos" for ECW wrestling's "Extreme Music" soundtrack.

On December 8, 2004, while performing with Damageplan at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, Abbott was shot onstage by a paranoid schizophrenic former US Marine named Nathan Gale. Abbott was shot three times in the head, killing him instantly. Three others were killed in the shooting: concert-goer Nathan Bray, age 23, of Columbus; Alrosa Villa roadie Erin Halk, age 29, of northwest Columbus; and Damageplan security chief Jeff "Mayhem" Thompson, aged 40, of Texas. Damageplan's drum technician, John "Kat" Brooks, and tour manager, Chris Paluska, were injured in the rampage. Gale fired a total of fifteen shots, taking the time to reload once, and remaining silent throughout the shooting. When security staff tried to stop him, Gale fired at them, wounding Paluska, and killing Halk, who had attempted to stop the gunman with a beer bottle as a weapon.

Thompson fought with Gale for a short time, stopping him from killing Vinnie Paul Abbott and John Graham, as well as knocking off Gale's glasses (which may have prevented him from seeing Officer Niggemeyer just minutes later), before being fatally wounded by Gale. Audience member Nathan Bray, who jumped onstage to try to give CPR to Dimebag and Thompson, stood up and took a single step towards Gale before being shot once in the chest. Brooks was scuffling 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 officers came in the front entrance led by officer Rick Crum, and moved toward the stage. Officer James D. Niggemeyer came in through the back door, behind the stage. Gale only saw the officers in front of the stage; he never saw Officer Niggemeyer. When the hostage moved his head, Officer Niggemeyer killed Gale by shooting him in the face with a police-issued Remington 870 shotgun. Gale was found to have 35 rounds of ammunition remaining. Officer Niggemeyer's shot hit Gale with 8 out of 9 pellets from the shotgun shell. During the rampage, nurse and audience member Mindy Reece, 28, went to the aid of Abbott. She and another fan administered CPR until paramedics arrived, but were unable to save him.

Eddie Van Halen, whom Abbott had recently befriended, placed his original black with yellow stripes guitar (commonly called "bumblebee") into the casket. Abbott had mentioned to Ed that he liked that color combination the best of Ed's guitars (this guitar appears on the back sleeve of Van Halen's second album "Van Halen II), and Eddie was going to paint one that way for him. In May 2005, Officer Niggemeyer testified before the Franklin County grand jury, which is routine procedure in Franklin County after a police shooting. The grand jury did not indict 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 Year. 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 Vulgar Display Of Power: Courage and Carnage at the Alrosa Villa.

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 caused delusions that the band could read his mind, and that they were "stealing" his thoughts and laughing at him.

Hellyeah's song "Thank You" is dedicated to Dimebag. Avenged Sevenfold's song 'Betrayed', Nickelback's 'Side of a Bullet' (featuring a solo played by Abbott taken from a demo tape), Cross Canadian Ragweed's 'Dimebag', Black Label Society's 'In This River', Kiuas' 'Bleeding Strings', Type O Negative's 'Halloween in Heaven', Machine Head's 'Aesthetics of Hate' were about or dedicated to Dimebag. Additionally, Shinedown and Seether have both dedicated their respective songs Simple Man and Fine Again to Abbott in concert while Seether has also included the intro, first verse and chorus of the Pantera hit Cowboys From Hell in place of the bridge of their song Because of Me. Trivium's album, The Crusade, says at the bottom of the final page, "Rest in peace Dimebag Darrell Abbott "(1966-2004)". In a Limp Bizkit song 'The Priest' in 2005 you hear in the lyrics "I see someone in rage killing Dimebag on stage, what the fuck is this...". Also, Buckethead recorded a song known as "Android of Notre Dame" which is also recognized as "Dimebag tribute song"

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