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Pantera started as a glam metal band. In 1981, the band performed under the moniker Pantera’s Metal Magic and opened for other metal acts like Stryper, Dokken, and Quiet Riot. The band later dissociated from these early albums and blocked their release.
In 1987, Pantera auditioned a new vocalist named Phil Anselmo. The singer clicked with the rest of the band and the new lineup decided to change their image before releasing 1988’s Power Metal album.
In 1988, Pantera guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was offered a gig playing guitar for Megadeth. Darrell turned down the opportunity because his brother Vinnie Paul was not allowed to join Megadeth as well, as the band had already hired a new drummer named Nick Menza.
Anselmo is crazy about horror movies, so much so that he started the Housecore Horror Festival in 2013. In an interview he listed some of his favorite films:
The Sinful Dwarf Innocents from Hell I Bury the Living The House with the Laughing Windows
Pantera’s fifth album, Cowboys From Hell, was released by Atco Records in July 1990. The record was produced by Terry Date, who is well known in the hard rock world for producing bands like Slipknot, Deftones, White Zombie and Soundgarden.
Abbott was shot and killed onstage in December 2004 while performing with his new band Damageplan in Columbus, Ohio. The shooter was a crazed fan who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and believed that Pantera had stolen his lyrics.
Today is Dimebag Darrell Abbotts birthday. He would have been 54 years old if he were still alive.
After Pantera disbanded in 2003, Anselmo formed a New Orleans supergroup called Down. The band quickly signed with Elektra records and released their debut album NOLA in 2005.
Abbott is one of the most celebrated metal guitarists of all time. Guitar World magazine ranked his solo on “Floods” #15 on its list of the 100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time.
James Niggemeyer, the Columbus, Ohio police officer who entered a local nightclub and took out Dimebag Darrell’s killer, was so affected by the incident he had to give up his career due to PTSD and severe anxiety disorder.
In a recent interview with Backstage Axxess, Rita Haney, the girlfriend of deceased PANTERA and DAMAGEPLAN guitarist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, discussed how the legendary musician would have reacted knowing various charity events were held in his honor. “Dimebash” 2020 — an all-star tribute to Abbott — was held earlier this month at The Observatory OC in Santa Ana, California, and featured members of FOO FIGHTERS, ANTHRAX, LAMB OF GOD, SEPULTURA, KING DIAMOND and SEBASTIAN BACH.
“He would have such a blast,” Rita said (hear audio below). “We used to have this club for a little while in Texas, I was always putting together little jam things there. He would come in, sometimes during the week, if I had a band cancel, he would put together with a couple of friends and they’d do a set of cover songs and stuff. It was all for fun. He was always all about that. That was the one thing PANTERA was known for was sharing their stage. They always brought someone out, whoever could fill in from the side of the stage and do backups on ‘Walk’ or ‘This Love’. They were always all about that, not so much about ‘It’s our show. You’ve gotta do it perfect.’ That show was having all the weird little unexpected jams from whoever popped up on the side of the stage. He was totally about the word ‘unity’, bringing everybody together and making sure it was a damn good time always.”
Haney then delved into the making of “Dimevision Vol. 2: Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over”, the second home video that features footage of the late guitarist captured between the mid-’80s and his later years.
“Honestly, it’s just sitting around, taking some time and watching the videotapes,” she said. “Between me and [PANTERA videographer] Bobby Tongs, it’s time-consuming and of course, you sit, you watch everything, you laugh, you have drinks, you have to remember so much stuff, but you just pull clips as you’re going through and you slowly catalog through the years. There’s tons of footage that hadn’t been watched, still, still cataloging, there’s still a ‘Pantera 4’ [home video] that’s cataloged that we need to get to. That was planned last year, but with Vinnie [Paul Abbott, brother of Dimebag] passing unexpectedly, that got put on hold. Everybody’s trying to come out of the fog with that and get back to their normal day-to-day, but we’ll get to it. We’ve already pulled footage and cataloged for the next ‘Dimevision’as well. It’s just sitting around and watching videotapes, pulling it as you see stuff.”
“Dimevision Vol. 2: Roll With It Or Get Rolled Over”was released in November 2017 via Metal Blade Records. The DVD/CD set — which includes more raw footage, true gems and classic Dimebag moments — also contains five previously unreleased demos, picked from a vast catalog Dimebag accrued since Haney gave him his first four-track in 1984.
Dimebag was shot and killed by a crazed gunman while performing with DAMAGEPLAN at a Columbus, Ohio rock club in December 2004.
Dimebag‘s brother Vinnie Paul Abbott, who played drums in PANTERA, died in June 2018.
Tones From Hell now on your iPhone and iPad. The Dimebag Darrell CFH Collection meticulously models the ferocious, soulful guitar tone of “Dimebag” Darrell Lance Abbott, one of the most influential guitarists of all-time. Now available inside AmpliTube for iPhone and iPad, this collection precisely models the exact gear used by Dime to record Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell album, on a device you can carry with you anywhere! Download here: https://www.ikmultimedia.com/products/dimebagios/ 333% Authentic. We worked with Dime’s long-time guitar tech and right hand man, Grady Champion, to carefully model all of Dime’s personal guitar effects, amplifiers and cabinets that he used in the studio while recording Pantera’s groundbreaking album Cowboys From Hell, which started the revolution of the “Power Groove” in metal. The Dimebag Darrell CFH Collection features 9 brand new models including 2 amps, 2 cabinets and 5 stomps.
A new DVD/CD highlighting the life of Pantera / Damageplan legend Dimebag Darrell Abbott will become available this November. Dimevision Vol. 2: Roll With It or Get Rolled Over will feature raw footage from Dime’s life along with five unreleased demo tracks.
It’s been 11 years since Dimevision Vol. 1 was released, showing the many sides of the guitarist during a time when fans were still deeply hurting over his 2004 murder. Vol. 2 will offer a similar view into Dime’s life, meticulously overseen by his longtime girlfriend, Rita Haney, and one of his closest friends, Daryl ‘Bobby Tonys’ Arnberger. Both went through hundreds of tapes to prepare Vol. 2, ending up with a total of 43 video segments to feature on the DVD.
“As we all watched, we envisioned certain segments and ideas coming to life in my head, and rather than it serving as a memorial, this second DVD is more about the vision Dime had in his head for this footage, what he actually wanted it to become,” says Arnberger. “This one is more uplifting, funny, and it stays 100% true to his idea for Dimevision.”
“He had a unique way of seeing things, and he always lived with a video camera,” adds Haney. “No matter where we went he was always capturing what was going on, and myself and others around him were filming a lot too. In putting out these videos I just want people to see the way he was, 24/7. What you saw onstage and backstage, that was how he lived.”
“There were some really touching, deep, heavy and emotional moments in the first one, where he’s talking about himself to the camera while in the shower,” continues Haney. “Filming himself like that was something he did a lot, and you’d have no clue until you’re looking through the tapes and come across them, and when you do the goosebumps crawl all over you. People that love and know Darrell are going to be touched by what he has to say, because it’s him telling you for the first time.”
According to Haney, fans may not have to wait another 11 years for Dimevision Vol. 3 to come out, as there’s plenty more to share in the future. “We hope to make [Dimevision] an annual thing. It will all depend on if the fans want it and support it!”
The five unreleased demo tracks fans will find on Dimevision Vol. 2 are “Twisted,” “Ain’t No Struggle,” “True,” “Let’s Go” and “Whisky Road.” Fans can grab Dimevision Vol. 2 at PledgeMusic in a variety of different bundles, some of which include clothes Dimebag personally wore and items the guitarist owned during his life.
The metal community was turned upside-down on Dec. 8, 2004. On the twenty fourth anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon, music fans across the globe were bombarded by instant messages, emails and phone calls from friends and family informing them or wanting to know if the rumors that Pantera and Damageplan guitarist Dimebag Darrell had really been killed onstage. Was his brother and drummer Vinnie Paul still alive, and what happened to everyone else?
As the hours passed, the horrible truth was revealed and the metal scene was irrevocably altered. Dimebag had, indeed been shot and killed while performing onstage with his band Damaegplan. Not only had the world lose a charismatic wildman, a generous soul and a stellar musician, the game instantly changed for nearly every other musician. No longer were fans rushing the stage viewed as welcome participants; they became potential assailants.
“After something like that happens to one of your best friends, how could you ever feel safe, anywhere, ever?” said Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. “The few times that kids have made it up onto the stage during our show, no matter how friendly the scenario, the first thing I think is, ‘Dude, you should not be on this f—ing stage. You should know better.’ To me, everything changed after Dime was killed. The stage became off-limits for everyone but musicians. I don’t give a f–k how much fun you’re having. Stay the f–k off the stage.”
At the time of the tragedy, Damageplan were two shows away from the end of a tour to support their debut album, New Found Power, and Dime and his brother drummer Vinnie Paul were looking forward to celebrating the holidays and then getting and getting back into the studio to work on a follow-up record.
The afternoon of the shooting, the band arrived at the Alrosa Villa club in Columbus, Ohio. Soundcheck went without incident and then Dimebag, who remembered playing the place in Pantera’s early days, thanked the club owner for booking Damageplan, the group he and his brother formed when they put Pantera on hold. After soundcheck, Dime went back to the band’s bus to get ready for the show. Then the two brothers stood by the side of the stage to watch the opening band.
“They were doing Parliament songs heavy metal style and they were all dressed up like G.I. Joes,” Vinnie Paul told me in 2006. “We were catching such a nut on them. We were back there doing shots and peeking out and cracking up about the whole thing. So, we were all in a good mood and we had a full house that night and went up on the deck and right before we went on Dime was warming up his hand and putting his lip gloss on. The last thing I ever said to him was ‘Van Halen?’ And he gives me five and says, ‘Van f–in’ Halen!’ That was our code word for letting it all hang out and having a good time. And that’s the last thing he ever said to me, man. It’s insane.”
Just a few bars into the opening song “Breathing New Life,” a six-foot-five inch former marine, Nathan Gale, burst out from behind a seven-and-a-half foot-high wall of amps and ran across the stage with a Beretta 9mm handgun. He stopped directly in front of Dime and fired three shots at the back of the guitarist’s head and one that hit his hand. Gale kept firing as members of the crew charged him. The gunman killed four and injured two before putting Paul’s drum tech, John “Kat” Brooks” in a headlock and taking him hostage. That’s when officer James Niggemeyer, responding to a 911 call less than three minutes after it was made, arrived on the scene without backup and shot Gale dead with a single well-placed shot from 12-guage Remington 870 shotgun. Gale had 35 rounds of ammunition left when he was killed. “I knew from that distance I could shoot the suspect, as long as I aimed high enough and wouldn’t hurt the hostage,” Niggemeyer told MTV News in 2005. “At that point, almost immediately, I fired.”
While he was proclaimed a hero, Niggemeyer suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and severe anxiety and eventually quit the police force. In 2011 he got a civilian job and was still seeing a counselor because of the emotional distress he suffered in 2004.
At first, the police thought Gale shot Dimebag because the he was convinced the guitarist was responsible for breaking up Pantera, his favorite band. The news widened the already huge gulf between Vinnie Paul and Pantera vocalist Philip Anselmo, whose continuous pursuit of side projects and lack of communication with the other members of Pantera contributed to the Abbotts’ decision to stop trying to get Pantera back together. During that time, Anselmo and the Abbott brothers exchanged verbal barbs in the press and Vinnie Paul was especially miffed by a comment Anselmo made to UK magazine Metal Hammer that Dime “deserves to be beaten severely.”
“There’s no doubt the guy who did this was out of his f—in’ mind,” Vinnie Paul told me. “He’s somebody that should have been incarcerated. When you’ve got somebody with obvious mental problems, it’s not a great idea for his mother to go get him a gun that’s used for killing people in the military. And obviously, he knew how to use it. He wasn’t just some ragtime dude who grabbed a gun. I saw what happened, and I knew exactly that the dude was on a mission, man, for whatever reason. And the kind of s— [Philip] said [to Metal Hammer] is the kind of s— that might incite the guy that did this to do the kind of things that he did.”
A thorough police investigation following the shooting determined that Gale was a troubled schizophrenic who believed that the members of Pantera were stealing his thoughts. Although Anselmo hasn’t spoken with Vinnie Paul since before the shooting and was told he wasn’t welcome at Dime’s funeral, the vocalist continues to speak highly of his former close friend Dimebag and insists “it just keeps getting tougher and tougher” every year without him. In addition, he continues to extend an olive branch to Vinnie Paul.
“He can come through that door with fifths, a handshake — any of the above — just as long as he comes because I love the guy,” Anselmo told me in 2010. “I love him. I love Vince. He’s a big part of my life, man. I just want to say on my end, I am an open door. I am an open door.”
As the first decade since Dime’s death passed in 2014 it became clear that Vinnie Paul isn’t ready to welcome Anselmo back into his life and he may never be. “It’s just not important to me,” Vinnie said during a Hellyeah interview. “If you had an ex-wife and it was a pretty bitter split, you might not ever want to talk to her again. Who cares if everybody in the family and your friends want you to say hello again. It’s your choice whether you want to do it or not.”
While time has helped heal the wounds of seeing his brother and bandmate killed in front of him, whenever he stops and thinks about Dime, Vinnie starts to get depressed. That’s the main reason he bought a house in Las Vegas, where he spends much of his time.
“Texas will always be my home, but me and my brother used to go to Vegas all the time to escape,” Paul said. “When my brother was taken from us, there were so many ‘I’m sorrys.’ In Dallas that never stopped. It’s always a reminder of what happened when it comes up. People don’t understand that. They mean well, but I could be out somewhere watching a show, having a good time and I’ll hear, ‘Hey, sorry about your brother, man,’ and I’m right back to thinking about that night and him. It was hard to deal with. So I started going to Vegas for a few weeks at a time and I didn’t hear that as much. Then I found out you could buy houses for nothing because the housing market crashed. So I got a really nice house and now I really enjoy spending time in both places.”
On this date in history, 8/11/1996, Deer Creek in Noblesville, IN was the site of one of the best metal shows I have ever witnessed. Pantera, White Zombie, Deftones, and EyeHateGod combined to just decimate the outdoor venue in a true display of heavy music diversity.
After a crushing opening set by EyeHateGod that I heard more of than I actually saw, my friend and I finally found a patch of ground up in the lawn area and settled in for an amazing set of the atmospheric, sometimes claustrophobic euphoria that is Deftones’ specialty.
Chino Moreno has a voice unique in all of metal and the band utilizes this instrument to great effect, building cathedrals of sound around his emotive and eerie tones.
White Zombie came out and delivered the gargantuan horror rock spectacle that Rob Zombie has made his calling card throughout his brilliant career as both a rocker and director. I have a vivid memory of bass player Sean Yseult windmilling her green hair during a large portion of their show.
The previous year, White Zombie had released Astro Creep:2000, and their show featured a lot of that album. The highlight song remained “Thunder Kiss ’65” and it was a crushing finale to a monumentally entertaining set.
Zombie left the stage at 11 pm, the time that the venue’s curfew takes effect. The crowd went through a nervous period of waiting, but after a relatively quick set change, PanterA hit the stage with a vengeance, taking charge with a bare bones fury that was the perfect foil to White Zombie’s theatricality.
PanterA made their appearance to the prerecorded track of “Suicide Note, Pt. 1” and a back drop of huge marijuana leaves. From there it was relentlessly brutal groove metal from the band that defined that subgenre.
Phil Anselmo was in stellar voice and Dimebag Darrell claimed his crown as the greatest metal guitarist on the planet with incendiary leads and pummeling riffage. Whatever fine the band had to pay for going over the time limit that night was worth every penny.
Every person who was at that show knew that PanterA cared about our good time and they could have opted out, but they were there to play, and play they did. The neighbors probably weren’t too thrilled, but like they say, “If it’s too loud, you’re too old!”
Written By Braddon S. Williams aka The Concert Critic
The final time I was privileged to see the immortal PanterA was in 2001 at the Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis. The set they played was the benchmark that I measure all metal performances by…and all have fallen short of the magic they had that night.
Before I say more, let’s go back to the beginning, because there were 3 other great performances at this show. Nothingface led off and played a really enjoyable set. Sometimes the first band gets lost in the shuffle. They traditionally get the shortest amount of time and the lowest quality sound and lights. Nothingface came out swinging and I thought they gained some fans for certain…I must say I was one of them.
Next up was Morbid Angel.
They are a legendary death metal band and at the time I have to confess that I wasn’t really a fan of the genre. This changed pretty much as soon as they took the stage. I was blown away by the precision, the ferocity, and the performance itself. Trey Azagthoth, the lead guitarist, just shredded insanely, so I give him a lot of credit for converting me. The other deciding factor occurred when Phil Anselmo joined Morbid Angel for a song, bringing the crowd to a new level of crazy!
After the death metal onslaught ended, Soulfly brought their brand of Brazilian groove, full of percussion and the mighty roar of Max
Cavalera…the Bob Marley of metal! The highlight of their killer set was when they lined the stage with various tribal drums and were joined by Vinnie Paul in a drum line that crushed!
As great as all of this was, it was just a prelude to the incomparable performance that PanterA unleashed on us. I was lucky enough to see them 4 times and they always killed it live, but this final show just really stood out.
Photo Credit: Rolling Stone Magazine
They didn’t really do anything different in terms of the songs they played…Walk, Becoming, 5 Minutes Alone, This Love…all the classics were featured. I think what was different was simply that they were having fun and they knew they were on fire.
There was a break between songs in the middle of the set where the guys were tossing around names of bands they wanted to bring on tour the next time around. Motorhead was mentioned…but we all know that things were soon to change and those future tours never materialized.
I take comfort in knowing I saw them at their best and at least that night they were all truly brothers, enjoying their power as a unit, secure in knowing they were one of the best metal bands to ever walk the earth. Long Live PanterA!