The music industry has seen its share of artists who left this world too soon. Celebrity deaths send shockwaves through the community no matter how they happen, but senseless tragedies come with us. This is the case of guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who rose to fame with the band Pantera and died doing what he loved most.
Dimebag Darrell co-founded Pantera with his brother
Dimebag Darrell was born Darrell Lance Abbott in 1966. His father’s career as a country music producer provided the foundation for Darrell’s early interest in the craft, AllMusic reports.
He turned his attention to rock and guitar from an early age, citing Kiss as a major influence. In the 1980s, Abbott – then known by the stage name Diamond Darrell – founded the metal band Pantera with his brother, Vincent Paul Abbott, aka Vinnie Paul, who played drums for the band.
By the early 1990s, they had found a sound of their own, “almost single-handedly demolishing any notion that hair metal, speed metal, power metal, et al., were anything but outdated,” says AllMusic. .
Also by then, Abbott had swapped his stage name — a nod to his flashier old style — for a nickname more suited to his new image. Dimebag Darrell was born.
When Pantera went on hiatus in the early 2000s, the Abbott brothers joined forces to create Damageplan.
How old was Dimebag Darrell when he died?
Tragedy struck at a Damageplan performance in Columbus, Ohio in 2004. An obsessed Pantera fan stormed the stage and shot Dimebag Darrell multiple times in the head.
The shooter also shot and killed several other people, including Damageplan’s head of security, who attacked the assailant; a club employee trying to restrain the shooter; and a 23-year-old fan attempting to resuscitate the injured.
A local policeman killed the shooter, 25-year-old ex-Marine Nathan Gale, just minutes after the attack. But the damage was already done.
Dimebag Darrell was pronounced dead at the scene. The three victims who tried to help him also died.
“Gale would have been upset that Pantera broke up…and may have blamed Abbott for the band’s acrimonious split,” rolling stone reported.
(Strangely, the murders came on the 24th anniversary of John Lennon’s death at the hands of an upset and delirious fan. In fact, the threat of stalkers and unstable fans has haunted many celebrities. Obsessed followers have been killed. The voice contestant Christine Gimmie and actress Rebecca Schaeffer.)
Abbott was “blindsided” by the attack because he headbanged while performing, hair on his face and enjoying his craft.
Dimebag Darrell was just 38 when he died.
The founder of Pantera would have liked to reunite the group
Ironically, given his killer’s anger over the breakup of the band, Dimebag Darrell had expressed interest in reuniting Pantera shortly before his death.
Videographer Daryl Arnberger, who has worked with Abbott in both groups, told the Landry.Audio podcast that Abbott had said less than a month before his death that he would “do whatever it takes” to get Pantera back together, Louder reported.
“We’re gonna go out and do this [Damageplan] tour until December, and I’ll see you for Christmas and everything,” Arnberger recalled, telling Abbott. “After that, we are going to have new things to do. And that won’t be it. Either way, we’re going to round these guys up and do it right.
Abbott died while on that same tour on December 8, 2004.
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