Five Dimebag Darrell Memories in Honor of Phoenix DimeFest

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Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott

Ten years ago this December, a musical icon was taken from the world of heavy metal far too early.

When Darrell "Dimebag" Abbott was gunned down performing with his band Damageplan in Ohio, we didn't just lose a guitar legend. To those who knew him, he was one of the most down-to-earth, happy-go-lucky guys around. His comic relief and pranks were legendary. His generosity and dedication to fans was revered. And his passion for the music was downright contagious.

I've argued with many about this matter -- there are some people who have said that Pantera is overrated and Dime wouldn't be held on such a high pedestal if he were still around. I disagree. It's not just because I'm a huge fan of Dime's preferred drink, the Black Tooth Grin (and the Megadeth lyrics that inspired the shot's name), or that I randomly decided to get a Cowboys from Hell tattoo on my neck one New Year's Eve a decade ago.

It it doesn't matter if you are a fan of Pantera or not -- there's no denying that Dime was a natural genius on the guitar. His speedy fingers, twangy blues-meets-speed metal style, and rampaging riffs. There's no doubt that his talent would've progressed much further. That's why every year around the musician's August 20 birthday, heavy metal fans all over the organize DimeFest.

Arizona's official tribute to Dimebag Darrell is at Joe's Grotto on August 23. Expect to see an array of favorite local metal bands jamming out on two different stages, playing their own music as well as Pantera favorites. The lineup includes Altered Silence, Killing Spree, She Murdered Me, Dead Swarm, Talk to Sheep, Deathgrip, Betrayal of Allies, and Twelve Gates. The event raises funds for one of Dime's favorite charities, Little Kids Rock.

In honor of Dime's birthday, my excitement for DimeFest, and the 10-year anniversary of his death, we've compiled five of the best Dimebag memories. Or rather, the top five things he will always be remembered for.

1. A Teen Guitar Prodigy

Darrell was known for beating everyone out in the local Dallas guitar competitions from a young age, and was eventually banned from some so others could have a chance to win. In fact, in a 2010 Guitar World interview, Dime's father Jerry Abbott said that he realized how serious his son was about music when he entered his school's talent competition at 12 years old. When the curtain opened, he was standing there with his guitar and tiny amp, wearing a KISS costume and Ace Frehley makeup. There's nothing better than watching a video of a gangly kid shred a guitar that's almost equal to his size.

2. He Was a True Fan, So He Genuinely Respected His Own.

Dime was always a huge KISS and Van Halen fan, and attributes his own path to his love for those bands. He showed respect to the music and the artists, and that respect was returned to him. Case in point: Eddie Van Halen brought Dime's favorite guitar of his, the historic black and yellow Bumblebee Charvel Hybrid VH2 that's on the Van Halen II album, to bury with Dime. In a KISS Kasket. With bottles of Crown Royal. According to Eddie, "Dime was an original, and only an original deserves the original!" He also had an Ace Frehley tattoo (complete with his autograph) on his chest. How's that for dedication to your influences? And since Dime always appreciated the time with his idols, he made sure to give that same time to his fans who cherished him. He never said no, whether it was to have a beer, an autograph, a chat, or a guitar lesson.

Location Info


Joe's Grotto

13825 N. 32nd St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: Music

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