Saturday, December 11, 2004

I Feel Like I Lost A Friend

On December 8th, 2004, I feel like I lost a friend. In Columbus, Ohio, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, guitarist for Damageplan, was shot and killed at point blank range during the first song of his bands performance. "Dimebag" was a founding member of the superstar rock band "Pantera". He was 38 years old. According to various reports, disgruntled fan Nathan Gale ran up on stage yelling something about breaking up Pantera and then unloaded two clips of ammo. Five shots at point blank range hit "Dimebag", and he was killed. Also killed were a club employee, a fan, and one of the bands bodyguards. Gale was shot and killed by a police officer.

This turn of events is shocking. What has this world come to? I am especially hurt by this occurrence, because of the fact that I devoted 24 years of my life to playing music in clubs much like the one Damageplan played on December 8th. Some people are going to blame the music, saying stuff like, "Because of the violent nature of the music, this is not surprising". I will give everyone an inside tip on the world of metal/hard rock music. This is a very tight knit community. There is little in the way of violent acts encouraged by this music. Some people point to a style of dance called a mosh pit and say that it is a display of violence, but really it is a controlled way to vent anger and aggression with people who feel the same way that you do. There are unwritten rules for being in the pit. If someone falls, you pick them up. There is no punching or kicking people in a way that will hurt anyone. Yes, sometimes accidents happen, but really no more then if you were snowboarding or doing stunts on bicycles or skateboards. The metal community is a force that bands together to fight the system and offer a family of others when your family fails you. I will go so far as saying that, the metal community is a positive community of people looking for an escape, other then anti-depressants, from the negative things that go on around us on a daily basis. It has always been said that force in numbers will be heard, and this community of music lovers is the crux of that force. A lot of people disagree with the content of the music created. It is a group of dark subjects, but no darker then if you watch the evening news or read the daily paper.

"Dimebag" Darrell was an innovator on his instrument. He redefined a style of music and expanded on it. His music was very dissident and aggressive, but it was heartfelt. That is the overwhelming consensus on "Dimebag", he had a big heart. He gave every ounce of energy on stage. He played for the fans. I know, without a doubt, he would have played for free. He loved the music and his fans that much. "Dimebag" was looked up to by other musicians for his talent, as well as the guitar playing community. He won numerous awards for guitar player of the year.

I feel like I lost a friend, even though I never met Darrell Abbott. His music touched me. In times of anger or frustration, I turned to his music to escape and then release what was inside of me. Many times when I was down and out, "Dimebag" picked me up with his melodious chords and ripping solos. He will be missed but not forgotten. I watched a special tribute to "Dimebag" on Fuse TV the other night and I welled up with emotion.

Darrell's brother, Vinnie Paul, plays drums for Damageplan, as well as Pantera. I can not imagine what he is going through as he got to witness the assassination of his brother on the very stage that they were playing on. I know from experience, if you spend a lot of time with a fellow band member, you get very close. I can only imagine it is a hundred times worse if that band member is a member of your blood family. I really feel for Vinnie and wish him a speedy recovery in dealing with this tragedy.

This unfortunate event is going to spark debate on venue security. A lot of the clubs I played didn't have metal detectors. The only one, in fact, that had metal detectors was The House of Blues in Myrtle Beach, SC. Local clubs here, that have national touring acts, do not have any detectors. Ziggy's(Winston-Salem, NC), Tremont Music Hall(Charlotte, NC), and many more have large acts come play and you rarely, if ever, get so much as patted down by security. I think this will change in the near future. I also think the fans will welcome new security measures. They, of course, are for their own protection anyway.

Nathan Gale was killed by police officer that night to stop his rampage. I could only hope that he suffered, for what he did was tragic and as horrid as you get. December 8th was the 24th anniversary of John Lennon's tragic assassination in NYC. There is no motive for the shooting as of yet, but I do think he carefully planned this out. I was no coincidence that it occurred on Lennons anniversary.

The following statement was issued today by Vinnie Paul Abbott:

"With all his greatness and accomplishments on the guitar, Dime will be missed more for his giving personality, charisma, caring for others, love and most of all his HEART!! Twice as big as the state of TEXAS!!!!!!!!!!!! Dime gave it all every day to each and every one of us and our lives have forever been hollowed without him...Thanks to all of you for reaching out to us in this time of our immeasurable loss. REST IN PEACE BROTHER DIME!!!!!!"

"Dimebag", your fans love you and will always. Your music was innovative, touching and loved. You offered and incredible amount of your life to music and it's fans. I thank you for what you gave me and others. You will be missed dearly. Rest in Peace.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.