The Fallen Cowboy: A look back at Dimebag Darrell

Pantera 1994
Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell live at Castle Donington Monsters of Rock, United Kingdom, 1994. (Photo by Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images)

It’s been over 10 years since one of the biggest deaths in the modern metal scene took place in Columbus, Ohio. On December 8th, 2004, “DimebagDarrell Abbott was performing a show at the Alrosa Villa, a local concert spot, with his band Damageplan. All was well until a fan, later identified as former marine Nathan Gale, hopped up onto the stage and started shooting at the band. Dime was shot 3 times in the head which killed him instantly. 4 people total were killed in the shooting while wounding 7 others.

Dime had this style to his music that no one else can touch. It wasn’t just his sound that hooked people. When you see a old video of him on stage or even in the music videos, he looks like he is having the time of his life. Music was almost everything to this man. He loved everything to do with the the business of creating music and he grabbed peoples attention with his energy and his presence on stage. He was the heart and soul of Pantera and Damageplan.

Pantera was a huge movement in metal and is responsible for the uprising of groove metal. It’s not traditional thrash because it takes the intensity and qualities of thrash metal and plays it at a mid tempo. Their first album, Cowboys From Hell, was labeled as “groundbreaking” and made a blue print for the new groove metal bands on the uprising. They’ve influenced bands like Exhorder, Lamb of GodSepulturaSoulflyCavalera Conspiracy, Gojira and Throwdown. All of those bands will tell you that Pantera and Dimebag was the major influence they had for picking up a guitar.

The bands later albums, Vulgar Display of Power, Far Beyond Driven, The Great Southern Trendkill and Reinventing the Steel had more hardcore style vocals from vocalist Phil Anselmo but the music style remained the same. Unfortunately, due to mounting tensions between Phil, Dime and Abbot’s brother Vinnie, the band went on hiatus in the early 2000’s. Vinnie and Dime would wait a few years for Phil to clean up his drug abuse but during the Pantera hiatus, Phil started two new projects in Superjoint Ritual and Down. This made the rest of Pantera discouraged enough to disband.

Wanting to continue with the music that they love, the Abbott brothers decided to start up another group called Damageplan. With former members of other bands, most notably Pat Lachman who was the former guitarist from Rob Halford’s solo project. The band only were able to put out one album called New Found Power which kept the logistics of groove metal but still had its own unique sound trying to slowly separate themselves from Pantera.


“We wanted to stretch out and expand our capabilities to their fullest.” -Dimebag Darrell.

Abbott was very well know throughout the metal community and was adored and idolized by millions and it showed even more when he passed. We still have the albums, the music videos, the documentaries, the concert videos and memories to relive his times here with us and my biggest regret ever is never actually seeing Dime play live in Pantera or in Damageplan. Mr. Abbott, you were and still a big inspiration for me personally and for anyone in the metal community. Your life will still be survived by us blasting Cowboys From Hell while drinking a bottle of Jack.

“Walk on home, boy…”



Author: slayer1223

Clevelander born to love bad sports teams, play heavy metal, eat greasy food and always beat the game on the hardest difficulty first

2 thoughts on “The Fallen Cowboy: A look back at Dimebag Darrell”

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