Today marks the death anniversary of two of the most influential Rock N’ Roll figures in history. We are talking about John Lennon from The Beatles, and "Dimebag” Darrell Abbott from Pantera and Damageplan. Coincidentally, they were both assassinated by delusional fans of their music. In order to celebrate the legacy of this two amazing artists, we decided to recap both of their lives. So raise your horns way up for Lennon and Dimebag, clear your eyes, and read on...
John Winston Ono Lennon was born on October 9, 1940 in Liverpool UK. Lennon gained worldwide fame when him and Paul McCartney formed The Beatles. In our opinion the Lennon-McCartney duo, is the most successful and influential songwriting partnerships of the 20th century. Lennon's first band was The Quarrymen, which evolved into The Beatles in 1960. By the end of the decade the group started disintegrating, and Lennon embarked into a solo career. This is when he released the highly acclaimed albums “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” and “Imagine”, with iconic songs such as “Give Peace a Chance” and “Imagine”. In 1975, Lennon took a break from the music industry to devote time to his family. After 5 years he re-merged with an album titled “Double Fantasy”.
Three weeks after the release of “Double Fantasy”, Lennon was shot it in the back 4 times by Mark David Chapman as he was entering his apartment in Manhattan NY. Lennon was taken to the Emergency Room of Roosevelt Hospital, but was pronounced dead upon arrival at 11:07 pm. His wife Yoko Ono released the following statement the next day: “There is no funeral for John, John loved and prayed for the human race. Please pray the same for him.” Lennon was cremated in Hartsdale New York and his ashes were scattered in New York’s Central Park, which is where the “Strawberry Fields Memorial” can be found.
You may be wondering what this has to do with Heavy Music. Well, John Lennon and The Beatles are direct influences of Black Sabbath, which ultimately influenced every single Heavy Music band including Pantera!
Pantera’s guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott was born on August 20, 1966 in Ennis Texas. Influenced by his father Jerry Abbott who is a country musician and producer, Dime and his brother Vinnie Paul fell in love with music at a young age. At first Dimebag wanted to play the drums but his older brother Vinnie took over the drum kit. This was tough for Dime, who eventually started playing the trombone. However, his father was not having it, and convinced Dime to try playing the guitar. Goddamn, was his father right!
Dime’s first guitar was a Hondo Les Paul, which he got with a small amplifier. At the beginning all he did was pose in front of the mirror with Ace Frehley (Kiss) makeup, and his guitar in hand. Vinnie needed someone to play with so he started harassing his little brother. One day, Dime goes into the jam room and tells Vinnie: “Hey dude, you want to jam?” Little did they know that they were planting the seed of what would later become Pantera, which is arguably the best Heavy Metal band of the 90’s.
After a few months of jamming classics like Deep Purple’s “Smoke In The Water” with Vinnie. Dime started competing on local guitar competitions, which he usually won. On one of these competitions he was awarded a Dean ML. Coincidentally, his father Jerry had bought him a cherry burst finish Dean ML standard, the same morning of the competition. At another competition, he won a Randall Amplifier. As we all know, this became Pantera’s signature sound. Eventually, the organizers barred Dimebag from competing, because they wanted to give other kids a chance to win.
In 1981, Dimebag formed Pantera with his brother Vinnie. The two recruited vocalist Terrence Glaze (replaced by Philip Anselmo in 1987) and bassist Rex Brown. After releasing 4 albums that were produced by their father, who also owned a studio called “Pantego Sound”. Pantera got their big break, and things would never be the same in the Heavy Music World. Signed by Atco Records, who had already turned them down, the story about how Pantera got signed is very unique.
After being stranded in Texas due to a hurricane, Mark Ross (Atco Records) was asked by his boss to go check out Pantera, who were playing a birthday party in Dallas. After experiencing the insanity of Pantera (there was birthday cake all over the floor), Mark called his boss and told him: “We have to sign this guys!” Next thing you know Dimebag heads over to Philip Anselmo’s house and shows him the record contract.
From that moment on Pantera put the pedal to the Metal and started taking over the world. The band got their big break when the Metal God Rob Halford, invited the band to tour with Judas Priest in Europe. Soon after, they were asked to play the “Monsters of Rock” festival in Moscow Russia in front of 1,000,000 people. That day they outperformed Metallica, AC/DC, and the Black Crowes. During their successful career, Pantera also shared the stage with legendary bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Slayer, Megadeth, Motörhead, and Venom.
After 13 years of hard-hitting success, and releasing classic albums such as Cowboys From Hell, Vulgar Display of Power, and Far Beyond Driven (which charted #1 on Billboard). Pantera’s career came to a halt, mainly because of Anselmo’s addiction problems. After various failed attempts of communicating with Philip, Dimebag and Vinnie decided to start a new band called Damageplan.
In order to complete the lineup, Dime and Vinnie recruited former Rob Halford guitarist Pat Lachman to perform vocal duties, and Bob Zilla on bass. Damageplan released “ New Found Power” in the US on February 10, 2004. When writing music for Damageplan, Dimebag said that: "Damageplan wanted to stretch out and expand our capabilities to their fullest.”
On December 8th 2004, Nathan Gale shot Dimebag Darrell Abbott on stage, while Damageplan was performing at the Alrosa Villa in Columbus Ohio. Dime was shot six times (four times in the head), which killed him instantly. Gale continued shooting, killing four others and wounding a further seven. Jeff “Mayhem” Thompson (Damageplan’s head of security) was killed after tackling Gale, as was Alrosa Villa employee Erin Halk. Nathan Bray (a fan of the band) was killed while trying to perform CPR on Dimebag and Mayhem. Gale was finally shot dead by officer James James D. Niggemeyer. Dimebag Darrell was laid to rest at the Moore Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Arlington, Texas. From that moment on Heavy Music was never the same.
“I remember when I met Dimebag in Cologne Germany after Pantera’s spectacular performance. We see Dime in the distance (at least 20 feet away); we call him up and next thing you know he stumbles towards us. He was drunk as hell, and said that we were way too sober for being at a Pantera show! He calls Bobby (Pantera videographer) over, and tells him: “get this kids some blacktooths and get them on the new home video.” Lo and behold Bobby came back with some blacktooths, which we all put back fast. To this day I think of Dimebag every day, because he is the driven force of the lifestyle that we Metaleros share and are proud of.” –Jo Schuftan (founder of Horns Up Rocks)
We want to dedicate this piece to Dimebag Darrell Abbott and his family, John Lennon and his family, and Juan Carlos Posada (who committed suicide 2 years ago). Juan Carlos was Jo Schuftan’s best friend in High School, and together they lived some of the best and hardest years of their lives in Colombia. RIP brother, I love you so much and hope to see you again some day! \m/
IMPRINTED by Jo Schüftan (Founder of Horns Up Rocks)