DIMEBAG DARRELL - Reinventing The Steel
by Martin Popoff

Today we mourn the shocking shooting death of Damageplan's Dimebag Darrell, mere seconds after taking the stage in Columbus, Ohio. Incredible as it seems, I can't think of another crazed and unwarranted assassination of an important musical figure, other than what has just happened to Dime and what had happened to John Lennon more than 20 years ago.

Nothing will likely change at shows, nor should it. How can one defend against something like this happening, given tens of thousands of shows year, not to mention the fact that these guys have lives and are seen regularly in public? In fact, Lennon was just going about his life, stepping out of a limo, coming home, leaving this Columbus incident as a very disgusting and sad one of a kind, as far as I can recall.

I'd only met Dime once, at a recent Damageplan stop in Toronto. He and Vinnie were the nicest, down-home, metal family guys. Standing there between the buses, pre-show, about 6:00, I got my Pantera and Damageplan stuff signed, got to give them one of my books. I think it was Top 500 Albums, which Pantera were friggin' all over - thanks to a flood of votes from Pantera fans. They had no problem hanging there chatting with all the awestruck fans that milled about, until everybody got their meeting with these legends.

I'll always remember the stories about Blackie (his liver), best in the telling from Dime's dear friend Zakk, and that one from the past where a full plastic beer cup of straight whiskey was placed before some writer dude who had to drink up before the interview got going (OK, some of those facts might be a little messed). Then there's the rows of drinks lined up on stage at Pantera shows... man those were all off the hook.

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