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Dimebag Darrell facts for kids

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Dimebag Darrell
Abbott in 2004
Darrell Lance Abbott

(1966-08-20)August 20, 1966
Died December 8, 2004(2004-12-08) (aged 38)
Resting place Moore Memorial Gardens, Arlington, Texas
Other names Diamond Darrell (1981–1993)
Occupation Musician
Years active 1981–2004
Partner(s) Rita Haney (1984–2004)
Relatives Jerry Abbott (father)
Vinnie Paul (brother)
Musical career
  • Groove metal
  • heavy metal
  • Southern metal
  • thrash metal
  • glam metal (early)
Instruments Guitar
  • Atco
  • Big Vin
  • East West
  • Elektra
  • Metal Magic

Darrell Lance Abbott (August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004), best known by his stage name Dimebag Darrell, was an American musician. He was the guitarist of the heavy metal bands Pantera and Damageplan, both of which he co-founded alongside his brother Vinnie Paul. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest metal guitarists of all time.

Early life

Darrell Lance Abbott was born in Ennis, Texas, on August 20, 1966, the second son to Carolyn and Jerry Abbott, a country music producer. His elder brother, Vinnie Paul, was born on March 11, 1964. Abbott's parents divorced in 1979, after seventeen years of marriage, but his family life remained happy. The brothers lived with their mother Carolyn, in a ranch-style house on Monterrey Street in Arlington. Carolyn was supportive of her sons' musical endeavors. Their father Jerry remained in the area after the divorce and Darrell would often go on a bicycle to visit him for guitar lessons.

Abbott took up the guitar when he was twelve. His first guitar was a Les Paul-style Hondo, which he received along with a Pignose amplifier on his twelfth birthday. Influenced by Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Kiss and Van Halen, he would initially spend time in his room standing in front of a mirror holding the guitar while wearing Ace Frehley-style makeup, though he was unable to play the instrument at the time. Jerry learned Kiss songs on guitar in order to teach Darrell how to play them. Darrell also learned from country musicians who recorded at Jerry's studio, such as Bugs Henderson.

Vinnie had begun playing the drums before Darrell received his first guitar. Darrell had previously tried to play the drums; Vinnie later said: "I just got better than him and wouldn't let him play them anymore." The Abbott brothers' first jam session consisted of six hours of "Smoke on the Water". They took inspiration from Alex and Eddie Van Halen, and Vinnie said in a 2016 interview that he and Darrell were "inseparable" after they began playing music together.

At age 14, Abbott entered a guitar contest at the Agora Ballroom in Dallas, in which Dean Zelinsky, founder of Dean Guitars, was one of the judges. Abbott's mother accompanied him to the club because he was not old enough to enter on his own. He won the competition; Zelinsky recalled that "[Abbott] blew everyone away." Abbott won many other guitar contests in the area, and was eventually asked not to compete and instead judge the competitions so others could win.

Music career

Pantera was formed in 1981 and released its debut album, Metal Magic (1983), when he was 16. Originally a glam metal musician, Abbott went by the stage name Diamond Darrell at the time. Two further albums in the glam metal style followed in 1984 and 1985, before original vocalist Terry Glaze was replaced by Phil Anselmo in 1986 and Power Metal (1988) was released. The band's major-label debut, Cowboys from Hell (1990), introduced a groove metal sound to which Abbott's guitar playing was central. This sound was refined on Vulgar Display of Power (1992), and the group's third major-label record, Far Beyond Driven, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 in 1994.

Tensions within Pantera reduced its output after the release of The Great Southern Trendkill in 1996, and Reinventing the Steel (2000) was the band's final studio album before its acrimonious separation in 2003. Abbott subsequently formed Damageplan with his brother Vinnie Paul and released New Found Power, the band's only album, in 2004. Other works by Abbott included a collaboration with David Allan Coe titled Rebel Meets Rebel (2006) and numerous guest guitar solos for bands such as Anthrax.


Dimebag 001
A fan mourns outside the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio, where Abbott was murdered.

While on tour with Damageplan, Abbott was shot and killed by a deranged fan during a performance at the Alrosa Villa nightclub in Columbus, Ohio on December 8, 2004. Abbott was pronounced dead at the scene, aged 38. Thousands of fans attended his public memorial, and the guest list included artists such as Eddie Van Halen, Zakk Wylde, Corey Taylor, Jerry Cantrell and Dino Cazares. Abbott was buried alongside his mother Carolyn at the Moore Memorial Gardens cemetery in Arlington, Texas.

After Vinnie Paul's death in 2018, he was buried next to Carolyn and Darrell, also in a Kiss Kasket. In late 2020, a protective fence was installed around the Abbott burial ground in an effort to stop vandalism, as Darrell's grave had previously been scratched and defaced by people over the years. In a 2010 interview, Vinnie called the vandalism "a real disrespectful thing".

Musical style

Originally a glam metal musician, Abbott distanced himself from the subgenre by the late 1980s, and was a driving force behind the development of groove metal in the 1990s.


Although his father was a country music producer and songwriter, Abbott's primary musical influences were heavy metal acts such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Kiss and Van Halen. Ace Frehley of Kiss inspired him to play guitar. He was a member of the Kiss Army and had a portrait of Frehley tattooed on his chest in 1992. While at a photoshoot for the August 1993 issue of Guitar World along with Frehley, Abbott asked Frehley to sign an autograph near the tattoo. Abbott then had the signature tattooed.

No musician other than Frehley exerted more of an influence on Abbott than Eddie Van Halen. Abbott stated that his background mirrored Van Halen's as both he and Van Halen were younger brothers who first played drums before moving on to the guitar due to competition from their elder brothers on drums. Another influence was Randy Rhoads. Abbott said in 1994: "To me, Eddie Van Halen was heavy rock and roll, but Randy was heavy metal." In numerous interviews, Abbott credited Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath for inspiring his guitar riffs.

Abbott was a fan of the Southern rock band ZZ Top, and he was influenced by the band's guitarist and lead singer Billy Gibbons. Abbott was also influenced by contemporary metal guitarists such as Kerry King of Slayer, James Hetfield of Metallica, and Zakk Wylde of Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society.


Abbott did not receive formal guitar lessons. Unlike many other heavy metal guitarists, Abbott made extensive use of the major third in his riffs and leads, which added dissonance to minor key tonalities. This was a Van Halen-inspired technique, as was his employment of symmetrical fingerings. Although Abbott had exceptional picking ability, he favored legato phrasing. His love of legato gave his playing a fluid quality, and his powerful left-hand technique enabled the implementation of the symmetrical patterns in his lead licks. Abbott avoided using scales and modes in traditional fashions, and often used passing tones between scalar tones to add tension. These chromatic licks made up much of his playing. Regardless of the note or chord, Abbott played with a "Texas style", meaning a variety of techniques such as sliding, bending, palm muting, and use of the whammy bar and effects pedal to produce an idiosyncratic sound.

One of the most distinctive features of Abbott's guitar playing was his use of harmonics to create a squealing sound, which he picked up from Gibbons. Unsatisfied with standard techniques, Abbott often used dyads in place of traditional power chords. This added texture to his riffs and, when played with distortion, created a tense sound. Abbott experimented with alternate tunings throughout his career.

Three of Abbott's solos were ranked in Guitar World's "100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time": "Walk" at No. 57; "Cemetery Gates" at No. 35; and "Floods" at No. 19.

Dean Guitar
One of Abbott's signature headstocks

Personal life

Abbott grew up in the same neighborhood as his long-time partner Rita Haney, whom he first met at the age of eight. They began dating in 1984. The couple never married. Haney said in a 2006 interview: "We didn't believe in the marriage thing. ... Why have someone you don't know tell you it's OK to be with someone you do know? We didn't need the middleman! We had a one-on-one with the man upstairs ourselves."

In 1995, Abbott bought a house with Haney in Dalworthington Gardens, Texas, a short distance from his hometown Arlington. Abbott kept a pet goat on the residence, and dyed its goatee like his own. He was remembered by his neighbors as approachable.


On May 17, 2007, Abbott was posthumously inducted into Hollywood's RockWalk. Ace Frehley was among the attendees at the induction ceremony, where he spoke in honor of Abbott. Frehley also dedicated his 2009 album Anomaly to Abbott, as well as former Kiss drummer Eric Carr.

In 2015, Abbott was ranked as the most influential metal guitarist of the past 25 years by VH1.

Rolling Stone ranked Abbott at No. 92 on its list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" in 2011, and described him as "one of modern metal's key figures". Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath said Abbott was "one of the greatest musicians to grace our world". In 2018, Abbott ranked at No. 19 on Louder's list of "The 50 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". Sebastian Bach of Skid Row commented that Abbott "reinvented heavy metal guitar".

Abbott also ranked at No. 9 in a 2012 Guitar World readers' poll of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time", and was named the "Greatest Metal Guitarist" by Loudwire in 2013 after winning a reader-voted tournament bracket.

A concert in memory of Abbott titled Dimebash has been held annually since 2010. All of the concert's proceeds go towards the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund. Performers at Dimebash events have included artists such as Dave Grohl, Kerry King, Robb Flynn, Tom Morello, and Serj Tankian.



  • Metal Magic (1983)
  • Projects in the Jungle (1984)
  • I Am the Night (1985)
  • Power Metal (1988)
  • Cowboys from Hell (1990)
  • Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
  • Far Beyond Driven (1994)
  • The Great Southern Trendkill (1996)
  • Reinventing the Steel (2000)


  • New Found Power (2004)

Rebel Meets Rebel

  • Rebel Meets Rebel (2006) (recorded in 2000)

See also

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