The Time Machine Paradox: Dimebag Darrell

Addendum: Pantera has had a few tour dates in Mexico and a few other countries. They returned to the road after a long hiatus. Zakk Wylde and Charlie Benante are filling in for the Abbott brothers. If you can catch a show in the next few years, try to.

This is a repost of last years piece. This time of the year strikes me a little hard. Be well.

An Alabama cold night gave me a short minute to pause. I had heard the unusual earful of Pantera’s Cemetery Gates on the local rock station. I was a generally sleepless mess, being a night shift machine operator after all. I was a few months removed from the US Navy, enjoying my disappointment in the outside world. I had a weird feeling about hearing Pantera on the radio.

               I knew I was right to feel so wrong. December 8, 2004 was a shitty day for many. It wasn’t just a bunch of washed up barely literate assholes in a plant parking lot in Bumfuk, Alabama. It sucked for many of our heavy metal friends in Columbus, Ohio too. This was the night that a mentally ill man took Dimebag Darrell’s life. I don’t wish to talk about the guy that did the deed, (if you would like more info on this, please read A Vulgar Display of Power: Courage and Carnage At The Alrosa Villa by Chris Arnold).

               My point in writing this today is that I seldom if ever believe that I would take a time machine back in time to undo any one event. There are horrific things that shape time and our lives, this is something that I came to grips with. I often think that trying to course correct wrongs will create worse things or things beyond our most terrible dreams. But I had one event that I wanted to see what would have happened if we could change the past. Obviously, the one event was the murder of Dimebag Darrell.

               This event almost felt like the death of the past for a few people. I had been barely a teenager when a dear friend introduced me to Pantera, specifically the album Far Beyond Driven. I had largely not been exposed to anything like that, outside of a little Megadeth. It blew my mind and helped launch an ironic personal Renaissance which continues on today. Pantera helped bring me closer to one of the most brilliant, yet tortured musicians I have ever met.

               Pantera and Damage Plan marked a portion of my life that was of great challenge. I had my own misgivings and creating enemies. Pantera marked the darkness using 13 Steps , Suicide Note, and Drag The Waters. I had slip ups marked by I’m BrokenMouth For War, and Domination. The tail end of the first stage of my life easily was overseen by Soul BleedF*ck You, and Cowboys From Hell.

               Dimebag’s death marked a new period. It wasn’t that I was freed from some of this but I felt like the captain of the ship handed over the helm to me. I am responsible for the ship, instead of being the Officer of The Deck.

               I set the material condition of my ship. I gather reports and make bigger decisions. I choose the ports more carefully. I learned from the many foul ups in my life. I left the old ports behind and decided to sail on.

               I flirt with the idea of what would have happened if the gunman was stopped and the show would have gone on. (Hopefully seeing the mentally ill man getting long term help and Dimebag seeing a resurgence for his music). But changing it might have seen a few of us chart worse waters than where we ended up.

               It was a hard time but I never forget December the 8th and I never forget the smiling face of Dimebag Darrell Abbott.  His music plays on and I hope to have Piss played at my funeral.

About freemattpodcast

Lead shill for The FreeMatt Podcast
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