“RESPECT. WALK. Are you talkin’ to me?” – Pantera, “Walk”
Ten years ago. A full decade. And it doesn’t even seem possible.
For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, it was ten years ago (the 8th of December 2004) where guitarist Darrell “Dimebag” Abbott was playing a show in Columbus, Ohio and was senselessly and violently murdered, along with three other people.
One man who brought down one of the world’s best heavy metal musicians with violence on his mind. And now ten years later, it feels like a blur, like a cloud, and almost an impossibility!
The fairly new band, Damageplan, was playing at Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. And from the beginning of the show, tragedy struck as Nathan Gale approached and shot Dimebag three times in the head. at nearly point blank range. The third shot killing him instantly.
Gale is alleged to have been a fan of the band Pantera who had disbanded. And he was angry for the break up. It was also alleged that Gale had issues within and that night, he was NOT on his medication. But to that report or theory there is no evidence or proof.
At 10:18 PM, local time, calls came in of “Shots fired” and one officer did respond to the call. He would be the only one that would answer the call and face the gunman.
From the point where he entered, the gunman was facing away while holding a man hostage.
The officer came in and saw Gale pull the gun up to the head of the hostage. It was at that time the officer took his own weapon and fired once, pretty much blowing off Gale’s head from behind. He never saw it coming.
One shot and it was over but many other people already laid dead.
The world of heavy metal music would never be the same.
So where was I?
I was living in a bit of self-made misery in what I call either the “House of Shame” or the “House of Pot” whichever you’d like.
At the time, living with a couple of other young adults like myself with their own physical disabilities. I was outside the FOLLOWING morning not knowing the news about anything. Hell, I didn’t even know at that point that Pantera was done. I was anticipating a reunion, and patiently awaiting the news of such when the house telephone rang.
I was outside in the morning fresh air, playing a bit of required catch with the family dog in the backyard.
Being that I was the only one at home at the time, I struggled to quickly get back inside of the house. Finally I answered and it was a woman calling for my roommates. A female who sounded like she just had her soul crushed. Full of tears, unable to speak, sniffling and coughing and crying over the phone.
By the time I got the pertinent information out of her, shock ran throughout my entire body. Dimebag Darrell was DEAD. I started shaking with disbelief. My voice was stolen from me and I could not respond back to the woman on the other end of the line when she was asking questions as to the whereabouts of her friends, my roommates.
In my opinion, Pantera was the band that brought back metal music back away from obscurity and set itself far apart from the grunge movement that was blazing a trail. Pantera was the band that stood up to all of that. But Pantera after twenty-plus years would never return to make that reunion. The band broke apart and then the murder of Dimebag Darrell.
But I know that other people who know what the heck I am talking about also have marked this day in their minds in their own very personal ways. Along with the anniversary death of John Lennon. Same day, many years apart.
Two talented men, brought down. The wasteful shame.
Rest in Peace, Darell Abbott.
Be at rest, John Lennon