It was early Saturday that I read the Vinnie Paul had died.
I was the immediately reminded of hearing of the death of his brother “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott in 2004. That day I was going to a gig (I believe it was a Thursday) in Manchester, I think it was the Main Debating Hall (MDH, now known as Academy 2) and it was the Wildhearts. No mention, not that I expected any, was made of Dimebag’s passing.
The following day, it was Fear Factory at the Academy and it was, as the speaker cabinets were emblazoned with DBD, the most subdued and depressing metal gig I’ve been to.
Dimebag was shot dead live on stage, with his brother playing drums behind him, as part of their DamagePlan group.
For a beer reference, DamagePlan is also the name of a great beer by Marble Beers of Manchester, when they made actual beer before producing a load of lagers and being far too concerned with virtue signalling and being so woke it hurt. Still thanks for the memories.
The death of Dimebag left a great big hole in the world of metal, the genre had lost one of its true natural talents (and by all accounts a great human being). When I wrote this parody piece using Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” I stated that the guitar solo was the 5th best of all time.
Of course I meant it was my fifth favourite but as a point of reference I would stick any number of Dime’s solos above it.
I am fortunate enough to have seen DamagePlan (and likewise Vinnie and Dime) play live.
I am even more fortunate enough to have seen their previous group, Pantera, play live, numerous times; something that, because of the tumultuous nature of their split, Dime’s death and their legendary status within metal music, the clamouring for a reformation, or at least a tribute tour, with Zak “every not is a pinch harmonic” Wylde on guitar, that because so many seemed to have missed out it is really something I can hold on to as special, even almost unique.
Being that I am a guitar player and my brother is a drummer, there was a natural connection for the two of us to Pantera and whereas I don’t have the required level of skill (or really the drive to practice) to truly master a Dime solo, the machine that is my brother can still rip out Vinnie’s beats and we can still jam a basic Pantera song should the mood ever take us.
And as my love of guitar rubbed off onto my brother so he could appreciate guitar work, so to did his love of drumming and drummers on me. In fact at gigs these days I do find myself listening to the drummer more, a phenomenon I place firmly at the lazy feet of Lars “I can’t really be bothered to play properly any more” Ulrich.
Vinnie’s passing at 54 (Darrell was a mere 38) leaves another hole in the metal world. It was a shame that he and Phil Anselmo could never seem to rectify their differences and if that is still the case it would serve as a reminder that perhaps if you have fallen out with a former friend, maybe reconciliation is better sooner as sometimes you may never get the chance and regret is always a terrible thing to taste.
I’ll leave you with these two Pantera songs that for me best showcase the talents of Vinnie Paul and Dimebage.
Domination (Live) – the riffs, the lyrics, the melodies, the live energy, the breakdown and that solo….
Note: the recorded version from Cowboys From Hell starts with Vinnie apparently yelling “fart smells like a motherfucker”
Floods – I offer this a Dime’s best solo (and outro) for the more discerning, less metal-orientated reader/listener, it really is quite sublime.
Thanks for the music Vinnie and Dime.
Thanks for reading.