In Memoriam: Dimebag Darrell

Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs, they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.

That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.

Three decades ago today, Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon in an attempt to actualize the wishes of Holden Caulfield. Thereon, December 8th became a somber day for anyone who appreciates music and hates shitty literary interpretations.

Unfortunately, this day became even more ominous six years ago as Dimebag Darrell was murdered onstage by a crazed fan. Slinging the axe for Pantera, Dimebag helped craft a brand of metal that held complete domination over the 1990s. While long-heralded heavy metal gods began experimenting with blues-riffs and mascara, Pantera maintained their dedication to savage thrashin’ and soulful groovin’. In fact,   they only became more aggressive – which is ridiculous, considering that they kicked off the decade with Cowboys from Hell.

What strikes me most about Dimebag’s playing is the originality and conviction. There is no mistaking a Dimebag Darrell riff, whether it’s one of the machine-gun facsimiles that punches you in the gut or one of the chunky stutter-steps that greets you at the party and convinces you to funnel a beer. His six-string prowess was, in a word, jaw-dropping.

Hit the jump to check out some of my favorite Dimebag moments.

The Great Southern Trendkill

The opening track to Pantera’s 1996 effort. A refutation of the watered-down brand of metal hitting the airwaves, the song (literally) starts with a scream. Dimebag’s relentless assault assails the ears, but at the 1:52 mark slides into a dirty Southern swing that summons the spirit of yesteryear’s beer-drankin’ rock & roll.

Shedding Skin

Yet again, Dimebag steals the show – his staccato riffage gets hearts’a’skippin’ from the introduction. Moreover, the tone he uses on his solos has a great fuzz while still cutting right through.

By Demons Be Driven

Maybe I’m wrong, but I get the feeling that this tune is grossly underappreciated. Even though they’re overused by many guitarists, it’s hard not to love the squeals thrown throughout the verse riff. And I can’t be the only one that listens to the chorus and envisions a T-Rex screaming as he stomps his way through a prehistoric jungle.


Dimebag’s death? Totally bogus. But the man left behind an amazing legacy. What are some of your favorite Dimebag moments?