Dimebag Darrell Abbott, guitarist for metal pioneers Pantera and his more recent project, Damageplan, was shot dead last night in Columbus, Ohio at a Damageplan concert when a gunman wearing a hockey jersey and hooded sweatshirt rushed the stage at the Alrosa Villa nightclub just after 10 p.m. and opened fire on the band and the crowd of approximately 250 spectators. Apparently many people initially thought the gunman was part of the act. Three other people were gunned down, though some reports put that number as high as five, before the gunman was tackled by a security guard and killed by Police Officer James D. Niggemeyer. Two other victims have been identified as Nathan Bray and Erin Halk, both audience members. It has also been reported on NBC TV that a second member of Damageplan was killed, but his name has not yet been released. A witness told NBC that a man climbed onto the stage, started yelling, and then shot Dimebag Darrell five or six times at close range. Officer.com is reporting that the gunman has been identified by Ohio Police as Nathan Gale, 25, of Marysville, Ohio. Police have scheduled a press conference for 11 a.m. this morning. ”
Abbott was born in Dallas, Texas on August 20, 1966. Together with his brother, drummer Vinnie Paul, he formed Pantera in 1982. In 1990 they released their groundbreaking, genre defining major label debut, Cowboys From Hell, their second with then new lead singer and current Superjoint Ritual vocalist Philip Anselmo. When Pantera disbanded in 2003 after years of inactivity, which most blame on the many consuming side projects of Anselmo, Abbott and his brother formed Damageplan with vocalist Patrick Lachman and bassist Bobzilla. They were currently touring behind their debut release, ‘New Found Power’.
The guitarist, known for his long, often dyed goatee and trademark cowboy hat, brought a style and swagger all his own to the world of metal. He was able to infuse his own brand of southern-fried, whiskey-soaked groove into aggressive music in a seemingly effortless manner that could be imitated but never duplicated. His sound and style inspired many of today’s top metal guitarists. Few metal ax-slingers will drop a list of influences without mentioning Dimebag and Pantera. His signature tone and cry-baby wah pedal laden solos were among the best to grace the eardrums of a generation of metalheads.
R.I.P. Dimebag Darrell Abbott 1966-2004.