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Dimebag Darrell1December 8, 2004 – Dimebagg Darrell Lance Abbott was born on August 20, 1966 and took up the guitar when he was twelve, with his first being a Hondo Les Paul along with a small amplifier. Upon winning a series of local guitar competitions, most notably held at the Agora Theatre and Ballroom in Dallas, Texas, Abbott was awarded a Dean ML.

At age 15 Abbott formed Pantera in 1981 with his brother Vinnie Paul on drums. The band mainly reflected their early influences in those days with thrash metal acts such as Slayer, Megadeth and Metallica as well as traditional metal bands such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, and Judas Priest.

While the majority of acclaimed hard rock guitarists of the early ’90s focused primarily on songwriting rather than shredding away, there were a few exceptions to the rule, like Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell.

Shortly after singer Phil Anselmo joined Pantera in the mid eighties, Darrell was invited by Dave Mustaine to join Megadeth. Darrell was willing to join, but on the condition that Mustaine also hired his brother Vinnie on drums. As Mustaine had already hired drummer Nick Menza, Darrell stayed with Pantera.

Pantera would go on to become a key formulator of the post-thrash subgenre of “groove” metal. But it would not be until nine years after forming that Pantera saw its first piece of commercial success in its 1990 major label debut, Cowboys from Hell, which was described as “groundbreaking” and “blueprint-defining” for the groove metal genre.

Darrell became the driving force behind Groove Metal, so much even that Rolling Stone Magazine ranked him on spot 92 in the top 100 greatest guitar players in Rock in 2011; and British magazine Metal Hammer even ranked him number One.

This touched off a string of classic metal releases that would see Pantera become one of the world’s top metal bands — following 1990’s Cowboys From Hell, the band produced Vulgar Display of Power (1992), and Far Beyond Driven (1994). Darrell (who was now known as Dimebag Darrell) soon became recognized as one of metal’s finest players, as evidenced by his annual appearances in guitar publication polls. He frequently appeared in guitar magazines and in readers’ polls, where he was often included in the top ten metal guitarist spots. In addition, he wrote a Guitar World magazine column, which has been compiled in the book Riffer Madness.

Further Pantera releases followed throughout the early 21st century, before the group appeared to go on hiatus. As a result, Darrell and Vinnie Paul formed a new metal outfit, Damageplan. Additionally, Darrell has appeared on recordings by other artists, including Anthrax and Nickelback (The Long Road), in addition to solo recordings for the Supercop motion picture soundtrack, and a cover of Ace Frehley’s “Fractured Mirror” for the tribute album Spacewalk: A Salute to Ace Frehley.

Darrell and his brother also supplied music for an album by cult country artist David Allan Coe, called Rebel Meets Rebel.

He was killed when 25 year old Nathan Gale stormed the stage during a gig at the Alrosa Villa Club in Columbus, OH and began firing at the band and crowd, killing 5 people including Darrell on December 8, 2004. He was only 25 years old.