“He was like, ‘Zakk, what am I gonna do?’”: Zakk Wylde recalls consoling Dimebag Darrell when Pantera disbanded
The occasion marked one of the rare times the Pantera guitarist wasn’t a “force of positivity”, says the Black Label Society frontman.
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Speaking in the latest issue of Metal Hammer, Wylde recalls consoling the late guitarist – whom he was close friends with – following the metal band’s less-than-amicable split in 2003.
“That was the only time I ever talked to [Dimebag] when he wasn’t a force of positivity,” Wylde says. “Clearly, he was still upset about Pantera. They had worked so hard to get to where they did and then it all ended, and he basically had to start over again. He was like, ‘Zakk, what am I gonna do?’”
The musician shares that in order to comfort Dimebag, he sent the man a photo of late Ozzy Osbourne guitarist Randy Rhoads practising guitar in front of a mirror: “I said to Dime, ‘Whenever you’re feeling down, just look at this picture for inspiration.’”
Dimebag and brother Vinnie Paul would go on to form a new band, Damageplan, with vocalist Pat Lachman and bassist Bob Zilla the next year. The heavy metal outfit’s first and only studio album, New Found Power, would arrive in February 2004.
Currently serving as Pantera’s lead guitarist on the band’s highly anticipated reunion tour, Wylde has said that he felt the presence of the late Abbott brothers “all the time” during the tour’s preparation.
“It’s so crazy because when we started talking about doing this thing, there would be constant reminders about it wherever I went. I told Barb [Wylde’s wife], ‘Dime is willing this thing to happen. He wants this to happen,’” he told Guitar World.
Meanwhile, Grady Champion, Dimebag’s longtime guitar tech, explains why critics who expect Wylde to “clone Dime note for note” in the recent Pantera reunion shows have completely missed the point.
“We did add a few things to his signal chain, but when all’s said and done, Zakk’s out there to represent Dime and his music, and not be a Dime clone, ’cause he’s not,” Grady said.
“He’s Zakk, and he’s out there on that stage representing his brother, paying homage to the brothers, and giving it 333 percent. That’s all that matters to me, and it couldn’t be cooler.”