Dimebag was one of those guys that was a fan. He openly admitted it. Dime was there to rock if he was a participant of if he was an attendee. It only mattered that people were having fun. If someone wasn’t having fun, he’d see to it that they did or he’d just have enough fun for them both. Dude had a heart of gold…. or rather, metal!
Remembering when I first heard Pantera on the local radio, we were fortunate to be able to listen to radios at work. Cowboys From Hell was common and a buddy at work was all in to the band. He brought his Metal Magic album to work one day and while the cartoon panther artwork and the photo of the band engaging in mousse abuse and pardon-me-while-I-change-into-something-more-uncomfortable spandex was good fun, it could not detract from the punishing shredding Dime would unleash.
When Dime did some local promotion for the release of Vulgar Display Of Power, he had an appearance at a club along with Vinnie and Rex. At some point, a couple of us were behind the rope and spent the rest of the time behind the table where they were meeting people and signing things. Dime turned around, looked at me, and punctuated my Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders Calendar Photo Crew shirt with his black sharpie. That black dot remains on that shirt to this day. A bit later, Vinnie got up to go relieve himself. Dime turned to ask me to make sure Vinnie was OK. There was this hallway with a door to the left and an exit at the far end. The door was locked and appeared to be an office, so I’m figuring Vinnie went to take a leak in the back alley. I check in the alley to make sure Vinnie is alright, I mean, Dime told me to, right? Vinnie isn’t there. Oh crap! With no other alternative, I knocked on the office door, resulting in a response from Vinnie. Hold on, I’m thinking, that’s no bathroom. The door opens, Vinnie appears, gives a high five and we get back around to the table. I had no interest in whatever might have been found by the club staff the next day. LOL! What stuck with me is that even with a packed venue of people waiting for some face time, Dime didn’t miss a beat to ask that his brother was seen to.
The Bronco Bowl, a local entertainment complex (where bowling was featured, go figure) was closing down. I think this was 1992…they re-opened a few years later before closing down for good. They booked Pantera to play the little arena in back. I scored a limo for the show and a handful of guys from work all went together…including the guy with the ‘Metal Magic’ album. The set list was crushing, with no filler and no respite from Dime’s brutal riffage.
The next year, Dime did a Randall amp clinic at a Jam Music. Jam was a mom and pop store in Arlington, TX, Dime’s stomping ground. Jam was a great place with a great selection of stuff. I’m still in touch with many of those guys and I still have gear I bought from there. The clinic was videotaped by someone at the store and they dubbed a copy for me, which I also still have…although someone uploaded a copy to YouTube a few years back, so I don’t have to break out the VCR to watch mine. HaHa! Dime’s personality was front and center. It was his first clinic, but he didn’t care and just did it the best he knew how…which was to be himself. Dime jammed and answered questions and shared his tricks and his technique. He even gave props to Grady, who I didn’t recognize at the time as the same guy that years prior had gone out with a girl from my high school class…maybe I didn’t know who he was without the Mathias Jabs striped armbands. LOL! Be sure to watch the entire video to see how great Dime was at interacting with fans…both the autograph line and with guys just hanging out in the store. And yes, I’m there in the video as well… hopefully not diminishing the value too much. HaHa!
A couple of years later, I was at a show at a local club called The Bomb Factory. I’d not been there since, until a show last week. The Bomb Factory from the mid-90s was about 1/8th the size of what it is now. I found a nice spot to watch the main act, propped against a rail close to entrance, sort of on a landing above a barrel of beer being sold to people as they enter. Low and behold, I look down and Dime is there buying a light beer. Someone gives him grief over cutting the calories when he pulls up his shirt and grabs his gut. LOL! No excuses, just cutting to the chase. Hilarious. Dime looks up to see me there and throws horns. What an awesome example of Dime being a fan. He clearly could have had his people call some other people and hung out with the act before or after the show, but he was there for the show. It wasn’t a mob scene when he showed up. Dime was a local guy and so many people knew him from around town that he was a regular guy.
In 2000, I saw Dime play again when Pantera was in the Ozzfest lineup. The wife of a sound guy I worked with was doing the pyro for Pantera. There was a big Pantera logo sign behind the stage that was rigged with fire beind it, like the cover of Reinventing The Steel. By that time Phil’s voice was into the gravel-chewing Cap’n Crunch mode, but Dime’s playing was exactly what fans expected.
I was up late on December 8, 2004 and wasting time on the old original Metal Sludge board. A Sludger was at the Damageplan show at Alrosa Villa that night. To cope with what he saw, he posted about it on the board. People didn’t believe him, as the place was full of people always having fun messing with people and playing pranks. He maintained the recollection of what he witnessed until it was verified by reports in the news. Then and in the years since, it seems that there has been an outpouring of kindness toward Dime that is unparalleled in my opinion. From all the people I know and head about, there has only been the most positive things said about Dime.
With my own family laid to rest in the same cemetery as Dime, I’ve been by his plot several times over the years. It’s pretty much constantly adorned with mementos from people. Shot glasses. Bottle of Crown. And yes, dimes. There are usually people there and they usually share antidotes about Dime.
Being from the Dallas area, you can’t throw a stone without hitting someone that knew or met Dime, if only for a moment. As such, I don’t think there’s anything particularly out of the ordinary with the times I met or crossed paths with Dime. It’s just the way he seemed to be with everyone.