Metallica has great admiration for the late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell; during a past interview, while speaking about Dime and his brother Vinnie Paul, Lars Ulrich said “We obviously loved both of them.” While reflecting on his memories with Dime in a different interview, James Hetfield spoke about how the guitarist has “inspired” him.
Recently, Kirk Hammett has shared his own Dimebag Darrell story, and similar to the reflections his bandmates have offered, his story is quite melancholic as well.
The Metallica guitarist recently took part in a new feature with The Guardian where he and several other musicians reflected on the history of Download (the heavy metal festival). Many stories are shared, one of those being when Ulrich was unable to take part in Metallica’s 2004 Download performance. Eventually, the band was able to find support in the form of Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison, but prior to finding that help, Hammett was stressed as hell.
Reflecting on this time, he recalls seeing Dimebag and how the guitarist provided him with words of encouragement. However, while recalling their brief chat, Hammett also reveals this was the last time he ever saw Dime.
Regarding the last time he ever saw Dimebag Darrell, Hammett shares the following:
“When stuff like this happens, I don’t know why but the responsibility seems to land on me [laughs]. I couldn’t do anything for the next three hours except talk to drummers. I remember seeing Dimebag [Darrell, former Pantera guitarist] wave at me from a distance backstage; I looked at him and mouthed: ‘We are completely fucked.’
“He came over laughing and just said: ‘You guys have got this.’ And that was the last time I saw Dime [before his death that December]. I still regret not taking the time to have a full conversation with him.”
On December 8th, 2004, while in the midst of a live performance, a fan took to the stage and shot Dimebag multiple times. He was pronounced dead at the scene – he was 38 years old. The absence of Dimebag is still tremendously felt to this day, for the guitarist touched many lives through his art and friendly presence.
Dimebag Darrell will forever be remembered as one of the most brilliant artists to ever grace the world of music. If you ever had a chance to meet the late Pantera guitarist, what was your experience like with him?