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Dimebag Darrell Memorial Service, 12/15/04



(Photo: Gnarly Charlie / KNAC.com)

Here’s some news and reports related to the memorial service for "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott, held last night (12/14) at the Arlington Convention Center in Arlington, Texas. Dimebag’s funeral services were held privately, but the memorial service was open to fans, friends, and anyone who wanted to congregate and join together in remembering Dimebag Darrell.

From Blabbermouth:

Bobby Ross Jr. of The Associated Press has issued the following report:

Clad in concert T-shirts and puffing on cigarettes, fans of slain heavy metal guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott faced tight security Tuesday night as they lined up to attend a public memorial service.

Security guards screened grieving fans with metal detecting wands as they came to pay tribute to Abbott, 38, former guitarist for the band PANTERA. He was shot to death last week in Columbus, Ohio, while performing with his new band, DAMAGEPLAN, at the Alrosa Villa nightclub.

Three others were killed before police shot and killed 25-year-old gunman Nathan Gale.

Messages such as "RIP Dime" and "Honk, honk for Dimebag, Peace in the after life" were scrawled on cars in the parking lot of the Arlington Convention Center.

A high-pitched guitar solo blared from 19-year-old Jennifer White’s pickup. White, a "PANTERA" button on her shirt, said Abbott was a legend.

"He’s just as big as Jimi Hendrix but in a different way," she said.

Her friend Skyler Smith, 18, added: "A legend died on Wednesday night. I guarantee I’ll be telling my kids about this day and the day that he died. …My heart was broken."

Fans braving near-freezing temperatures cheered the arrival of flower arrangements in the shape of guitars and a display with the words "Crown the Moment, Crown Royal," a reference to Abbott’s favorite brand of whiskey.

Michael Schaefer, 21, of Garland, and his wife, Raedene, 20, both wore black PANTERA concert shirts.

"It’s still a real shock, the fact that it actually happened and the fact that someone would want to hurt him," Michael Schaefer said.

"It’s terrible, man. He was the nicest fella you would ever want to meet," said Rick Cunningham, 48, of Euless.

Cunningham was one of the few of the thousands waiting in line who wore a suit and tie to the service. Cunningham, a former lead singer for a Dallas band called RAGE, said he’d known Abbott for 20 years.

Abbott had formed DAMAGEPLAN with his brother and drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott after they left PANTERA.

Abbott attended Arlington High School and lived in nearby Dalworthington Gardens.

The memorial service was put together by Vinnie Paul Abbott along with Paul Bassman Management Company, Pinnacle Entertainment and AEG Live, South, said Paula McElheney, who is with AEG, a promoter.

The Associated Press is reporting that guitarists Eddie Van Halen and Zakk Wylde delivered profanity-laced tributes at a public memorial service Tuesday night for slain heavy metal guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott.

"I’m here for the same reason as everyone else, to give some love back…," Van Halen told the crowd of several thousand people.

"This guy was full of life. He lived and breathed rock ‘n’ roll," he said.

Abbott, 38, former guitarist for the band PANTERA, was shot to death last week in Columbus, Ohio, while performing with his new band, DAMAGEPLAN, at the Alrosa Villa nightclub.

Three others were killed before police shot and killed 25-year-old gunman Nathan Gale, described as an obsessed Pantera fan.

Fans began lining up late Tuesday afternoon to get into the memorial at the Arlington Convention Center, and were screened by guards with metal detecting wands.

Wylde and Van Halen shared the stage, downing shots of liquor and talking about their fellow guitarist.

"A whole part of my life is gone," Wylde said. "It’s all about family. It’s all about God."

The crowd saved its loudest applause for Abbott’s brother, drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott, who patted a life-sized cardboard cutout of his brother holding a guitar.

Vinnie Paul Abbott encouraged the crowd to chant his brother’s name, saying he hadn’t heard it chanted in five days. Abbott said his brother gave everything he had every night and "went down" doing what he loved.

BLABBERMOUTH.NET has confirmed that former PANTERA singer Philip Anselmo did NOT attend the the funeral of DAMAGEPLAN/ex-PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott ? apparently because he was told that he was "not welcome" at any of the events honoring the late musician that was slain last week at a nightclub in Columbus, Ohio. Anselmo’s former PANTERA/DOWN bandmate Rex Brown (bass) DID attend, as did a number of other high-profile musicians, such as Zakk Wylde (OZZY OSBOURNE, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY), Eddie Van Halen, Jerry Cantrell (ALICE IN CHAINS), Jim Root (SLIPKNOT), Corey Taylor (SLIPKNOT), Paul Gray (SLIPKNOT), and Dino Cazares (ex-FEAR FACTORY).

Cantrell reportedly performed an acoustic number at the funeral, while Eddie Van Halen gave a speech that included an impromptu playback of a phone message he had received from Abbott at some point before his death.

The family of slain DAMAGEPLAN/ex-PANTERA guitarist "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott has requested a "Kiss Kasket" (photo) for Abbott to be buried in, KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons revealed during an appearance on Fox News’ "The Big Story Weekend Edition with Rita Cosby" on Saturday (Dec. 11). The coffin features the faces of the four founding members of KISS, the KISS logo and the words "Kiss Forever". A transcript of Simmons’ appearance on the program follows:

Rita Cosby: Gene, it’s great to see you, my friend. I wish it was under better circumstances.

Gene Simmons: Thank you, thank you.

Cosby: Now, I understand there was something special. This just came down recently. Darrell Abbott’s family requested something sort of special tied with your band. Tell us about it.

Simmons: Well, I wasn’t really prepared to talk about it, but the family requested, as a personal issue between the family and the grieving people who are going to be there, to send a Kiss Kasket. We initially did it as a promotion. And you know, I think it meant a lot to Darrell when, you know ? when he was alive, he gave lots of people great joy. I mean he had the band tattooed onto his chest. He was a major figure in rock and roll. He’s going to be greatly missed. And the family wish ? you know the one last wish they had was that he be buried in a Kiss Kasket. And I think it’s a private matter for the family and the fans actually.

Cosby: No, and I think that’s beautiful that that’s happening, too, because I’m sure, it obviously, as you said, meant a lot to him. How big of a shock was this? You know this guy really was a legend and so well respected in the industry. How big of a shock was it to you, Gene, when you heard what happened?

Simmons: You know it’s about as shocking as it can get. The unfortunate thing is that the media will tend to sort of look at the visuals, you know, the flying hair and the crazy look and all of the over- the-top stuff, which is what performing is all about. But people forget that underneath all of that, actually, Darrell was a very, very sweet guy, very upstanding, very quiet in his own way, immensely talented. PANTERA was a very, very important band. And I’m sure all the fans are going to miss him very much. I know I do.

We ? KISS played at the stadium in Argentina and we invited PANTERA to join us. And it was one of the highlights of any of the tours we have ever played. Darrell was just a sweet guy.

Cosby: Gene, how vulnerable are you guys to fanatical fans like this mad man who did this horrible act?

Simmons: You know people often forget that the word "fan" actually comes from the word "fanatical". Most people are very nice. Most people respect your privacy. But here’s no secret, most celebrities check into hotels under pseudonyms and the reason is not because I don’t love the fans but because you’ve got to be able to keep everybody at arm’s length because every once in a while you’re going to get a nut job. The only justice, as far as I’m concerned is that this nut case is no longer around to do this to anybody else.

The unfortunate thing about the judicial system, if you’ll allow me, is that, if he were caught, somebody would bring up the point he had a troubled childhood and that we should rehabilitate him. And I’m not a fan of that, I have to say. Whether he was troubled or not, if you resort to violence and you kill somebody, you should be taken off the face of the earth.

Cosby: No, and it is ? absolutely, I agree with you. How do you protect yourself, Gene? I mean you talk about this balance ? you got so many wonderful fans, you in particular, you know, folks ? and you want to have that access, you want to have that one-on-one. But then there’s that wild one all of a sudden who does something horrible. How do you find that balancing act?

Simmons: You’ve got to be able to separate the fact from the fiction, the stage histrionics from the private life. When you walk down the street, you’ve got to be aware that everybody is not necessarily your best friend and then ? you know, sometimes somebody is going to have an ulterior motive, which is why when you check into a hotel, you have to do it under an assumed name. And when you go some place big and public and where there are lots of people, you’ve got to take security with you both for legal issues. I mean if I did something with this fist to somebody who was getting in my face ?- and I’m 6-foot-2. I’m not shy. If you get in my face, I’ll take you out. You literally can’t do that. You’ve got to be able to have a buffer, somebody else between you and somebody who’s ? you know who’s being improper.

Celebrity is not everything that everybody believes it is. It is a precarious position in life. But, you know we do it because we love it.

Cosby: And Gene Simmons, we love you and thank you so much for coming here and talking about this. We appreciate it.

Simmons: I just want to say one last thing, which is.

Cosby: Yes, real quick if you could, Gene.

Simmons: Our hearts and our best wishes go out to the family. He was a great guy. He’s going to be sorely missed.

Cosby: Thank you, Gene, very much, and he definitely will. And we appreciate you’re coming here. Thank you, Gene, very much.

A memorial fund has been created to aid help cover bereavement and medical expenses for DAMAGEPLAN’s head of security, Jeffrey "Mayhem" Thompson, and two other band employees injured in last week’s shooting that resulted in the death of the group’s guitarist, "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott. Checks can be sent to The Dimebag Darrell Memorial Fund at 110 SW Thomas, Burleson, TX 76028.

Fans can also make a donation in Abbott’s name to VH1’s Save the Music Foundation, which works to restore music education programs in schools. Contributions can be made by mail to 1515 Broadway, 20th Floor, New York, NY 10036 or via phone at (888) 841-4687.

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R.I.P. Dimebag

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