Ex-PANTERA singer Philip Anselmo says that he has no plans to publicly commemorate the 10th anniversary of the murder of the group’s guitarist, “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott, saying that his former bandmate was someone “who lived [heavy metal] and breathed it and forged it every single day.”
Anselmo, whose current group DOWN will be playing the Fillmore in San Francisco Monday night (December 8), tells Yahoo! Music: “There is no fucking way on this planet Earth that I am going to celebrate the death of one of my best friends and my guitar player in PANTERA. I won’t do any PANTERA songs or anything like that. Like every night, I’ll send out a song to Dimebag. I always send out the song ‘Lifer’ because if there was ever a lifer in heavy metal music — someone who lived it and breathed it and forged it every single day — it was him. He is the epitome of a lifer whether he is in the tomb or not.”
Anselmo says the loss of Dimebag is more painful to accept with every passing anniversary.
“Every year gets harder,” Anselmo said. “I look at what’s out there in heavy metal and I think about what could have been. Really, it gets tougher every single fucking year. This is an evil time of year for me. It’s rough, man. When you think of the madcap fucking way he was taken from us, I don’t think any of us in the band can really come to fucking terms with it. The murder made no sense, the reasoning made no sense, and because it was done by a sick fucking person that had nothing to do with us except help seal the fate of the story and create this gigantic gulf of so many questions, it’s just confounding and miserable.”
Dimebag was shot dead on December 8, 2004 while performing with his band DAMAGEPLAN at Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio. The shooting that night claimed three other lives and seven more were injured as the mad gunman opened fire on the crowd at the small club north of downtown Columbus.
One of heavy metal’s most influential and beloved figures, Dimebag was a larger-than-life guitarist and a genuine, amusing human being who was rarely spotted without his favorite drink, the “black tooth grin” — a splash of Coca-Cola and two shots of whisky.
Former PANTERA and current HELLYEAH drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott was dismissive about the prospect of a PANTERA reunion when he spoke to Germany’s EMP Rock Invasion earlier in the year. He said: “It’s unfortunate that people go, ‘Oh, wow, man, they can get Zakk Wylde to jump up there on stage and it’s PANTERA again.’ No, it’s not, you know. It’s not that simple. If Eddie Van Halen was to get shot in the head four times next week, would everybody be going, ‘Hey, man, Zakk, go play for VAN HALEN. Just call it VAN HALEN.’ You see what I’m saying? I mean, it’s really selfish for people to think that, and it’s stupid. It’s not right at all.”
He continued: “They call it a reunion for a reason. It’s called bringing the original members back to what it was. So there’s a lot of these things that they call reunions that aren’t really reunions. They’ve got one dude from the band floating around in them, you know. That’s not a true reunion. With PANTERA, it’ll never be possible.”
Dimebag‘s longtime girlfriend Rita Haney in 2011 called on Vinnie and Anselmo to settle their differences in honor of Dimebag.
Vinnie, who is Dimebag‘s brother, and Anselmo have not spoken since PANTERA split in 2003. But the relationship got even more acrimonious when Vinnie indirectly blamed Philip for Dimebag‘s death, suggesting that some remarks the vocalist had made about Dimebag in print just weeks earlier might have incited Dimebag‘s killer.
Haney told the producers of “Behind The Music Remastered: Pantera” that she forgave the singer after they found themselves unexpectedly face to face at a concert in California.