By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
By now, if you were at all interested in "Dimebag" Darrell Abbott--either as a fan of Pantera and/or Damageplan, or simply from a newshound's perspective--you've no doubt read something about the guitar hero's public memorial at the Arlington Convention Center on December 14. I've read some of those stories, too. I've probably read all of them, because I smoke a lot and need something to read so no one will talk to me. Since I've read so much about the event, and since I was actually there, I can tell you this: They're all complete bullshit. Here's why: Because almost none of the outlets present at the memorial can use the last word of the previous sentence. Nor can they use many of the other words that colored the proceedings a bright shade of blue.
Which means almost all of those stories left out the best parts, because they were forced to use more mundane quotes. Otherwise, their copy would look like Mad Libs, or worse. For example, check out how this quote from guitarist Zakk Wylde might have looked had it appeared in The Dallas Morning News: "This [expletive] [expletive] [expletive]," Mr. Wylde said. "He had to have been the goofiest [expletive] on the [expletive] planet. Yeah. This sucks." And I'm not positive they're allowed to say "sucks," but I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
So, unless you happened to be one of the few thousand people there, you didn't get a chance to hear former Grim Reaper guitarist Nick Bowcott's memorable tale of life on the road with Dimebag. "I was lucky enough to go to a place I call Dime's World on many occasions," Bowcott said between sips of his Heineken. "As a result, my liver is fucked. You know what? I regret not one sip. The guy made me puke in three continents, for Christ's sake. Europe, Asia and America. I've been hammered with that motherfucker in about 18 states."
You got just about zip from Wylde and Eddie Van Halen's ragtag, in-the-bag attempt at a eulogy. Which produced such high theater as this: "What are you fucking drinking, some vino over there?" Wylde asked Van Halen. "Fucking hook me up with this shit, man. Come on, Ed. In pure Dimebag fashion, let's do a shot right now. Let's break this fucking bitch open. Bring it on, baby! Get yourself a pull!"
Pretty much all of Vinnie Paul Abbott's words for his departed broski were excised as well. Shame, really, since it was absolutely the most heart-rending portion of the evening. See if you agree: "When he fucking walked off that fucking bus, he was Dimebag. The motherfucker every one of you loved! I have one up on every one of y'all. I'm proud to say I knew him longer than every one of you. That's my fucking brother. And my mommy and daddy gave us this fucking gift."
And, of course, The Dallas Morning News and all the others only alluded to the best part: a voice-mail message Dime left for Van Halen, which the guitarist played for the crowd in its entirety. The boisterous crowd listened in rapt silence to these words from beyond the grave:
"Ed, it's Dimebag. Hey, man, just wanted to give you a fucking call telling you thank you so fucking much, man, for the most awesome, uplifting, euphoric, spiritual rock-and-roll extravaganza ever. That was fucking pure fucking insanity, man...I just wanted to thank y'all so much for the awesome party. Everybody treated me so fucking great. Your fucking show was goddamn nothing but pure magic. Man! You're playing your fucking ass off! Bad to the fucking bone. Loved everything about it, man. Uh, we got fucking wasted."
Most of Dimebag's memorial service was wasted, too, left on the cutting room floor as the media presented a sanitized version of a man who liked his life--loved it, really--extremely dirty.