By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
Ever since the December 8, 2004, death of guitarist Darrell Lance Abbott, better known to most as "Dimebag" Darrell or simply "Dime," the fallen metal icon's family, friends and fans have tried to find ways to cope with the loss of the local hero best known for his work with Pantera.
Each year, since Abbott's tragic on-stage murder at Alrosa Villa in Columbus, Ohio, many of these same friends and family have participated in the annual Ride For Dime event. The ride is an actual motorcycle procession in Dime's honor, one that starts at Longhorn Harley Davidson in Grand Prairie and ends at the Dreamworld Music Complex in Arlington, where a tribute concert rages well into the next morning.
In years past, the event has coincided with Abbott's August 20 birthday, but this year the event will take place on Saturday, July 31. The change of date has done nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of all who participate.
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"We are honored and thrilled to be taking part in this year's ride," says drummer Eddy Razor of Pantera tribute act Cowboys From Hell Paso. "We will be there to keep Darrell's legacy and music alive forever."
Along with Razor's outfit, Souless Intent, SweetTooth, 100 Proof Hatred, Whiskey Dick, Threat Level, White Collar Ghetto and Pumpjack will also be performing. Although lacking the big-name metal acts that have appeared at previous Rides, the bands at this year's event make up in gusto what they may lack in familiarity.
That kind of zest is hard to come by, but the influence that Abbott continues to have across the heavy metal spectrum is undeniable and inspiring. And it's as big now as it has ever been: In November, Rhino Records will reissue Pantera's seminal 1990 album, Cowboys from Hell, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of that disc's release. The Ride for Dime event, meanwhile, has become a way for folks to express their collective remorse by showing respect for the man through reveling in his medium.
"The event has been very, very cool for a long time," says Dime's brother (and former bandmate) Vinnie Paul Abbott. "The guys who have put it together really have their hearts in the right place."
Vinnie Paul has played at previous memorials for his brother, but this year a scheduling conflict finds the drummer in Australia with his band HELLYEAH through the end of July.
"Last year, I got to jam with Ace Frehley and it was awesome," says Abbott. "I am sorry that I can't be there this year, but I am happy that they continue to fulfill my brother's legacy."
With temperatures certain to be in triple digits, the Ride for Dime event is once again sure to be a hot, sweaty and loud affair. But fans of Darrell Abbott would probably not have it any other way.
"The Ride does my brother proud," Abbott says. "And I appreciate that."