For more than a decade, the North Texas metal scene has descended in late August on The Rail Club in Fort Worth and Trees in Dallas to celebrate the birthday of late Pantera guitarist Dimebag Darrell Abbott. The event became known as Ride for Dime, and a charity eventually sprang up around Pantera fans who hosted Ride for Dime events across the country.
But the Ride for Dime charity isn’t hosting its annual birthday party this year. Some say the celebration will take place in December, the month Abbott died in 2004. Others say the event was finished in North Texas the moment former Ride for Dime president Rob Eichelberger stepped down amid controversy (covered by the Dallas Observer here and here). The charity’s website shows an old flier from last year’s event, and its social media page has been pretty much silent since early December 2016.
But that doesn’t mean the North Texas celebration of Dime's life must end. This weekend at The Rail Club, several metal bands will gather to unleash a weekend of metal that would make Dimebag proud.
Local Pantera tribute band Primal Concrete Cowboys will headline Friday night. The show begins at 8 p.m. with openers 3Eighty3, Maiden Time and BlackStar Republic.
Primal Concrete Cowboys bassist Chris Herring formed the tribute band with local musicians Jim Crye, channeling Dime on guitar; Jeff Gerhardt, igniting Vinnie Paul Abbott on drums; and Jesse Herringer, unleashing Phil Anselmo's chaotic vocal utterances.
Crye says they plan to play some songs from Pantera’s Cowboys from Hell, the band’s fifth studio album and major label debut. Crye says is showcases Dime in his prime, proving why he’s considered the best metal guitarist from the early ’90s.
“He’s like Randy Rhoads on steroids,” Crye says. “He had this super melodic style and a lot of soul. You can feel it.”
Crye spent three weeks in Alaska with his family during the summer and spent the evenings learning the songs from Cowboys from Hell for the tribute band’s upcoming shows. “You don’t want to be in a Pantera tribute band and suck in North Texas,” he says.
Crye says Dime’s solo from the power ballad “Cemetery Gates” was the hardest one to master. Dime is known for his heavy groovy riffs and his skills with a whammy bar. He claimed he had a pretty good buzz going on when he picked up his ax and turned on the four-track recorder to record the solos.
“I cranked it loud as hell with the loose buzz theory that anything and everything goes, and just played it,” Dime said in Guitar World’s "100 Greatest Guitar Solos of All Time" issue. “The next morning I woke up thinking I had a lot of work to do. I almost started from scratch but then decided to slow down and listen. So I fired up my four-track, put my ears on and bam! Lo and behold, there it was!”
Cowgirls From Hell, an all-female Pantera tribute band from San Diego, will headline a night of metal dubbed "The Great Pullgetter Revival" on Saturday at The Rail Club. XES, Hillbilly Orchestra, Dank and Klause will open.
The four musicians in Cowgirls From Hell — vocalist Samantha Hatano, guitarist Rose Deocampo, bassist Wena Velasco and drummer Lindsay Martin — are quickly becoming known for tapping into Pantera’s vulgar display of power onstage. Their rendition of "Cowboys From Hell" has garnered more than a million views on YouTube.
Like Primal Concrete Cowboys, the all-female tribute band formed in 2014 when each of them performed for an annual Dime tribute night in San Diego. They collaborated on "Shedding Skin."
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"The response from the crowd was great," Deocampo says. "We kept getting asked to play shows, though we weren't an actual band, so we decided to try it out and see what happens."
Deocampo is a veteran of the Southern California metal scene. She unleashes her own melodies in the underground metal band Infinite Death and expresses her passion for the late Dimebag in Cowgirls from Hell.
"It's a big risk trying to pull off Dime's solos, and I can never get them perfect," she told OC Weekly in a Feb. 22 article. "The love we have received from Pantera fans at each show keeps me improving and learning more songs. We want to keep Pantera's music alive, and I want us to be appreciated as musicians, be it locally or any other place we hit in our journey as a band."